January 29, 2013
Defenses are behaviors we use to cover up or avoid uncomfortable feelings by hiding them from others, and worse yet … from ourselves. Common defenses include suppressing, blaming, rationalizing, or even just hiding behind a smile.
Denial is one of our most common defenses. In the case of a loved one who struggles with a life controlling addiction problem, we demonstrate denial when we feel the need to protect or cover up their behavior. Sometimes we struggle with our own problems but deny them even to ourselves. Or we underestimate their gravity and the damage they cause to others and ourselves. A big reason for denial is the belief that our denial will keep our loved ones or ourselves “safe.” In reality, denial shuts down problem-recognition, assessment, and identification and implementation of the necessary solutions. You see, denial only leads to more problems because its distorted thinking causes more destruction and helplessness.
One of the main reasons we develop dysfunctional defenses is that we lack confidence in our ability to handle discomfort. Some of the most common negative feelings we experience include anger, anxiety, jealousy, sadness, fear, guilt, loneliness, shame, and feeling overwhelmed. Let me encourage you to look at that list again. Are you struggling with any of these feelings or similar ones? Are you smiling your way through each day while the struggle inside you rages? These negative feelings aren’t sins, but they are uncomfortable. Even God and Jesus experienced many of these feelings.
Amazingly, The Holy Bible is THE book showing us exactly why we are in pain and what God has provided to melt away and erase our pain. Ever since Genesis 3 when Eve bit the apple, man has suffered the ultimate pain of spiritual separation from God. Add to that the physical pain of working the land, childbirth, plus the trials and tribulations of this world. God’s Word frequently promises and instructs that He and His peace are always available to us. He gives multiple examples and instruction through the many biographies revealed in scripture.
Today, return to the place of honestly acknowledging your true feelings and dealing with them like an adult. Your first step out of this struggle is to admit the uncomfortable feelings to yourself, to God, and to others you know you can trust. Understand “No Pain, No Gain.” God will provide and equip you to turn your pain into gain. Now act as if those two statements are true … and see miraculous growth happen for you … and for your relationship with God. Only then can you begin the road out of the cover-up and into recovery. Growing from pain or covering it up is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, I have tried to convince myself that if I don’t admit to these problems, then they don’t really exist and I’ll be safe from them. I realize now I’ve been deceiving myself. I am struggling and I need your help. Help me, Father, to move from cover-up to recovery. I know You’ll provide peace and comfort. Help me stop looking in the wrong places. Show me the right places to look for Your abundant peace and grace. I pray this in the name of the One You sent to remove the cover-up by covering me with His blood, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
You boast, “We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place.” Isaiah 28:15
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6