What’s Holding You Down?


My featured author this month is Rivera Douthit, who has recently released a new book, Zero Gravity, that lifts us into the heights of the kingdom of God. I encourage you to check it out and order your copy now!

IMG_3320We were designed to ride on the heightsZero Gravity. 

In a world pressured by a search for security, author Rivera Douthit, calls you to soar higher, above the force of gravity, beyond what you see with your natural eyes. Zero Gravity is an invitation into the realm of the supernatural. We are on the precipice of the greatest move of God in history! We must know how to live from heavenly places!

With the message of identity, authority, and unity this book will encourage you to:

  •  Rise above the resistance of the enemy (to reign with Christ {on earth}).
  •  Embrace the healing power of The Miracle-Working God.
  •  Recognize the power of a unified body sustained by the Holy Spirit.
  • Realize your dreams and find the courage to step into them.

Being held down by the weight of this world is opposite of the design God has for us. Be awakened as a son/daughter to the limitless, abundant life! May your soul recalibrate as your spirit learns to live from the weightless atmosphere of heaven!

https://www.zerogravitybook.com/

 

Rivera Douthit is a clear and effective communicator of truth who longs to see people healed and set free. With a beautifully straightforward style, she inspires people to know their identity and authority in Christ. She stands on the Bible as the final Word. With a passion for revival, evangelism, and unity in the Body, her greatest desire is to always point to the only One who matters, Jesus.

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Are You Running Well?


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photo by Agberto Guimaraes https://unsplash.com/@agb800m

With spring we welcome baseball games and track meets in which running plays a predominant role. Even now, as athletes, our kids are preparing for the coming season with conditioning. In order to steal bases, they must run well. And no track star jumped on a track one day and broke a new record.

But whether we are true athletes or the couch variety, we all are running in a life race.

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photo by Martins Zemlickis https://unsplash.com/@mzemlickis

Our race isn’t a sprint either.

The race of life is a marathon with ups and downs, stumbles and skinned knees, exhaustion and refreshing cups of water. And in the end, we want to cross the finish feeling we’ve run the race well. I can’t wait to see Jesus, fall at his feet and hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I pray that will be the case. As followers of Christ, I think that is our goal.

Hebrews 12 gives us some helpful instruction to make sure we end in that place.

First, it says to “throw off” everything that hinders us and the sin that entangles us.

I haven’t run a marathon, but I can’t imagine that the runners carry around suitcases full of old stuff, winter coats with the idea it will protect them, or chains with iron balls dragging behind them.

That would be crazy, right?

But in life, we cling to hurts, unforgiveness, sinful actions, and addictions that hinder us.

The Bible says to throw it off. The word means a violent action. Not carefully put it down someplace close by where you can pick it up again. Not passively toss it at your feet. No, “throw off” indicates an intentional act of flinging it as far away from you as possible.

Next, this chapter encourages us to persevere.

A marathon takes time and endurance. My daughter who runs has described the physical and emotional challenge of a marathon—that tenth mile when she thinks she’ll never make it to the end.

When we decide we’re going to throw off junk and run, those old patterns may still trip us up, unhealthy relationships will attempt to pull us out of the race, and we’ll get tired on those days that seem like nothing is working and the finish line is a far off figment of our imagination.

We can’t give up, grow weary or lose heart.

Easy for me to say, right? But many other men and women of faith have gone before us, proving that God is faithful to us and his promises (Read Hebrews 11 for a faith boost.)

In order to persevere we must:

  1. Fix our eyes on Jesus. He began our faith and will perfect it. He endured the cross for us and considers US his joy. He put aside the shame of being beaten, naked and mocked so that we could be in relationship with him forever. Consider the opposition he had—even leading to his death. Most of us won’t ever have to suffer that much.
  2. Embrace trials as an opportunity. God sees everything we are going through. The world is a tough, evil place to navigate, but even out of all those terrible things, God can bring good and abundance to us. Those painful situations shape our character and give us depth. Sometimes they are discipline that God lovingly allows to train us. Like the hard training to run a long race.
  3. Remember that others are watching us. Our race is an encouragement to others. When we don’t give up, they believe they can make it too. And they will see Jesus in us as well.
  4. Not allow ourselves to be robbed. I’m not talking your purse or backpack. Bitterness towards situations or others, uncontrolled sexual desires or gluttony (over indulging in anything) can steal the best God has for us—our inheritance in Christ—the Bible calls it. We miss out on his goodness and grace when we allow these things to rule our lives. Temporary, momentary pleasure traded for beyond imagination fulfilment and joy. Not worth it.
  5. Trust that our God is a personal God. He is mighty, powerful, and consuming, but through Jesus, made a way to draw close to him. He welcomes us with open, loving arms. Don’t refuse him. Instead, worship him with confidence, awe and reverence.

How about you? Do you feel like you’re running well? Or do you need some encouragement from the sidelines?

Let me offer you a cup of water.

Sign up for my email list to receive my FREE guide to help you start or continue your journey. Or book me to speak to your group.  If you find encouragement in reading, check out my books .  My personal story of meeting my soul mate online is one of faith and amazing miracles.

