How to Live Without the Fear of Rejection

Rejection is a spirit or feeling that almost everyone has been affected by in their lives. It is a predictable and common tactic of the devil to use this spirit to undermine and assault people to cause them to limp through life with a skewed perspective, believing that they don’t belong. Rejection causes us to have low self-esteem and self-worth.

Even King David, one of the Bible’s greatest men struggled with rejection. There were many opportunities in his youth that gave the enemy entrance into his thoughts. David’ older brothers mocked him and seemed to view him as insignificant. His father Jesse also seemed to reflect this belief about David. He didn’t even call David when Samuel asked to see all of his sons (1 Samuel 16:1-13). The Psalms are filled with David’s struggles and his desire to connect with God.

Because we live in a fallen world with imperfect people, we will all have opportunities to believe lies. Perfectionistic, demanding parents may unknowingly communicate a wrong message. Trauma from sexual abuse or attacks will cause us to believe lies.

Like David, we can be free of rejection and insecurities. God’s plan for us is always redemptive, knowing that our adversary is always on the prowl. God desires that we walk in the fullness of sonship, believing that we belong to the family of God, and that He is a very present Father. When we have revelation of sonship instead of an orphan spirit, we will begin to not only survive, but thrive.

How do we go from rejected to belonging?

First, we must recognize that because the enemy comes many times when we are children, we grow up with wrong thoughts that become a mental stronghold. Thoughts are processed through this stronghold give even more credence to our wrong belief.  We need to seek revelation by the power of Holy Spirit to identify these strongholds. Once we realize how a belief system has been operating, we need to seek God and His word to dismantle it. Holy Spirit can reveal truth in the darkness and bring freedom. Believing and applying God’s work can help us rebuild our thoughts into healthy mindsets.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” As we think and meditate on God’s truth, we will begin to walk in freedom.

 

Is it possible to heal from childhood sexual abuse?

Today, people everywhere are struggling through life with damaged emotions and broken hearts. They’ve endured a lot of negative things, causing untold damage that needs to be dealt with. But too often, these hurts are simply swept under the rug in an attempt to make them go away.

Through my own life experiences, and from helping others through this process, I’ve discovered that although God wants to help those who really want emotional healing, there are some very important steps these individuals must take for themselves. If you want to receive emotional healing, one of the first steps you must take is to face the truth. You can’t be set free while living in denial. You can’t pretend that certain negative things didn’t happen to you.

I’ve come to realize that we’re experts at building walls and stuffing things into dark corners, pretending they never happened.

I was four years old when I was sexually abused from a fifteen year old boy. It was a dark memory that I kept suppressed for about twelve years, until I confronted the truth of what happened. For years I made myself believe that it must have been a bad dream or even something I saw on tv by accident as a kid. I finally made the decision to ask my mom about this memory that I couldn’t shake.

Why don’t we want to bring things like that into the open? We’re afraid of what people will think. We’re afraid of being rejected, misunderstood, or unloved by those we care about or that they might have a different opinion of us if they really knew all about us. The feeling of unworthiness and filth is overwhelming. That’s what the devil wants, he wants you to keep quiet. His goal is to make you feel alone and unloved. That is why it is vital for you to speak up and allow light into the darkness.

There’s something about verbalizing it to another person that does wonders for us, but use wisdom. Choose someone you know you can trust. Be sure that by sharing your story with someone else, you don’t simply put your burden on that individual’s shoulders. Also, don’t go trying to dig up old hurts and offenses that have been buried and forgotten.

When I finally worked up the courage to share with someone what had happened early in my life, I actually began shaking and crying in fear. It was an emotional reaction to the things I’d kept buried within me for so long. Now when I talk about my past, it’s as though I’m talking about somebody else’s problems. Because I’ve been healed and restored, my past doesn’t bother me anymore.

Nobody can be set free from a problem until they’re willing to admit they have one.

Do you want to be free of the shame and trauma of your past? Download our prayer guide from Dr. Frank Meadows here!

Even though our problems may have been brought upon us because of something done against our will, we have no excuse for allowing the problem to persist, grow and even take control over our entire life. Our past experiences may have made us the way we are, but we don’t have to stay that way. We can take the initiative by taking positive steps to change things, and most importantly we can ask for God’s help.

I encourage you today to get whatever hurt you have out in the open. Find someone to pray with. Don’t just let them pray, pray yourself for your own healing out loud. Remember the devil wants you to stay quiet. Fight it with God!

