Have you ever been out and about when suddenly, a song from your past plays and floods you with emotion?
Perhaps it was your wedding song, or maybe a song that reminds you of a past relationship that ended badly. Depending on the situation attached to the song, you will either love hearing it or want the song to be over with as soon as possible. You either love or hate the song, but it really isn’t about the song itself at all — its about the thing behind the song. It’s about the memory, the place, the person attached to the song.
Take that same analogy and apply it to people.
“Wow that guy reminds me of my *insert someone who has hurt you in your past*, he must be a real jerk.” Without even giving people a chance, we allow a past hurt to prevent us from loving others for who they really are. We even do this to those who are in a leadership role, and as a result, sometimes we aren’t able to receive guidance or feedback because we are holding onto offense from something they or someone like them has done in the past. For example, a pastor can preach the most impactful and God-filled message, but we can miss it entirely because we remembered something they, or even someone they are associated with said or did that offended us. It’s not about the person at all, its about the offense, situations, or even assumptions we hold against them that prevents us from embracing the fullness of relationships with others.
“Trials in this life will expose what is in your heart—whether the offense is toward God or others. Tests either make you bitter toward God and your peers or stronger. If you pass the test, your roots will shoot down deeper, stabilizing you and your future. If you fail, you become offended, which can lead to defilement with bitterness." John Bevere, The Bait of Satan
Now, how often do we do this to God?
Perhaps we project the failures of our earthly father or authority figures on our Heavenly Father. For me, there are certain worship songs that were too hard for me to listen to for the longest time because they reminded me of times where I butchered a note from stage or messed up a lyric. Because of the embarrassment I still had attached to the song, I wasn’t able to worship or surrender whenever we did that song at church or when it came up on my playlist. From there, my insecurity trickled into many other worship songs without me even knowing — and I wondered why I felt so distant from God during my worship time. I was blaming God for being distant when my own insecurities built walls against Him. So how do we overcome this and uproot the issue? By simply asking God on a regular basis to search our hearts and reveal strongholds in our lives we may have become blind to. Asking God to refine us is a bold prayer that may reveal our “fleshy” nature but ultimately leads to transformation and freedom!
This idea of association can be applied to good things, too — but regardless, we must get to the root. Next time we are in a certain location, see a certain object, or are around a certain person and feel our defenses coming up, we must ask God to reveal the root. Satan constantly tries to steal our joy, relationships, confidence, and connection with God. With God’s help, we can uproot his lies attached to the many things and people in our lives that we are called to face and embrace rather than flee from. Our God is always calling us deeper and refining His children!
For those with PTSD, I can relate and am in the refining process of allowing God to break the trauma associations that trigger me. I truly believe He can free us from this bondage if we partner with Him. We are never alone and are so loved! It is time to expose the thing behind the thing and the schemes of the enemy attached to it to make room for God’s glory!
Let me pray for you: Lord, I pray against any spirit of “this is just the way it is and always will be” and cast it away in your mighty name. We are meant to live in victory because of what you did on the cross for us! Lord, reveal our strongholds and search our hearts constantly. Be our loving nudge away from the things that hold us captive to offense and pain. Jesus, your very name breaks chains! Give us the awareness we need to no longer live in captivity and illuminate the path towards victory. Draw us close to your heart, oh God. We thank you for your abounding mercy and grace towards us. We love you so much. Thank you for never leaving us in our brokenness. Amen.
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