How to break free from poisonous Pedagogy today

How to break free from poisonous Pedagogy today

In today’s article we will explore some more the subject of poisonous pedagogy.

Then I will share with you how today I am able to recognize the pattern of poisonous pedagogy and how I am able to choose new ways and apply a new mindset for how I view God, how I see my own life, the way I treat myself – my children and the people around me.

The Different styles of education

At the school, we had a lesson about the different styles of education. The teacher spoke to us about these different ways (authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and uninvolved) and their variations (rich or weak in control, supportive or unsupportive).

In his book “Kinder sind Persönlichkeiten” (in English: “How to really love your child”)  by Ross Campel, (s.99) he takes up these different styles, and talks about a survey conducted in America. How children reacted regarding:  
(1) their identification with parents with their values, 
(2) the religious beliefs of parents and 
(3) identification and respect with authorities and society.

The survey showed that children who have been confronted with the authoritarian style have had the most trouble in their adult lives, even more so than children who have been neglected or educated in the permissive style.

It seems to me that this authoritarian style is quite similar to the image of the child of poisonous pedagogy, and yet, as the author also writes, “it is the style applied by most Christian families in America” (and also in Switzerland).

Personally, I believe, that to start a healthy family, it takes more than “the right style of education, the right book, methods or the right theory”.

I really like what Frank and Catherine Fabiano wrote in their book “Die Herzen der Kinder berühren” (p10) , (Reaching out to our children’s heart, only available in German ) that

“knowledge and understanding are necessary to be able to understand how to reach the hearts of our children”.

They quote Hosea 4:6a “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

Bradshaw tells us (p.61)

 “A family system becomes chronically dysfunctional not because of bad people, but because of bad information loops, bad feedback in the form of bad rules of behavior. The same is true of society. Our parents are not bad people for transmitting the poisonous pedagogy. 

To question my own upbringing and recognize the things that shaped my life in a negative way, was scary and challenging. However, because I allowed that process into my life, I could recognize many of the destructive patterns, and I was able to strike a new path. Today, I can look at my parents mainly with compassion and love. Simply because I am no longer the product of their mistakes or things they didn’t know or didn’t understand. I can take the good heritage they transmitted to me and celebrate it. And I can create a very different environment for my own family then they were able to. 
I truly got rid of the virus of this poisonous pedagogy, being free from many of the consequences of such an upbringing.

How did I get there?

Well, let’s remember that:

  • We can’t give what we haven’t received,
  • We transmit the image we have formed since our early childhood to our own children (and our inner child, of course)
  • Our emotions of shame, worthlessness, blame, etc. are passed on to our own children without us saying anything, even often without realizing it ourselves.
  • The image (whether present or absent) of our own authority figure (father) reflects the image we have of God. What our beliefs are about Him. What we believe that He thinks of us, the way we believe that He cares for us (or doesn’t take care of us) .

You see, it is not a book about child rearing that makes one a good parent, a successful family. It is not the right method, the correct way of applying this method – and it’s not even our faith. 
Don’t get me wrong! I am a Christian, and we do want to raise godly children. 
What I am saying is that going to church and reading the bible is not a guarantee that you are not infected by this virus of poisonous pedagogy. (There are whole churches functioning on this way of treating people.)

Children raised that way will either transmit this same virus to their own children – or rebel against it by trying to break free, many times without true success.

Therefore, how can people being raised that way truly adapt to another path?

This is a question I have often asked myself on the path I was myself, until forming my own family.

Because even though I left my family at the age of 16, I often found myself trapped in these transmitted emotions. Trapped in that vision I had of God, myself and the world. I was still part of this dynamic. I still lived my life based on those emotions and realities I experienced in my family.

This is true for everybody. It doesn’t matter whether we want that or not or even whether we are aware of it or not.

However, like I wrote above, it is possible to “get rid” of that virus and to truly strike a new path.

As much as there are different people, there are also different ways to achieve the same result:

To be able to get out of one’s “inner prison” due to past experiences – often reinforced by the results of our present experiences and influenced by our misunderstanding.

I will share with you some of my personal experiences that transformed my understanding and my reality of my own life.

