Substance Abuse plagues every family. No one is exempt. Although it is something that plagues every family, it is not something that we want to talk about. It causes shame, exhaustion, anger, and fear. Addictions leave the same effect, with innocent parties sitting back on edge, waiting to see what happens next. Click here to listen to Substance Abuse & Addictions Counselor Julianna Sliger with her take on Brokenness, Substance Abuse, and Her Journey in General.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
How many of you have found yourself being someone else’s poison container? How many of you have tried making someone else your poison container? I know. All this talk of poison and containers sound a little weird. Some people like to use the words punching bags. Same difference. Whether you are the victim or the perpetrator, the whole concept is one that is very unhealthy. Tune in to this week’s podcast episode to find out what happens in both situations.
Poison Container Defined
How it works
Bible Verses to Ponder On:
Biblical Examples Of Laban and Jacob using Leah as their poison container of deception and past hurt
We haven’t fully digested it yet, but we love playing God. We have all shaken our fingers at someone in person, or in our heads. We have been self-nominated as “The Judge”. God Himself. When people like/dislike things differently than us, we wear the black robe and pound the gavel. “I don’t know why he/she spent $500 on wine and cheese. They could have bought their children some clothes. And by the way, did you see what their kids had on for school today?”
Danger of Passing Judgment
We judge other people whose sins are different from ours, forgetting that in God’s eyes sin is sin. We stay stuck on the obvious sins of murder, sex, and blasphemy, and we push aside our idolatry of being in debt over poor spending choices, passive parenting, emotionally angry outbursts, codependency, gossip, lying, and racism.
Unfortunately, we have gotten so good at being judge that we take notes, so that we can pour out all of our detective findings to our friends. It is because our lives are perfect. Right? Our kids are perfect. We are perfect. We have never made bad decisions that we will never regret for the rest of our lives. We have never said or thought something racist. As Christians, we are told to love God with our hearts, soul, mine, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. Satan has blinded us into being legalistic and using two sins to distinguish us from good Christians and bad Christians. When do we hold up the mirror to ourselves, and truly ask God to reveal our broken parts in these areas.
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards,
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.- 1 Corinthians 6: 1-12
The key lies in verse 11 that helps : “And such were some of you”, and the words “but ye” are…
It shows how our eyes have been blinded to our own sins. It leads to legalism and self-righteousness.
Until we have judged someone harshly, and that measurement is given back to us.
Remember the story of David and Bathsheba? Remember what David said to Nathan in response to the Rich Man’s behavior for stealing the “ewe lamb” from the poor man. He wanted this man to pay several times over. And guess what? That is exactly what happened to David. The sad background music that played for David was, “You are that man!”
So, what is the antidote for judging?
“Humility and empathy are the antidotes to judging other people and their situations.”
Let’s remember this when we are tempted to put on our black robes and wave our fingers at others. God is waving his finger at us playing the background music entitled, “YOU ARE THAT MAN!”
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2, NIV
Right now, in our world, we are faced with a situation that we have never had to deal with before. We have a virus that is worldwide, and there are lockdowns with specific instructions that are given, and each set of instructions are different for each region. No matter what these instructions are, we have been asked to stay home. Unless we have essential jobs or errands to run, we are told to stay put for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and the extremely vulnerable.
During this season, we have all felt a little bit of some form of anxiety or fear. Change brings anxiety. Sicknesses/Diseases bring on fear and anxiety. And lastly, but definitely not least, the unknown brings on anxiety. One unknown is that we don’t know how long the worldwide lock downs will last. We don’t know how long the shortages in the grocery stores or hoarding/panic buying will last. We don’t know how long it will be till we feel a sense of normal again. To be honest, when we think about it, will things ever really be “normal”? Those of us who haven’t had to deal with trauma are now having to ride these waves. Those of us who already have PTSD are dealing with compounded trauma.
One of the best things that we can do for ourselves during this time is to come up with a schedule that we can stick to in order to keep our bodies/minds/souls rested, renewed, and refreshed.
