Archive for March, 2011

When Fear Becomes Overwhelming


You know my troubles like no other,

And You understand my adversities.

You know that sometimes I’m so afraid

That my skin grows cold,

And it feels like I can hardly breathe.

I feel so helpless.

I’m afraid of so many things.

I’m afraid of people and of being alone,

Of never experiencing happiness again,

Of not having enough money.

Father, it seems like the list never ends,

And I lack motivating strength.

I need Your help—now, more than ever.

Be my strength, when I am weak.

Be my fortress, when my life crumbles around me.

Father, I can rely on no one but You,

And sometimes I’m afraid You don’t really care—

That You are not really there to help me.

I want to be strong and confidant,

But I am not, and I know that I’m not.

Father, give me Your strength and Your confidence.

Help me put one foot in front of the other—one day at a time,

With nothing sustaining me but my confidence in You,

Which I admit is tenuous and very fragile.

For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong; and many are those who hate me wrongfully, and those who repay evil for good. Do not forsake me, O Lord, O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. (Psalm 38:17-22

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As I grit my teeth defiantly,

My anger is so consuming that

Toxic emotions rule my soul.

My fury clouds my judgment,

And my smile is far from my face.

Dark clouds diminish my countenance,

Warning others to stay clear.

I have vivid thoughts of revenge,

Of making my abusers pay a terrible price

For the injustice they’ve exacted upon me.

When I look in the mirror, I don’t like

The person I see—the person I have become.

I spend my days feeding my anger,

Consuming myself with hostile thoughts,

Which race repeatedly through my mind.

I’m consumed by hateful thoughts of retribution.

I know that I’m not ready to forgive—not yet.

While I’m in this hostile state,

I need Your help more than ever.

Father, move me through this period quickly,

And help me to forgive—just like I’ve been forgiven.

While my anger dominates my consciousness,

Keep me from four things, from which there is no return:

From saying harsh words that can never be retrieved;

From wasting hours, fantasizing about vengeful reprisals;

From self-defeating behavior to assuage my pain;

And from wishing evil upon my adversaries.

This you know, my beloved brethren. But let every one be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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I want to control the outcome

Of events that impact my life.

You know that the desire of my heart

Is for You to orchestrate circumstances,

Which will allow me to have my own way.

When that doesn’t happen,

Which seems to be far too often,

I become sulky, peevish, and petulant.

I resent that You will not make Your will mine,

Even though that might not be the best thing for me.

When I behave like a child, I think like one as well,

But I don’t realize how juvenile I’ve become.

It never occurs to me until after my fretful emotions

Have run the gambit and I am spent—

Emotionally exhausted from dictating to You.

At the end of it all, like always,

I become sorrowful, realizing that

You are God, and I am not.

Forgive me for my waywardness, and restore

A sense of humility and equilibrium to me.

Teach me to focus on my role,

Which are the things I can control—

Rather than what I cannot.

I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; not with Thy anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing. (Jeremiah 10:23-24)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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It is so easy to live my life each day,

Never taking the time to pay attention

To You or to all that You have done for me.

I haven’t disregarded You purposefully,

But I don’t make You a priority either.

Then, when everything seems to unravel,

When nothing works and everything

That can go wrong definitely does,

My focus becomes instantaneous,

And I regret my capriciousness instantly.

I become panicked, wanting You to “fix” everything,

Fearful that my world will completely collapse.

Calling upon You from the depth of my being,

I hear Your voice, which gently but firmly tells me,

To be still and know that You are Almighty God.

I know that this should give me confidence,

And that I should cease from my fretful worrying,

But that’s not what happens at all—

That has never been my experience.

Instead, I become more intense and insistent than ever,

Begging, whining, moaning, and carping—

Anything to get Your attention and demand relief.

But no matter what I do or how I flail about,

Your answer never changes—not even a little.

As I sit in my solitude, in moments when all is quiet,

Your voice becomes even clearer, reminding me,

To be still and know that You are God.

If I were stronger, I would cease from all my striving,

But it’s not in my nature to trust so easily.

I wish that was my way, but I know that it isn’t.