  • One of the big changes came with the understanding that I didn’t need to hide who I was, like I explained in thatarticle. 
  • I entered into a new reality when I understood that God didn’t expect me to hand myself over – but that he loves my true devotion, as I wrote in that article.
  • The day God told me that I could quit my struggle to become normal – that I was normal in my unicity. See thatarticle. 
  • That process of understanding that individuality is nothing scary but something powerful and beautiful. See that article.
  • The understanding of “honor” has changed the way I treat people in general, my husband and my children.
  • The freedom that came in my life when I realized that I don’t have to be a “nice girl” to be loved.
  • Or when I realized by reading a book that I was living a mentality of a pauper of poverty. See this article.
  • Or the story I shared with you here on how God showed me how he is not that harsh, rigid father who misses to understand our hearts.
  • When I finally understood that I don’t need to be perfect in order to be loved and valuable. Neither do people around me. See this article

Those are only a few of the things that lead to freedom in my own life.

I truly believe what I wrote above:

As much as there are different people, there are also different ways to achieve the same result.
However, we have to be willing to enter the process.

An essay about Poisonous Pedagogy back in time and Today

An essay about Poisonous Pedagogy back in time and Today

Regardless of the season of my life, I have always had one final goal in mind:

I wanted to be able to start a family. Not just any family. I longed for a healthy family.

I knew, even in the years of “rebellion”, while I was questioning all the values and things taught by my own family, this was the desire of my heart. However, I knew that I could not give anything that I had not received myself.

It was also clear to me that many things I had experienced in my own family were nothing I wanted to imitate. Very early on I knew what I didn’t want… but it was a long process to be able to understand what exactly was wrong, and especially, what it was that would replace these things!

In 2010 I was participating in a Christian counseling school, and at the end of the first year, we had to choose a theme to write an essay on.
I was clear what my subject would be: “Family”. More precisely, I chose the theme “Poisonous Pedagogy”, a reality I was discovering through the literature we had to read for that school.
Reading through this essay a couple of days ago, I decided to transform it into two articles. Of course I made some changes to make it suitable for the open public.

This work is based on the book “The family”, written by John Bradshaw. The pages are from the French version “la famille”, updated version 2004, translated into English.

Bradshaw explains the meaning of the poisonous pedagogy (or in the words of Alice Miller: black pedagogy)  (p.88)

 “The poisonous pedagogy is based on inequality – a kind of master/slave relationship. Parents are deserving of respect simply because they are parents. Parents are always right and are to be obeyed.

And on page 129: 

 “The overt rules that create dysfunctionality are the rules of the poisonous pedagogy. Parents are dysfunctional as a result of these erroneous rules, which they carry within their own psyches.“

The book describes at a deep level this way of living in a family, of being raised.

I realized that, although I found myself affected by the emotions and consequences caused by this treatment described in the book, I did not experience most of the things described in there (physical abuse, sexual abuse, willful malice). My family has not suffered from alcoholism, infidelity in marriage or other things like that.

I then realized that the family system is not ended with every generation  – but that, as Bradshaw describes it:

 “Without critically questioning and updating them (The erroneous rules) , they pass them on to their children. Thus, parents become unintentional carriers of a virus.”  (p.29)

In my case, they mainly transmitted the emotions they experienced during their childhood, their shame, blame, fear, vision of the world, of God and transmitted their “weak” identity. Their sense of “worthlessness”, the denigration they received themselves. 

 

Poisonous Pedagogy – a description

In my research on the subject I have been able to see that poisonous pedagogy is exactly what Bradshow calls it:

A virus carried involuntarily. (p.129).

It is highly contagious and infects entire families, entire generations. It infects people with the best intentions, the highest moral values, Christian parents, and even those who grew up in such an environment and who have vowed never to do this with their own children. 

It has become clear to me that poisonous pedagogy is based largely on a false image of who a child is – and this image will later reproduce in ourselves, how we treat our own self (inner child) and in the same way, how we treat our own children.

 

Poisonous Pedagogy back in time

 As I did a weekend of this counseling school, I had my three month old with me. I did as I did at home. Carrying him in a sling, nursing him when he was hungry (my oldest did this every 2 ½ hours, as if he would have an internal clock) and rocking him to sleep.

Three ladies in their fifties came to me during the weekend, telling me how my attitude as a mother touched them deeply. They told me how they were raised very differently.