Face the truth—it can be the beginning of a happier life!

Shame and Self-Contempt: Embracing God’s View of Me Instead of the Lies

Shame is an insidious liar, hiding in memories and early foundational messages sent to us by our enemy even as children. Shame whispers to us that we are a mistake, without value, marred and damaged property. This message can derail us from reaching our fullest potential and from walking in true freedom.

God’s intent for us is that when we fail or sin, our heart will feel the guilt of unrighteous behavior, causing us to seek cleansing and giving us motivation to make things right. Jesus made a way for us to be cleansed by His blood, to receive His forgiveness, and to be restored into fellowship with Him. 

Shame however, causes us to hide. Shame makes us feel unworthy, without value and beyond the reach of love. But shame is a liar. This message that has been imprinted on our soul can be difficult to discern, but it is one of the biggest lies that the enemy sends us. Shame can come as a result of rejection and abandonment, especially when parents or persons of authority in our lives do not fulfill our greatest needs of nurture and bonding. It can come in upon abuse, neglect, or dysfunction.  When we experience severe trauma, especially at a young age, we may subconsciously come to the conclusion that the fault is ours, due to some flaw in us.

There is a way to be set free from shame. God always has a path to freedom. The way to freedom is to partner with Holy Spirit and the word of God to reveal where the lie became our reality. Holy Spirit can take us to a memory where we received that lie, and we can use the word of God to replace that lie with truth.  As we recall those painful moments, we can ask Him to reveal His truth. We must receive that truth and allow it to replace what the enemy planted in us. It is the truth that we receive and apply that will make us free. God desires that we live in the freedom for which He paid dearly. Cooperate with Holy Spirit and be set free!

 

Additional Resources on this topic:

Jesus, Healer of the Brokenhearted by Frank Meadows

Conflict: Understand How to Handle It

When I heard that I had a predictable way that I react to conflict, I scoffed. How could an assessment determine how I handle conflict? According to a friend, the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument (TKI) identifies a person’s default conflict response. Because I was skeptical, he challenged me to take it and decide for myself. After I took it, I did not believe the results; so, I started assessing my responses in each conflict situation. Well, I was surprised, because the instrument was very accurate.

Assertiveness and Cooperation
According to Thomas and Kilmann, each person responds to conflict in varying degrees of assertiveness and cooperation. Assertiveness represents the amount of decisiveness, forcefulness, and intensity a person utilizes during conflict situations. Cooperation measures how much assistance, support, and teamwork a person is willing to contribute to conflict resolution. A person can span the gamut from being neither assertive nor cooperative to being fully assertive and cooperative. Based on the mixture of these two attitudes, five different responses are possible: Avoiding, Competing, Accommodating, Compromising, and Collaborating. Most people have a combination of two or three conflict resolution modes.

Avoiding
A person who is neither assertive nor cooperative in conflict situations exhibits an Avoiding response to conflict. This person chooses to remove him/herself from the conflict and let others resolve the conflict.

Competing
A person who is fully assertive with no cooperation exhibits the Competing conflict response. This person wants to win and is willing to do anything to beat the other person.

Accommodating
The accommodating response is used by those who are fully cooperative but have no assertiveness. They want the conflict to go away and are willing to give away whatever is necessary to accommodate the other person.

Compromising
The compromising attitude is utilized by someone who is somewhat assertive and somewhat cooperative. This person is willing to give a little if the other person will give a little.

Collaborating
The collaborator is fully assertive and fully cooperative. This individual wants everyone to win and is willing to work until everyone is satisfied.

The TKI (Thomas Kilmann Instrument)
The assessment is a simple self-test that can be completed online or on paper. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and the results are instant. It is available in many languages. https://www.kilmanndiagnostics.com/catalog/thomas-kilmann-instrument-one-assessment-person.

Questions for Further Thought:
1. When you reflect on how you respond to conflict, what do you believe is/are your primary modes of conflict response?
2. When would your normal response be appropriate?
3. When would your normal response be inappropriate?
4. How do you want God to respond to you when you are in conflict with Him?

 

Download guide here: https://goo.gl/AESNaF

Helping Children Resolve Conflict

None of us are comfortable with conflict and confrontation, although it’s a part of our daily lives.  There can be conflict between spouses, siblings, employees…everyone.  Even though we try to avoid confrontation, we still find ourselves facing conflict.  The Bible tells us why there is conflict.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1)

As humans, we selfishly want our own way.  Knowing this weakness, we must be careful how we respond to others when there is disagreement.  We can stengthen a relationship or break it.