This is a good time for creativity. There will be times that we’ll get stuck. The important thing is us coming up with a schedule and sticking to it for the sake of our own, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health, as well as that of the other members of our household. There will be times that we’ll have to just stop and have that cry or meltdown. It releases the trauma hormones, stress, and anxiety from our bodies and will definitely help us to feel better. This is an area that I have to remind myself of over and over again. “Get the cry out. Have self-compassion and empathy for all you have gone through. Then move forward.” Sometimes we might have to rinse and repeat several times a day.
So, what are some of the things that I have been enjoying during this time? 1) Getting to spend some time with my almost 22-year-old son. 2) Listening to the birds in the morning and then again at 8 at night when they are rounding up for the day. 3) Baking banana bread, zucchini bread, and cookies. 4) The creativity juices to write poetry as I sit on my bed among my pillows in the morning. 5) Extra time to read. 6) Time to work on writing two books.
Have you ever noticed the pattern of attack that comes your way at certain times? Our enemy is not creative. However, he is relentless. His whole plan is to use people, things, and circumstances as tools to do his dirty work. We must constantly remind ourselves that we are wrestling against spiritual forces. They are the root of the problem. It is not people and things.
Photo by Sarah Pflug
Think about it. You have just finished up attending a conference at church, listening to a spirit-filled sermon or podcast, and in the mode of feeling really hopeful and joyous about your future. Right after allowing the joy to come in, you begin to meditate on how different your reality is in comparison to the miracle that you are believing in.
If the enemy can get us to feel depressed and down-trodden right after allowing the spirit of joy come in, then he knows that he has us. We begin to think thoughts like, “Well, you know what happened last time. So, don’t even feel happy about it.” Satan knows that if he remains relentless in stealing our joy, then he knows we will choose to squash it when it comes up. We decide to forego the feeling of having joy altogether.
When we are feeling under the weather, it also becomes the perfect time for the enemy to attack.
The following is a story that I shared as a guest blogger on another site a little over a year ago:
A couple of weeks ago, the air pressure had changed. I was having problems forming thoughts in my head. My nose had started running, and I could feel pressure in my head and nose.
I started to think to myself, ” My sinuses and allergies are in full swing.” I didn’t manage my time well that morning, and thus, I ended up rushing out of the house while my daughter was waiting outside in the car. As we were pulling off, I could hear a voice inside my head stating that it was my daughter’s fault that we were rushing. Right away, I rebuked it. I noticed that there was a spiritual force trying to blind me from seeing and speaking the truth.
It took a few minutes. However, I had narrowed it down to a spiritual attack involved the spirit of blame. It left. When I arrived at my writer’s group, I was fighting against it again.
Ephesians 6:10-18 King James Version (KJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
It was at this time, that I knew I needed an extra set of armor for the day. I had to pray scripture over myself, and fight to keep myself grounded in the truth. Praise God for his deliverance from this attack! I also thank him for making me aware of what the real source of the problem was. Satan always wants you to believe that you haven’t made any progress. That you will always be the same. We must fight his words with the words of truth that God tells us about ourselves.
What is whole faith? Whole faith is the faith that you hold on to when you don’t have details of when, why, how, or where that the “what” you need to happen is going to happen. When we having been praying for something so long, it is very tempting to throw in the towel. It is easy to want to go according to what our feelings are telling us; that this thing that you want so badly is not going to happen.
Whole Faith says , “Lord, help my unbelief!” like the Father who cried out so very desperately for his son to be healed. He had been demon possessed since childhood. He didn’t know what else to do, nor what to say. The disciples had proven his point of dealing with an impossible situation when they couldn’t cast it out.
Whole Faith says, “Lord, here you go. You are in control.” We release the situation to God. We know that we have prayed enough, and we need to sit this thing at his precious feet. And lastly, whole faith says as Jesus did as he hung on the cross, “Thy will be done.”