Triggered by this experience I talked to several people around this age.
I realized that they all had all similar stories.
Nothing very serious in their opinion:  

“it was done like that in past times”…

and yet an image of the child upbringing described in the book “The Family” as poisonous pedagogy:

  • The adult (no matter if it is the parents, the teacher, the village pastor or a peasant friend next door) is always right and has all the rights.
  • The individual did not exist in itself, but only as a function of family (also described in Bradshaw’s book p. 220
  • All of those people in their fifties I talked to, could identify their past with this statement:

    “Instead of learning from our children, the poisonous pedagogy exhorts us to mold and train them like animals. It asks us to crush their vitality, spontaneity and emotional expression.” P.210

  • Corporal punishment was frequent (and poisonous pedagogy encourages it) because it would be a good way to teach children respect and obedience towards parents, (p195)

    One of those ladies I talked to was also sexually assaulted in the name of “education”, as Bradshaw puts it. (p.175) Poisonous pedagogy plays a predominant role in the tragedy of incest and sexual offenses in general….since children must obey their parents and honor them at all costs, implicitly; the latter have rights over their children’s bodies.

  • The people in charge of education have used guilt as a guardian to act, which has taught them to be ashamed of themselves. P.220
  • Yelling, name-calling, labeling, criticizing, judging, ridiculing, humiliating, comparing and holding in contempt are all sources of shame (p.219) and is psychological aggression.

In her book “For your own good” Alice Miller, the inventor of the expression “black pedagogy”, includes the following points on pages 59-60:

  • A feeling of duty produces love.
  • Hatred can be done away with by forbidding it.
  • Parents deserve respect simply because they are parents.
  • Children are undeserving of respect simply because they are children.
  • Obedience makes a child strong.
  • A high degree of self-esteem is harmful.
  • A low degree of self-esteem makes a person altruistic.
  • Tenderness (doting) is harmful.
  • Responding to a child’s needs is wrong.
  • Severity and coldness are a good preparation for life.
  • A pretense of gratitude is better than honest ingratitude.
  • The way you behave is more important than the way you really are.
  • Neither parents nor God would survive being offended.
  • The body is something dirty and disgusting.
  • Strong feelings are harmful.
  • Parents are creatures free from drives and guilt.
  • Parents are always right.

 Poisonous pedagogy today

In our present time the image of the child has changed a little. However, we find it everywhere in our society.

As a present example (remember I wrote that in 2010, around the birth of my firstborn) I came across a current example, when I was pregnant with our first baby and followed the advice of several friends of mine.

They were enthused over a book about raising kids that is widely spread in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. “Schlaf gut mein kleiner Schatz” – the German version of “Babywise” of well-known author Garry Ezzo. The ministry of the Ezzos started back in the 1980s.  I know many families in the English and German-speaking world who raise their kids by his teaching.

I bought that book.

I studied it.

I even ordered material from the United States.

I did research on it, reading many reviews on Amazon – both the one stars and the five stars (all back in 2010, when I wrote this essay).

To reassure those of you approving of his books, I will include right here in the beginning my conclusion: I know several parents who are doing a great job as parents while loving that book. Today I believe that it all comes down to this “virus of poisonous pedagogy”. If you are infected by it, you will apply any teaching with this mindset of poisonous pedagogy. And Ezzo’s teaching and view of a child will not help you to get rid of it. In contrary, it helps you to do it more firmly.
However, if that’s not your story and you can’t identify with the above mentioned points, then you will be able to take everything with a grain of salt and apply the things that work for your family and your child.

Having made that clear, back to my example:

Being well aware how this poisonous pedagogy has hurt my life, I was very sensitive to the message of this author. I found many of his statements about child rearing, his understanding of child development and the way he assumes that his way is the only correct way, very disturbing.