Conflict today has taken on a disturbing trend.  It is no longer name-calling, harsh words or black eyes.  Now, there are school shootings, brutal beatings, drive-by shootings and  Facebook bullying.  There are many indications in our society that we are a culture in conflict.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for innocent children and adults to be randomly attacked by others.  We are exposed to hatred, prejudice, and violence and we see increasing evidence that there is little regard for human life or the rights and properties of others.

There are many role models in your child’s life, but you are the most powerful role model.  Your child will follow your example in attitude and behavior.  The way you treat each other, talk to others outside the family, and the way you handle conflict and anger, greatly affects how your child will handle relationships and disagreements throughout his/her lifetime.  Your child learns values and beliefs from you and these are shaped in childhood through your instruction and the way you live your life.

Identify and list some of your values and beliefs.  Share these with your child.

As a parent, it is important to:

  • Model responsible behaviors and attitudes daily.
  • Share your family’s values and beliefs consistently.
  • Practice positive conflict resolution skills.
  • Demonstrate respect for different beliefs and cultures.
  • Talk with your child about injustice, prejudice, and violence.

In prior generations, it was thought that parents should never have an argument or  conflict in front of their children.  However, we understand that it is beneficial for a child to see mild conflict between parents and observe the way they resolve the disagreement.  It’s important for your child to see that you can disagree and still love and respect one another.  Disagreements of a more serious nature can be discussed behind closed doors.

How did your childhood family resolve disagreements or conflict?

If there is a conflict or disagreement between you and another person:

  • Make sure the disagreement is worth fighting for.
  • Recognize that you can disagree and still respect each other.
  • Choose a calm time to discuss the issue and listen.
  • Stick to the issue.
  • Avoid the use of the words such as “You always” or “You never”.
  • Compromise, negotiate and work together.
  • Keep in mind that there should be no losers.
  • Be willing to forgive.
  • End the conversation with affection.

As you model the above responses to conflict, you are teaching your child how to handle disagreements with others in positive ways.

In our society, anger is generally present during conflict.  Anger is normal and can motivate us to do something good.  However, when it is expressed negatively in aggressive and violent ways, anger becomes harmful.  So, if you find yourself getting angry, try some techniques to help you calm down in a “highly-charged” situation.

DO

• Relax…take a walk, breathe

• Try to understand why you are angry

• Try to compromise and negotiate after you’ve calmed down

• Seek professional help when you and another person cannot resolve a disagreement

DO NOT

• Lose control

• Make accusations

• Avoid the issue

• Pout

• Get personal

• Get even

In spite of one’s efforts, some people insist on remaining angry.  Try to understand why the other person is angry.   Listen and encourage the other person to talk about the conflict and try to find a place of compromise.  Teach your child how to handle situations when someone is determined to stay angry.

Conflict is often promoted through media exposure.  Researchers are finding that violence in TV, movies, video games, toys, and music encourage conflict.   As a parent, it is your responsibility to monitor your child’s use of media. 

Consider these sobering facts:

  • U.S. children watch an average of 3-5 hours of TV per day. When they graduate from high school, they have watched 20,000 hours of TV as opposed to being in school 13,000 hours. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • The average child or teen has seen 10,000 murders, rapes, and aggravated assaults on TV each year. (American Psychological Association)
  • Children’s TV shows contain about 20 violent acts each hour. (Gerbner, University of PA)
  • American television and movies are the most violent in the world. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Violence on TV is portrayed as funny and painless. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Over 1,000 studies indicate that a large amount of time watching violence increases the likelihood of aggressive behaviors, particularly in males. (American Academy of Pediatrics)
  • Children tend to be less sensitive to the suffering of others, are fearful of the world, and choose violence to settle conflict.

(American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)

Mental and physical violence in the home, as a result of conflict, has a negative impact on children.  Even if children are exposed to violent behavior one time, that experience can affect sleep patterns, behavior, and more.  Children who are traumatized with violence repeatedly are emotionally effected.  They may become fearful, hostile, or distrustful.  Children will likely mimic the same behavior that they see in their homes toward siblings and peers, as well as their future spouses and children.

The way we resolve conflict is shaped when we are very young.  Your child will be more skillful at resolving conflicts when you begin teaching him/her resolution skills early. Give suggestions to help your child resolve disagreements and immediately stop physical and verbal abuse.

