As I have been writing these blogs so far, I have tried not to share too much personal information. I did not want it to be about me, but to direct anyone who reads this to the Lord Jesus Christ. However, I feel I am being compelled by the Lord to share a very personal story so that others might be set free. No matter what sins you are struggling with (or have struggled with in the past), it is important to know that all sin is “common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13). The evil one would have us hide in secrecy and shame so that we will never confess our sins and be free.
My father struggled with an undiagnosed developmental disability. He was a brilliant Bible scholar, but struggled immensely to build and maintain relationships. He also struggled with emotional regulation and had an anger problem that he unintentionally handed down to me. I do not even know what age I was when anger took root in my life, but I can tell you that anger was normal to me.
I became aware of my own problem with anger as I was working through some major changes in my own life, years after my father had passed away. At a time when I really needed to be able to confide in someone to process my own feelings of grief, I was afraid to speak at all for fear that anger or even rage would come out of my mouth.
The problem with addictions that stem from emotions instead of behaviors is that even if we manage to suppress actions, the emotions are written on our faces and bodies. I would grow red faced and shaky when provoked (whether real or perceived), and I felt that my situation was hopeless.
God was faithful to minister to me during this time, even though I was isolated. (See “My friend remorse”) But I must be honest with my readers when I say that this healing process took years. It was almost five years from the time that I became fully aware of my own condition to the point where I felt truly free. (Even my body no longer betrays me.) At the time that I felt the most trapped, the Lord gave me a picture of Balrog (demon of terror) that Gandalf battles at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. Even though I was determined not to let him pass, I was so easily dragged away by him. (Gandalf fights Balrog)
Healing began to come two years ago when I discovered the spiritual disciplines. (See “narrow path to transformation” and “cognitive behavior therapy…Biblically”) Every single morning, no matter what kind of day I had had the previous day, I would come to God and ask for healing. Change began to take place as God began to retrain my brain with the truth of his word.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31
Also, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
I became familiar with anger and all of his spiritual companions: bitterness, rage, contempt, righteous indignation, and I saw them all for what they truly were. It was in working through Beth Moore’s study “Breaking Free” (for the second time) that God showed me how to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:4) and close my mind and body to these destructive thought patterns.
John Eldredge includes a “daily prayer” and a “prayer for freedom from habitual sins” on his Ransomed Heart website that is very helpful. For me, my prayer journal was the same process of daily coming to God in prayer and meditation on his word. (See “Things to do while we wait”.)