Let me explain me why I say that:

He teaches, for example, that:

  • “Your task is to get control of the child so you can effectively train him.” (GKGW)
  • “If anything, continuous close mother/infant contact produces abnormal mother/child dependency.” (NEPrep)
  • “Because the desire for continual and immediate gratification begins at birth, the need for cultivating self-control in your child also begins at that point.” (NE GKGW)
  • “The foundations of moral training are laid early in life, and the cornerstone is discipline. Getting your baby on a routine and sleeping through the night are the results of basic discipline.”  (Prep for the Toddler Years p84)
  • “When your baby awakens [in the middle of the night] do not rush right in. Any crying will be temporary, lasting from 5-45 minutes.” (Speaking of babies 8 weeks and over)
  • Parents must be careful not to become slaves to their newborn child
  • Responding to every crying of the newborn will make him narcissistic and unable to have healthy relationships later on (because they will believe that the whole world revolves around them)
  • It spoils your baby (and even your newborn) to pick him up with every crying. You have to learn to let the baby cry, especially if it is not an adequate moment of crying (i.e. if the child has just eaten, the diapers are clean and the baby’s not hurting)

These are only a few of his ideas.

Bradshaw, on the other hand, explains (p. 214) that

“A child’s earliest needs are for a warm, loving person to be there to mirror, echo and affirm them. This means that the first 15months of life (called the symbiotic stage), a child needs a face with accepting eyes to reflect his self.  Whatever is the mothering person’s eyes becomes the core and foundation of the child’s identity.

He also points out that

“Alice Miller has argued that the infant child’s inner sensations come from the core of the child’s self. The earliest sensations come from the mothers feeling about the child. Since the child is nonverbal, everything depends on feelings. These early feelings about the self are the core out of which the child’s self esteem will be formed. This earliest need is called the healthy narcissist need.  P.215

Next week, I will explore some more the subject. 

We will see that 

  • We can’t give what we haven’t received,
  • We transmit the image we have formed since our early childhood to our own children (and our inner child, of course)
  • Our emotions of shame, worthlessness, blame, etc. are passed on to our own children without us saying anything, even often without realizing it ourselves.
  • The image (whether present or absent) of our own authority figure (father) reflects the image we have of God. What our beliefs are about Him. What we believe that He thinks of us, the way we believe that He cares for us (or doesn’t take care of us) .

However, I will also share with you how you can break free from a past of poisonous Pedagogy and enter into the freedom of experiencing a different reality for yourself and your children. 

How to quit spending time and energy in things you have no ability to change.

How to quit spending time and energy in things you have no ability to change.

There are situations in life that can feel overwhelming.
They are frustrating, preoccupying. Situations that make us angry, upset, sad and even depressed.

 

  • They are situations like those tent vacations last October, which were supposed to be sunny and mild around the Mediterranean sea. However, we got rain and stormy weather most of the time.
  • Another example is the situation I messed up even while only having the best of intentions.
  • Or that Saturday morning, when I needed some groceries for the weekend, and there was a long queue in front of the cash register.
  • This traffic jam, due to an accident, right when I am in a hurry. 
  • My husband, doing things in a very different way I would do them. 
  • That important answer I am expecting via email for a few weeks already.

I am well aware that similar situations happen to everyone.
As I said, one could feel like I’ve described above. Frustrated. Angry. Upset. Sad – or even depressed.

  • One could blame the weather for a miserable vacation.
  • I could blame myself for having messed up that situation– and be angry at the people who reacted a little exaggerated to it.
  • I could be upset at this grocery shop to not open more checkout tills in order that I don’t have to wait so long to get to the cash register.
  • I could be angry to wait in this traffic jam, because of such a “stupid” accident.
  • I could get frustrated at my husband for doing things very differently.
  • I could spend my days (and minutes) being preoccupied, hoping that this important email is going to arrive today.

 

If I would tell you about those situations, you would probably understand my complaints.

However, S.R.Covey, in his Book “The 7 Habits of highly effective Families” talks about the circle of influence and the circle of concern.

He explains:

“The circle of concern is a large circle that embraces everything in your life that you may be concerned about.
The Circle of influence is smaller circle within the circle of concern that embraces the things you can actually do something about.”(S.40)

 

 

So the outer circle includes everything that affects us indirectly, without us having any control over it.

For example:

 

  1. The weather. 
    Unless you have very special super powers, it won’t matter how much you wish or complain, the weather is just going to do what the weather is going to do!
  2. The past.
    You may have just spilled the milk. You may have had some relationship-issues that went wrong, you may have made some decisions that then took a wrong turn or you may have experienced a situation where you didn’t live up to who you want to be. Fact is, everything that has already occurred, even if it was five minutes ago; it can’t be changed. You can’t go back in time.
  3. Other people
    We cannot control other people’s behavior, attitude, opinion, words or action. We cannot even control what they think of us or the expectations they have on us, which we can’t fulfill. We cannot control gossip from others, even if this gossip is about us.
  4. There are many more subjects in our circle of concern, let me name a few:
     Sex life of celebrities and politicians, what Miss Sonandso writes on her personal blog, the news, the political views of others, natural      disasters, wars, weapons and terrorist threats, people driving bad on the street.