I want to learn to rest, but that doesn’t happen

Until I’ve exhausted myself with distress, fear, and worry.

Finally, when I am completely spent and can no longer

Muster a complaint, I bow my knee, as I should have earlier,

And submit to the small quiet voice that never ceases to say,

Be still and know that I am there for you—

That I am Almighty God.

They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wit’s end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses. He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet; So He guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! (Psalm 107:27-31)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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As the years progress,

I often hear people talk

About how much they trust You,

But their pronouncements seem no deeper

Than those of a fickle lover.

Lacking tangibility and depth,

Their affirmations, which flow mellifluously

From their self-serving mouths,

Have selfish and egotistical motives

That seem devoid of worthwhile substance.

Such loyalty to You has not been forged

By adversity and weathered by hardship.

Their trust seems shallow and juvenile,

Rather than strong, resilient, and steadfast.

Believing that whining and demanding

Will gain favor rather than genuine humility,

They come before You with hearts

That are petulant and peevish, lacking gratitude.

I understand this perspective completely,

Having spent decades of my life

Coming before You in precisely

The same self-serving, self-centered way—

Never understanding, never acknowledging

That You know what is best for me.

I concede my effrontery and selfishness.

I have foolishly thought that my way

Was better than Yours, but I have been wrong.

I have wanted my way, believing that

When You have refused to grant it,

That You were distant and detached—

Unloving, uncaring, and rigid.

I was wrong about that, too.

You do know what’s best for me,

Regardless of what that might be.

After years of perusing frivolity,

I understand the error of my ways.

I wish I had understood it sooner,

But I lacked the maturity to do so.

Now, as wisdom has settled within me,

I bow me knee and acknowledge willingly,

You give and take away;

You give and take away;

You give and take away;

Blessed be Your name.

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are you ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:6-9)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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I know You want me to trust You completely,

And I do—at least, much of the time.

Because of what has hurt me so much

And my feelings of worthlessness,

I still struggle to believe that You love me—

That You accept me just as I am,

Regardless of how awful that might be.

I don’t see how You could—not really.

Perhaps that’s why I whine and remain timid,

Even though You desire for me

To be resilient, joyful, and self-assured.

I desire inner strength, but that’s rarely an option.

Father, how can You love somebody like me?

That You do is something I cannot fathom.

Such love and acceptance is beyond my grasp.

You say that you love me despite everything,

Even when self-defeating ways overwhelms me,

Which seems to happen far too often.

As You display Your faithfulness,

My trust in You increases, ever building,

But it still isn’t where it should be.

I pretend to be strong—to be supremely confident,

But I’m not nearly the person on the inside

That I appear to be on the outside.

I pretend to be what I am not—

To be far more secure than I really am.

I even try to fool myself, but You know

My frailties, which I attempt to mask.

I don’t know why You care so much,

When I don’t even care about myself.

This is a great mystery to me.

In my quiet moments, which I attempt to avoid,

I try to fathom such love and caring,

But I simply cannot.

O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou does know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is to high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:1-6)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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I feel like a wounded gazelle,

Unable to fend for myself,

As hungry beasts surround me.

My demise seems certain,

And there is no place to hide.

My friends—those who call upon Your name—

Are nowhere to be found,

Just when I need them the most.

My love has abandoned me for another,

Without ever looking back.

I am undone and badly crushed,

And those who seek what little is left,

Fight over scraps of my being—

Over pieces of my shattered life.

How long will You leave me exposed

And vulnerable to ravenous predators—

To those who seek to destroy me?

Tell me, Lord, when will it be enough?

When will You protect Your wounded child?

When will You move Your mighty hand to help?

If You don’t rescue me soon, nothing will remain.

My head, which once was proud, hangs in despair,

And my countenance is greatly diminished.

Terrifying dread and apprehension overwhelm me.

I fear that it will never end—not unless

You provide me with a way through the thorny maze,

To a place that is safe and secure.

How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord, my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Let my enemy say, “I have overcome him,” lest my adversaries rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)

To learn more about about the subject, go to: Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.

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