Teach your child STOP! This reminder is good for parents, too!

S  Slow down and identify the problem

T  Talk and listen to each other

0  Be open to the other person’s point of view

P  Have a plan that is agreeable to both of you

Conflict is natural to humans and there are many signs of conflict in our society.  But, in spite of what happens in society, our families are to be a testimony of God’s love.

By teaching good values, based on God’s principles, and by helping your child develop good conflict resolution skills, you will create a loving environment in your home and prepare your child with the skills needed to be a strong person of influence within the society.

Try Something New

Practice STOP! during times of conflict in your own relationships.  Teach it to your child.

Verses for Encouragement

Seek peace.

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

(Matthew 5:9)

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  (Romans 12:18)

Restore relationships.

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  (Colossians 3:13)

Value others above yourself.

Be like-minded, have the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Don’t do anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but the interests of others.  (Philippians 2:2-4)

Live a life pleasing to the Lord.

Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Philippians 1:27)

Managing Stress in the Family

By definition,  stress is a “state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in one’s life or work.” It can be caused by difficult or very overwhelming circumstances.  Stress is not unique to this generation, but it’s more prevalent today than in former generations. Stress comes from everywhere; outside the family and within the family.

  • Stress can be caused by outside influences such as the economy, world, national, and local events, careers, schedules, schooling, and childcare.
  • Predictable changes, such as those experienced during the holidays, create stress.
  • Unexpected events, such as illness, death, relocation, separation, financial burdens, homelessness, and pregnancy, cause stress.
  • Developmental changes with a parent or child often cause stress. Examples would include a 2-year old exerting independence, teen mood swings, aging, or changes in parent direction.

Each of these stressors can affect the family as a unit and each member individually. Everyone responds differently to stress, whether physically, emotionally, or behaviorally.

Look at the categories of stress above.  List current areas of stress in your life.  Describe your responses to these stressful events.

We often think that children are “adaptable” to any situation and don’t experience stress.  But, children experience a great deal of stress and today’s children experience more than in past generations. It is estimated that one million children between the ages of 5 and 15 now have mental health problems.  If a child experiences long periods of stress, depression and a general sense of anxiety can result.  Approximately, 35% of children suffer from stress-related health problems at some point in childhood.

Each child is affected by stress in different ways.  A strong child reacts more strongly to stress and an easy-going child reacts much less.  Children between the ages of 9-14, are at the greatest risk for stress and its effects.

In your opinion, why do children, ages 9-14, experience the greatest amount of stress?

KidsHealth© recently asked children what caused them the greatest stress.  Kids revealed that they experienced anxiety over grades, school, and homework (36%), family (32%), and friends, peers, gossip, and teasing (21%).

Children who experience trauma are exposed to even greater amounts of stress.  This level of stress, produced by a very difficult or unpleasant experience, has a devastating effect on a child’s development; mentally, emotionally, behaviorally, psychologically, and cognitively.  If trauma continues over a long period of time, the fear associated with a traumatic event changes a child’s patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.  It is recommended that one seek professional help for a child who has experienced childhood trauma.

In this lesson, however, we will look at children who experience common childhood stress, as indicated by the KidsHealth© survey.  Among the children surveyed, the following strategies were used to cope with stressful situations.

  • 52% play or do something active
  • 44% listen to music
  • 42% watch TV or play a video game
  • 30% talk to a friend
  • 29% try not to think about it
  • 28% try to work things out
  • 26% eat something
  • 23% lose their temper
  • 22% talk to a parent
  • 11% cry

About 25% of the kids surveyed hurt themselves in order to handle stress. Hitting, pinching, or cutting themselves was coupled with other unhealthy coping strategies, such as eating disorders.

Sometimes kids do not know how to handle feelings of stress, frustration, helplessness, hurt, or anger.  Without a way to deal with overwhelming feelings, children resort to desperate methods to express themselves.  Sometimes children see themselves as the one to blame in an existing situation.  In order to cope with the blame, children often feel the need to hurt themselves.

Be alert to the common symptoms of stress in children.  Below is a partial listing of those symptoms.