 Think about how much time and energy people tend to put into zero control circle things.

Life in that circle of concern is pretty exhausting.

Frustration, anger, sadness or even depression due to the experienced powerlessness are predictable emotions when you spend your time, focus and energy into something you have zero abilty to change or even affect.

Powerlessness, because you will never be able to directly influence them. You just don’t have control over them.

Of course, as a Christian, I absolutely believe that we can pray about these matters and that our prayers will definitely affect situations that look unchangeable. However, even when we pray, there is often that time of waiting until our prayers are answered. What do we do in the meantime? Do we continue to be anxious and concerned about them or are we able to leave the handling of the situation to God, while we’re having complete peace about it?

 My husband Benny is a great example to me concerning this. He will move his car repair shop out of the current location by the end of the year. Even though he doesn’t yet know where he’s moving to, he is completely at peace about it. He says long prayer sessions, where he experiences some kind of perceptible breakthrough often bring a deep peace into his heart about matters like that.

 

When I read about the circle of concern vs. the circle of influence some years ago, I found myself pretty much trapped in those emotions. I recognized myself having lots of emotions about things I have no direct control of. I found myself talking to people around me about the bad weather, the insane traffic that morning. I found myself worrying about what that other person might think of me or the opinion they had about me.

The good news is that there is a place you have 100% influence of and that is you. Your body, thoughts and actions can only be controlled by yourself. The best place to start: Within yourself. Being in your circle of influence is doing things you can do instead of complaining about things those you can’t influence.

 

Places to start:

 “Your attitude and enthusiasm, your own self talk, what you buy, where you work, what you read, what you believe, your words, behaviors, actions and efforts, the friends you choose, the ideas you have, the leadership position you hold, the way you transmit to others what your beliefs and opinions are, the business you start, the places you travel to, the skills you learn – and the consequences of your own actions.”

Entering this process, your circle of influence grows bigger as time and energy spent in the circle of concern diminishes.

Now… change is like becoming a professional piano player: It takes time, effort and practice. This is what I spent my last few years for, and I can say there has occurred a great change inside of me, a release of those emotions connected with things I have no direct power to change. 

And as I said above, my circle of influence grew.
Because I don’t spend my time and energy into something I have direct ability to change anymore. I have found many proactive ways to handle things I can’t change… and this allows my personal growth to increase. I focus on my actions and choices. And I grow in my trust in God, that he has my life in his hands. That I can give him those things I can’t change myself and trust him that he does care about them.

How I learned to be gracious toward myself and others

How I learned to be gracious toward myself and others

The very moment I sat down to write this article (the title already set) I got a call from a friend I love dearly. This friend told me that I’ve hurt and disappointed her in a situation that happened  recently.

I felt shocked. I never meant to hurt her! I had plenty of good intentions by doing what I did but obviously, it ended in me having shattered her trust.

gracious

I was so terribly sorry! I was confronted with feelings of shame, guilt, anger, powerlessness – but all I could do right in that situation was to tell her how sorry I am and how much I regretted the way things went.

A couple of years ago, I would have felt overwhelmed with guilt and fallen apart by my failure.
I would have felt bad for days, walking around with that constant feeling of failure and sadness. I would have had a self talk that went something like this:
“I can’t believe how stupid I am! How could I not have realized that I should do things differently before? Those things always happen to me! I will never go far in my life, I always mess up situations! I am one great failure!“

Today?
Right after that phone call, still in front of my computer, I looked at the title of my article, smiling through some tears.

“How I learned to be gracious toward myself and others”.

Well. Actually exactly through situations like this.

Through moments when I am confronted with situations I messed up. Situations, where I have to recognize that I didn’t live up to what would have been right/wise or loving to do. Situations where others are hurt because of my immaturity, my ignorance or my perception.
The closer the relationship, the harder it is to face such situations.