What are some ways that you have had to exhibit whole faith in your life?
Separation causes a lot of things. For babies, the peak time for separation anxiety is between 10 to 18 months. Even as adults, separation can be very difficult. Due to immigration issues or other circumstances beyond our control, separation happens. Families end up being torn apart. In marriages, separation occurs for the sake of hoping that broken pieces are glued back together again. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve had close friends that I was separated from for years due to my moving or their moving, and somehow losing contact information.
Photos by Sarah Pflug
Unfortunately, when I was a teenager, through no fault of her own, my grandmother was separated from her brothers for years. We didn’t have any of the contact information, and after so many years, she assumed that they all had died except for her. As God would have it, when I was at my last place of residence a few years ago, I decided to do an ancestry search to see if I could find any information on my grandmother’s side of the family. Lo and behold, I stumbled upon an obituary showing that there had been one brother left along with my grandmother. He had died nine months after her. It made me sad to know that my grandmother hadn’t spoken to him in so long, how she must have felt, along with all the “what ifs” floating through my head.
Separation brings on two friends: sadness and loneliness. These friends can only be mended by God himself, who is near to the brokenhearted. Because we live in a fallen world, we are prone to separated from anyone and anything. However, there is one thing that will always stand the test of time. That is, the love of God.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Have you ever wished that you could decorate your home like someone else? This someone else seems to have just the right kind of decor in their home that is illuminated with just the right kind of lighting and furniture that gives it an airy feel. It’s the kind of feel that makes you want to stay for a while. The kind that makes you want to sit with a cup of coffee or tea, and snuggle up with their perfect-looking throw.
Photos by Matthew Henry
It’s so easy to get caught up wishing that we could have a home, a car, a job, or any other kind of material object that other people have. The question is, have we stopped to think about how good and creative of a God that we have to give us the things that are unique to us and our families?
Some of us are the cute cottage-style type, then we have tudors, farmhouse style, industrial, town-homes, traditional, duplexes, and the list can go on and on. The truth is, if we could trade with these people, after a while, we’d see something else that we would feel is better.
When it comes to our spiritual gifts and talents, we play the same game. We say things like, “I wish that I could teach or preach like him or her.” Sometimes this person does a better job than we do. However, that is not the point. The point is, that because we have been uniquely designed by God, we will do what we have been created to do in the way that God created us to do them.
God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In these wonderful creations of God, there are no two people who are exactly alike. Even if we have 50 things that we have in common with someone else, we will still find 10 more that we don’t.
Embracing our uniqueness in Christ involves making peace with all that God created us to be. It has taken me a while to realize this. But as the old saying goes, better late than never. We have to make peace with our physical appearance as well as our gifts/talents, personalities, and possessions. Just recently, I was faced with an opportunity. It took one accidental obstacle placed in my way to help me realize that the opportunity would not fit me as a person.
I am a talker. A very detailed, dramatic talker at that. Sometimes it takes a while to get through my stories. My son says that it takes me longer to give the background information before I get to the point of what happened. It is so true.
Being placed in a role with a restriction on how the conversations would have to take place would have gone against my wiring. I praise God that this one accident helped me to realize that among other things. Take a moment and think about what things you have been doing that totally goes against your wiring.
Let’s pray and thank God for all the things that he gave us that are perfect for us. We can only be our true selves when we are who we were created to be.
Let’s have a party and join together in celebrating and embracing our uniqueness in Christ!
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, sharing your pain, pouring out your heart and soul, only told to be told, “It’s not that bad!” Tune in to today’s podcast episode to find out if it is “that bad”.
What is Comparative Suffering?
What is empathy?
Why Comparing Pain is Bad?
How can we do better when talking about our pain?
Background Scripture: John 21
Question for the week: What will you do the next time that you are tempted to rank your pain with someone else’s?
Why are we so afraid to step into our calling? There are various reasons. However, when we see and feel the freedom that it brings, we will wonder why we ever resisted displaying and embracing that irresistible mission.