You may have been taught that self-care is selfish, but is that really true? I believe self-care is essential to effectively caring for others. Here’s why.
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When someone disapproves of us or something we did or said, it’s not comfortable, is it? It feels icky. We feel small, like this woman in the picture hiding in a box. To tolerate the disapproval of others doesn’t mean we don’t feel bad about it. Of course we feel bad about it. Nobody likes to be scolded, yelled at, told they are stupid or ridiculous or misinformed or ignorant. Negative feedback is always going to sting. Abusive feedback is always going to feel even worse.
The problem for some of us is that when someone disapproves of us, it not only hurts, but we feel that we need to change something about ourselves or about what we believe in order to gain their approval. Another problem is that instead of feeling a sting when someone disapproves, many of us feel an overwhelming and even debilitating sense of shame that paralyzes us in different ways.
This is the first article in a new series called Lessons from the Ladder. I get the title of this series from my original article called Ten Steps Out of Relationship Hell in which I write about the red hot ladder rungs we have to climb if we want to get out of the relationship …
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False piety is the voice of the enemy (I Peter 5:8). The accuser (Rev. 12:10). The liar (John 8:44). It’s anti-Christ (John 2:18). It’s darkness disguised as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14). It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). Because it does its dirty work in disguise, it gets away with all kinds of mischief. It counts on us being too naive to recognize it or too unsure or “nice” to call it out for what it is. But that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.
Some conservative Christians teach that God puts women in abusive marriages so they can better glorify Him through their suffering. What kind of a god requires the suffering of women and children in order to be glorified?
I recently asked the following question on my Flying Free public Facebook page:
“What’s the craziest thing a pastor, Bible counselor, or church leader told you to do in your abusive relationship?”
Within eight hours there were over 180 comments.
That question struck a nerve.
These women lived out their prime years within prison cells built on these lies. Each lie a thick, unbending iron bar.
I’d like to share a few of the answers here, and then I’m going to tear down some of the most prevalent ones.