There are two tendencies of how to react here:

  • One can, as I would have done in the past, feel like a complete failure. . Be overwhelmed with guilt and shame, and blame oneself. 
  • The other way would be to never recognize our responsibility. To put the blame on any other person rather than to admit that we wronged someone, failed in our attempt to be that friend/parent/spouse/ boss/ or employee we want to be.

Today my reaction is very different.
Right there on the phone, I made sure to listen what my friend had to tell me. I told her how sorry I was that my ways of doing things did make her feel that way.
After I hung up, I did feel really bad and terribly sorry for the way I hurt her.

However, I refused to go on that guilt trip. I refused to put the blame on anyone else. Right then, I couldn’t do more to fix the situation.
But I knew by experience that this doesn’t change anything concerning my value and worth.

This, because I deeply know that I am not who I am today because of my perfection or my own righteousness.

It is not my capacity, my performance and my awesomeness that brought me here.

It is rather the other way round. Because I experienced God’s grace, His mercy and His compassion in my life, I am at a place today where I am able to live a fulfilled life despite the situations where I fail to be who – in this situation that friend – I want to be.

Today, such situations make me humble and deeply grateful.

They make my heart moved by the grace and compassion God has for me – and each and every person in this world.
Instead of blaming myself or others, I bless each and every person involved in such situations.
I thank God for his grace, His love, His goodness and His capacity to touch our lives, turn them around and bring them into harmony with Him.
God is not afraid of our failures and of the situations we mess up. He’s not scared of our humanity.
And I love that about Him. 

 

gracious

I’m so glad that I have come a long way to being merciful towards me and others.

Of course, it still is an ongoing process and it sometimes involves tough decisions to stand above my feelings and take the right action. Still, God has been so gracious to bring significant change into my life, concerning that matter.

Instead of becoming discouraged and depressed, I am today able to grow from such experiences.

Instead of becoming bitter, I become more grateful, gracious and softhearted toward myself and others.

Instead of blaming myself or putting the blame on others, I take responsibility – and no matter the outcome of that situation, I will use it to grow, to learn, to mature.

 

From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.

From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.

I am very excited to write my first article for this website. Excited, because there is so much gratefulness and compassion in me, when I look back to where I came from and where I stand today. 

 

ashes

Compassion because I remember very well where I come from.
I remember all those struggles, the stupid things I did in my ignorance, unmet needs, wrong beliefs and fears.
I remember the people I hurt, the ridiculous situations I put myself into, the hurt I caused to myself for not knowing how to live, for being completely lost in a world that didn’t teach me how to live a life in freedom, that’s worth living.

I struggled to find my place in a world that rarely tries to find the gold but points out the weak spots, the flaws, the imperfections and the things that need to change in order to be acceptable.
I remember the feelings of loneliness, the shame of being myself, the heartbreaks I could have avoided (if only I would have been tought on how to do that)  – and the feeling of complete failure every time I had recognized that I wasn’t at the level of the expectations of the people around me. 

My realities were feelings of failure, of not being enough, unworthyness, unableness. The labels of ADHD and epilepsy promised me a future of trying to adapt to these diagnoses.

I hated it. I tried to fight those things. Fight those things in order to “become” normal. In order to become a person like anybody else.
Somehow, this felt like a lost struggle. My environment, who knew me well (or so they thought), tried to make me accept my fate. They shaked their head at my efforts to get out of those labels and diagnoses, those feelings that tried to determine my life. They smiled at my determination to overcome those obstacles (and circumstances) they had put in my way. 

My French teacher told me one day:

“Jeanne, you are definitely not made to learn any foreign language. You will never speak more than one language.”

Well, today I speak four of them fluently.

 

Because of a pretty severe stuttering issue, I felt very helpless and shy, insecure to meet new people. Somehow I knew that I either had to hide in an office, or I face this reality. So, at age 16, I chose to do an apprenticeship in a small butcher’s shop. My thinking was that this way, I had to face all those clients, everyday, who came to buy meat and sausages in the shop. And it worked! I got much more confident and relaxed in meeting new people, and my stuttering diminished very much. 

