3 Keys to Freedom from Past Abuse, Addictions

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I grew up around a lot of negative lifestyles. For years as a child, I experienced grief, abandonment, abuse and homelessness. Some people think that if you ignore past hurts, they will just go away. But the anger and the core feelings that are born in an abusive environment can strangle an individual's emotional and developmental growth.

Many women have had to deal with the kind of mistreatment that was intended to control and subjugate them. Abuse of any kind breeds fear and damages the soul, made up of the mind, will and emotions. Ill-treatment devalues a woman and wears down her self-respect.

Too many women who are believers in Jesus Christ are still unable to walk in authority and dominion. Instead they are struggling with depression, identity issues and diminished self-esteem.

God has predetermined that you and I are to be conformed to the image of His Son. We must receive our true identity from Christ.

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The adjustments and changes that constitute your spiritual growth won't come about easily. But the more you affirm who you are in Him, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true nature and identity.

Your self-image is made up of what you think about your life—how you perceive your intellectual ability, emotional stability, temperament and ability to love. It includes your powerful imagination, reasoning skills and level of confidence in your ability to influence others.

A damaged self-image can set up a person to accept and expect abusive treatment from others. But this does not need to happen. The damaged soul can be repaired.

We can learn to take responsibility for dealing with the self-defeating habits, addictions and behaviors in our lives. These things do not have to stunt our psychological growth, arrest our personal development and sabotage our ability to successfully manage our lives as adults.

The Starting Point
The psalmist David wrote: "He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake" (Ps. 23:3). Deliverance from the power of darkness and the dominion of sin begins the restoration process. Reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ imparts to us forgiveness and freedom from guilt.

It was my relationship with God that opened the door for radical change in my life and in my understanding of the meaning of life itself. But choosing to take this first step and trust God was difficult for me. Before I discovered that I needed to deal with me first, I was looking for answers and seeking to understand what was wrong with everyone else.

I recognize the temptation to attribute every bad situation to demonic activity. But we have all had supernatural attacks against us that exploited our weaknesses. In my life, years of religious and emotional abuse eventually escalated to domestic violence.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of not discussing the abuse with anyone. Demonic forces target our secrets. I had to admit there was a problem before God could break this cycle in my life. I chose to walk in His truth and made my emotional health a priority.

When we experience God's merciful forgiveness toward us, it demands that we forgive others. I had to forgive the hurtful people in my life. When I forgave them, I was released from their mental control. Then I became empowered to begin the process of confronting the lingering effects of abuse on my own emotions.

Blaming others for the problems we face won't resolve them. Neither will making light of them nor denying their existence. In order to cut to the core of your troubling situations, you must be equipped by the Holy Spirit to function with accurate and balanced discernment as you exercise your spiritual authority.

The things that happened to me were real. Yet, because of the reality of redemption, neither the sins that were committed against me nor the sins I've committed have any legal right to make demands on my mind, my will or my emotions today.

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