Spiritual abuse in churches is an abomination. It causes wounds, it ruptures friendships, it destroys faith and trust. For some of us that it happens to, the main emotion is anger – anger at the injustice, anger at the abuser, anger at the church where it happened. For others the main emotion might be fear – fear of it happening again, fear that you will be blamed, fear that others will believe it was your fault, fear of repercussions if you do anything to counteract the abuse, much less report it. For still others, the main emotion might be withdrawal from group activities because it’s too painful to be among them anymore.
Whatever your emotional reaction to the spiritual abuse may be, have you ever thought about coming up with a metaphor that could describe at least one aspect of what it’s like for you to experience such an abomination? Metaphors can be quite helpful in providing an anchor, so to speak, to hold on to, while we...
How many Scripture verses can you recite from memory? Perhaps you know a verse or two from Psalm 23 – you know – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” Or maybe you know the whole Psalm by heart. Or how about this verse from Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom then shall I be afraid?”
When we know Bible verses from memory, they become part of our mental furniture, and they go with us wherever we go. And when we need comfort or strength, there is that verse popping up in our mind.
What about this Scripture for comfort and strength from Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Many Christians have memorized...
The Lord wants us to be whole and joyful. I'm convinced of it. But sometimes negative life events happen to us that are anything but joyful, and that tend to break us rather than enhance any sense of being whole. Our emotions can be damaged. We might become angry, hurt, fearful, or anxious, and it seems like we have to struggle with those swirling emotions on a daily basis, and it’s traumatic.
Our usual thought patterns get skewed. We might make a decision to do something in retaliation, only to discover later that we wish we hadn’t acted that way, because now we feel ashamed and embarrassed. Perhaps a relationship that we valued has ruptured, and we don’t know how to make amends. Maybe we don’t even want to make amends.
Life as we knew it is greatly disturbed because of those life events. How do we make sense of it all? Can we keep our eyes focused on wholeness in Christ, on our Ultimate Creative...
Psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and theologians have researched to the nth degree what it means to be human, and what it means to find fulfillment as a human being. We yearn to find that “something” that would fill the hunger that we experience in our hearts. We believe that when we find that “something” we will be fulfilled and therefore happy.
Part of finding fulfillment lies in discovering the innate talents we were born with, whether that’s a musical or artistic ability, scientific or mathematic ability, athletic ability, or an intuitive mindset that can seem to easily and accurately understand people. Or maybe your innate talent is something I haven’t named.
When we’re considering those kinds of talents, we say that fulfillment consists of developing them so as to be of use in one way or another. Becoming skilled in your particular talent perhaps takes a lot...
When we’ve been abused, our spirit feels crushed, our soul feels shame, and our body’s energy is down. We can even think that somehow the abuse is our fault. The “friend” who is the abuser has behaved in such a way as to move us from perhaps a healthy outlook on life, to the line of thought and swamp of emotions, that not only do we hurt, but also we think that we’re so unworthy that no one could value us anymore. And so we don’t value ourselves either. Spiritual abuse is a real downer.
I’m here to tell you that that’s not the way it’s supposed to be in the Body of Christ. That kind of abuse is utterly abominable, and it’s not your fault. Let me say that again. It’s not your fault! Spiritual abuse is an external event that someone else caused to happen to us. And it is abominable and totally opposite of anything remotely Christ-like!
How is it supposed to be? ...
What is our “Ultimate Creative Potential?” I believe that God made us to be creative beings. He gave each of us gifts and talents. Part of the joy of being human includes realizing what our gifts and talents are, developing them, and then finding a constructive use for them.
I also believe that God expects us to be co-creators with him of what we make of the life we’ve been given. He wants us to have a say in how we use our gifts. When we remember to bring him along in our decision-making, we are participating in an ultimate creative potential that just wouldn’t be the same, if we simply “usurped” life in a selfish manner.
A case could be made that our Ultimate Creative Potential is the same as “wholeness,” in which every part of our spirit and soul is in a state of health, fulfillment, and completeness. Can we ever arrive at such a place in this life? I believe that...
The purpose of my website reads: “Empowering women who have been spiritually abused by someone in their church, to discover their path through healing toward unleashing their Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ.” Today’s blog is about the phrase “Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ.”
I’ve been collecting ideas for quite some time, for various ways to define that phrase. I hope that working with you all will cause my definition to grow, as I listen to your experiences. But for now, I will offer over several blog entries, my beginning definition for “Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ”:
"Growing throughout life into an ever wiser and stronger maturity, with faith, hope, love, and joy, while being able to express our unique creativity with all the giftedness that the Lord has given us, in order to serve God, Self, and Others in His Kingdom."
Over time, our “ever wiser, stronger...
Life has a way of confronting us with difficult challenges. Suffering spiritual abuse in a church is one of those challenges. When we’re thrown into an intolerable situation, our emotions play havoc with us. The shock of such behavior from the perpetrating Christian that we trusted, can truly devastate us.
In the middle of it all, it’s easy to focus on the emotions that we’re feeling, because they’re front and center. If we’re not careful, we will have let those feelings rule the day. While we do need to pay attention to the anger or sadness or exasperation, or whatever the feelings are, if we only behave in the heat of them, then there’s a day coming when we may well wish we had reacted differently than we did.
Invite Jesus into Your Emotions.
The key to finding the first value of a broken heart is inviting Christ into our emotions from the beginning of the difficulty. A lot of our...
According to Miriam Webster, “wholeness” is a condition of being sound in body. According to the Free Dictionary, “wholeness” means to be sound or unhurt, containing all components; complete; not divided or disjoined; not wounded, injured or impaired; and an entity or system made up of interrelated parts.
According to the Bible, “wholeness” refers to the state of being perfectly well in spirit, soul (intellect, will, and emotions), and body. As Christians, we believe that God’s Holy Spirit comes to us to transform our souls, to heal us in our emotions, our decision-making, and our thoughts. God’s Holy Spirit can also heal our spirit and our physical body. The wholeness that the Lord brings is pure gift, especially when we’ve been deeply wounded.
When we’ve experienced spiritual abuse, our thinking process, our belief system, our emotions, and our behavior are altered negatively because of the trauma...
I’m surprised that I continue to run across any number of people who don’t know what spiritual abuse is and, in fact, have never heard of it. I suppose I’m surprised because I’ve dealt with it for so many years in my personal struggle, it seems that everyone else would also know what it means. Clearly that’s not the case. Apparently there are church members for whom “church” means only something positive and good.
Therefore, those of us who have experienced spiritual abuse in churches must be a subset group of “everyone else.” Even among that subset, there are folk who don’t know to call the traumatic events done to them – they don’t know to call that trauma by the phrase “spiritual abuse.”
So what is spiritual abuse? If so many people don’t know what it is, then I must begin my blog by attempting to define it. Barbara Orlowski, in her book, Spiritual Abuse...