When I was around 24 years old, God spoke to my heart in a very real way. He told me:

“ Jeanne, you can’t become something you already are: “normal” in your uniqueness.“

 

From this day on, I quit my fight to become “normal” – and I entered into the process of becoming who I truly am – the person I knew deep down inside I could be, if only I would be able to enter into this freedom of who I am, of who God truly is.

  

Today, I’ve gone a long way. I am at a completely different spot – in my inner and outer reality. My life has a stable foundation that is filled with life, joy, peace, gentleness, compassion and humor.  Even though neither my life nor I myself, nor the people around me are perfect… challenges can’t change that basic foundation of freedom.

And well, knowing what I know today about psychology, how the usual effects of child rearing and a difficult childhood will influence the adult life – I stand in awe before this God who was capable to break many of the “normal” consequences in adult life. There is this deep gratefulness for all those people in my life who treated me with grace and compassion and who were eager to find the gold.

 

Today, I am simply amazed by this God who is so faithful!
I look at the freedom I found of being simply being me.
I see the grace of God all over my life. His compassion. His love. His capacity. He is so good!

 

My heart is filled with compassion and thankfulness, because I know that the reality I experienced in the past is the reality of many people around the world.
We live in a time, where brokenness, hurt, pain and injustices are as much reality as they were at any point of time in our history.

In this blog, I will share my journey, from where I was to where I stand today.
However, today I would like to point out eight important factors you have to know to enter this journey.

  1. ) There is no way I could experience my freedom today without the reality that Jesus died on the cross.
    Why? Well, because today all my efforts, my will would not have had the power to overcome all those wrong beliefs, lies, fears and the ignorance that held me back.
    Because of God, because of Jesus who paid for us, I had a truth to hold on to. To cling on to in my failure, brokenness and pain. God saved me from so many things I would have entered into if I would not have given my life to Jesus Christ. The thief came only to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came that we may have life in abundance, to the fullness, until it overflows.
    Therefore, the first step is: Invite Jesus into your life. It will seriously change your life on this earth for the good. Visit this section of my website to see how to that.
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  2. ) Dwell in his love.
    I got to know a God full of compassion. He never accuses. He never blames. He never shames you. He knows your past, your experiences, your lack and needs.
    The only people Jesus got angry at in the Bible, were the religious people who were trying to put a burden on the weaker ones. The ones who were “rejecting” the sinner and pretended to be the “perfect” ones. Once you experience His Love in your life, everything else will become so small.
  1. ) Be aware that coming out of your comfort zone is scary and uncomfortable.
    This means that any process of transformation is challenging. Many times, staying in those “securities” one has, no matter how destructive they might be, seems more promising than leaving this place to grow into another reality.

4.) Persevere.
Promise yourself to hold on, even if you feel that you have failed, that people have failed you or that you just can’t keep on anymore. Every time in my life, when I felt that way and I decided to persevere, God was so faithful, bringing people or circumstances into my life that gave me courage and strength to go on. 

5.) Accept the reality that there will always be people that hurt you, don’t understand you or wrong you.
They may be your own family, or even people who believe in Jesus. Accept that they are on their own way, just like you. NO human being is perfect. Bless them, engage a way of life that decides to enter the school of forgiving and go on.

  1. ) It is great to get help along the way.
    Psychologists, therapeutics, Christian counselors, pastors or any other people who are there to help you. My life got changed because of people, who helped me turn around my life with lots of know-how, investment and professionalism.
    However, they are human beings too, with weaknesses and blind spots. Don’t build your life around them. Center your life around Jesus, and the truth the Bible says about you and about Himself. 

7.) You will be hurt, you will be disappointed.
However, you too, will hurt and disappoint people along the way. So learn how to be gracious – toward yourself and toward those who want to help you.

 

  1. ) Cling to the truth that God wants your freedom even more than you do.
    This is such an important point to me: The whole process of maturity brings up our humanity. We get to know ourselves, we get to know others. Truth is, God was aware of humanity in us long ago. And he loves you anyway. He is the one who made you beautifully and he wants to go the process with you. Cling to it – even in moments when you feel like you’ve been let down.
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The process can be very hard. While in it, you may not even see the progress, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. But then, suddenly, you realize how things have become different. Suddenly you’re looking back and you realize how things have changed. More and more, you start to enjoy the fruit your change has brought into your life. You start to see the beauty in place of the ashes. And this is the moment you realize that it has all been worth it.

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