  • Irritability
  • Increased crying and whining
  • Sleep Problems
  • Acting out
  • Increased fears
  • Stomachaches and headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating or completing schoolwork
  • Withdrawing or spending a lot of time alone
  • Defying authority
  • Overreacting to minor problems
  • Clingy behavior
  • Changes in academic performance
  • Anger, aggression
  • Trouble getting along with others
  • Thumb sucking, hair-twirling, nose-picking
  • Lying

Do you see signs of stress in your child’s life? What do you feel is the root cause of your child’s stress?  How are you responding to your child’s stress?

Sometimes, we respond to our children in the same way our parents responded to us during times of stress.

How did your childhood family deal with stress? Do you handle stress in the same ways?

You cannot shield your child from normal hardships and challenges.  To do so would not allow your child an opportunity to develop healthy ways of coping with stress and dealing with life.

Children want parents to help them during times of stress.  As parents, it is important to listen, spend time, and talk with your child about ways to handle a stressful situation.  It is the responsibility of the parent to teach his/her child healthy ways to cope with stress.

Many of the following ideas will help you support your child in times of stress and build connection. Your child’s greatest protection against stress and its effects is a secure attachment with you.

  • Set aside time each day to play and talk.
  • Be a good listener.  Ask questions.  Avoid the urge to blame, pass judgment or tell your child what he/she should have done.
  • Comment on your child’s feelings so that he/she knows you were listening and understand.
  • Label your child’s feelings so that your child has the words to express anger and frustration appropriately.  Let your child know that feelings are normal.
  • Be available.
  • Give your child time to calm down before talking together.
  • Speak words of encouragement.
  • Practice patience.
  • Reduce crowded schedules and simplify his/her life. Your child may be too busy.
  • Maintain a sense of structure and routines.  Remember, structures create a feeling of safety.
  • Make sure your child gets enough sleep and exercise.
  • Encourage your child to eat nutritional foods.
  • Help your child explore healthy ways of relieving stress.
  • Designate a quiet spot or enroll your child in a stress-relieving activity, such as art, music, or sports.
  • Read the Bible with your child.  Memorize Scripture together about God’s love and care for each member of your family.  Be thankful.  Pray with your child about things that concern him/her.
  • Seek help if your child’s change in behavior persists or if increased stress levels are causing significant problems in home or school.

You can’t fix all of your child’s problems. Instead, your goal is to help him/her learn to be a good problem solver.  You want your child to know how to deal with life’s ups and downs, put feelings into words, stay calm, and be able to bounce back and keep going. You want your child to feel capable of resolving his/her own problems and practice healthy ways of reducing stress levels.

Remember!  You are your child’s greatest teacher.  You are the role model for your child in demonstrating positive ways of dealing with stress in your own life.  It’s difficult to teach your child how to manage stress when you are not able to manage stress yourself.  When you are able to handle life’s stressful moments in healthy ways,  you teach your child how to do the same.

Below are some suggested ways to manage your stress as an adult and thereby, help your child.

  • Get rest, exercise and eat healthy foods.
  • Take time to relax and play.
  • Pray. Read God’s Word.
  • Be part of a support group.
  • Eliminate the unnecessary things in your life. Don’t try to do everything.
  • Set reasonable expectations for yourself and your family.
  • Spend time with positive people.
  • Learn to recognize what you can control and what you can’t.
  • Don’t try to control the actions of others.
  • Recognize anger in yourself and address it.
  • Talk to a trusted friend.
  • Seek professional help, if necessary.

Try Something New

Try a technique to reduce stress in your own life.  Teach your child how to reduce his/her stress using this same technique.

Pray with your child about those things that concern him/her.  Memorize a Bible verse that addresses his/her anxiety.  Show thankfulness for God’s love and His care.      

Verses for Encouragement

Stress is common to people.

Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.  (I Corinthians 10:13)

God is your strength in times of trouble.

I am your safe place. I am your strength. I am with you when you are in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Trust the Lord to help you.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9, 10

God will give you peace in your circumstances.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

 

 

About the Poll

The national KidsPoll surveyed 875 9- to 13-year-old boys and girls regarding how they coped with stress. The KidsPoll is a collaboration of the Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth, the Department of Health Education and Recreation at Southern Illinois University — Carbondale, the National Association of Health Education Centers (NAHEC), and participating health education centers throughout the United States. Those centers include:

  • Robert Crown Center for Health Education — Hinsdale, Illinois
  • HealthWorks! Kids Museum — South Bend, Indiana
  • Health World Children’s Museum — Barrington, Illinois
  • Ruth Lilly Health Education Center — Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center — York, Pennsylvania
  • Poe Center for Health Education — Raleigh, North Carolina