The Lies We Believe


Once upon a time, this was my life… 

Some days are okay, but most are almost unbearable; like today when I am alone, feeling the weight of my decision to move on and the severity of my family’s situation. I feel extremely isolated and some days my heart hurts so badly. I can’t believe this is how my life has turned out. A new start at my age??

The words above were taken from one of my journals during the months following my final separation from my ex-husband. I still had so much to learn about myself, and God had so much more healing for me in the years to come. I’m still in progress.

During those years, I began to recognize the lies that dictated my life. Lies like:

  • I am of no value.
  • I am powerless.
  • I have no voice.
  • I am an object for another’s sexual pleasure.
  • If I love someone, I must allow them to mistreat me.
  • I can’t look at Jesus’ face because I am ashamed.
  • I have to do whatever someone else wants even if I don’t feel safe.
  • My husband is looking elsewhere for sex because I’m not a good enough wife.
  • I am never enough.
  • Everything wrong is my fault, and it’s my responsibility to fix it.
  • If I feel frustrated or cry, I must not be trusting God enough.
  • Performing sexually proves my worth.
  • If I was more (or less) _________, I would be loved.
  • I will feel loved if I have sex.

God says:

  • I am valuable to him.  (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • God gave me a spirit of power. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • I have a voice. (Psalm 66:19 & Romans 9:1)
  • No one should use me to satisfy their lust. (I Thessalonians 4:3-8)
  • God is not happy when someone mistreats me. (Zechariah 2:8-9)
  • We can confidently approach Jesus. (Hebrews 4:16)
  • I am only responsible for my own actions. (Romans 14:12)
  • Feelings and crying are part of who we are. Even Jesus cried. (John 11:35)
  • Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. That isn’t only about sex. (Ephesians 5:25-33)
  • Love comes from God, not from sex. (Jeremiah 31:3; I John 4:19)

Perhaps you have believed the same lies, but haven’t realized you’re enslaved to them. For every lie I believed, God offered me the truth, and I began to live again. I believe he wants to do the same for you.

What are lies you’ve believed? What truth have you learned? Have you started over, or would you like to?
 
 

Living with an Addict


Addiction comes in many forms.

Typically, when we say “addiction” we think of alcohol, drugs or maybe gambling. But we can have addictions to shopping, eating, not eating, reading, television, gaming, Facebook, checking emails, surfing the internet, magazines, exercise, pornography, sports, scrap-booking or sex. Anything that grabs our attention, pulls us into a place of needing it, and dictates our thoughts or actions has created an addiction. The ‘something’ we feel we must have; we can’t go without, shapes our lives and the lives of those we live with.

For decades I was shaped by the patterns of living with someone addicted to sex.

Over the following weeks, I will share what I learned through my experiences. I hope to help and encourage anyone feeling despair over your circumstances–either because you live with an addict or battle with addiction in some area. Most of us do to some extent at some point of our life. Recognizing patterns and symptoms can alert us to get the help we need. Honestly evaluating our particular situation is the first step in breaking free from the bondage of addiction.

While many patterns relate universally to any addiction (and some by themselves simply show a lack of growth in character or maturity), I’m relating the following patterns primarily with sexual addictions. Someone who is addicted to sex probably:

  1. Needs to be in control. The women in his fantasies do exactly what he wants and enjoy his power; therefore, he expects everyone in his life to submit to his desires. Sex makes him feel powerful and in control. He may use anger or violence to control his family, and may not acknowledge their needs or feelings since he has no control over those areas.
  2. Lacks respect for women. The degradation of women due pornography and prostitution causes the focus of a woman’s value to be on her ability to perform sexually or contribute materially. This can be particularly devastating for women choosing to stay home to raise children. That job consumes her time and energy without financial profit, and can leave her feeling worthless, especially if she can’t fulfill her husband’s sexual fantasies.
  3. Is self-absorbed. In a healthy relationship, each person desires to meet the needs of their spouse whenever possible, but an addict focuses entirely on meeting the desires of self regardless of how valid or pressing others’ situations may be. Family needs may be ignored. Someone addicted to sex can fulfill their needs almost anytime, anywhere because much of the stimulation and satisfaction comes from mental images. This constant, instant gratification makes it nearly impossible to put another person’s needs first.
  4. Uses manipulation. In order to get his way or keep his behavior hidden, the addict will often use whatever means necessary no matter what it costs. He may be kind and understanding one minute, making promises or begging forgiveness, then angry and violent the next. He may use guilt, self-pity or even whining to manipulate his family. In her book, The Dance of Anger, Dr. Harriet Lerner states, “If women are constantly made to feel guilty, they remain ‘in their place’ and are ineffective.”

To be continued…

It may be a grueling process to redefine who you are apart from the impact of these patterns, or to allow yourself to be extricated from a life of addiction, but there is hope.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Galatians 5:1

 
Have you experienced any of these patterns either as an addict or living with one?
 

If you need help or would like prayer, please feel free to comment below or send me a private message at laurabennet14@gmail.com