Graze: To feed on growing grasses.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

-Ps. 23:1-6

Growing up on a farm, I used to watch the cows, sheep & horses graze in the pasture. Each morning we would open the gate to the barnyard and they knew there was freedom from that small pen they were in. They also knew there was nice green grass beyond the barnyard. Once the gate was open, look out because those animals wanted to get where the tall, green grass grew – the pasture! They would take off sometimes even running up the old fenced lane that went up over the hill through the cornfield to the lush green pasture on the other side of the farm. There they would graze for a while then lay down and rest for a while then graze some more. They did this all day long. Come evening we would go over to the pasture’s edge and call the cows – 'come boss, 'come boss. They would gather at the pasture gate. Sometimes we would have to go round up a few stragglers and when all were accounted for, we’d open the lane gate and back over the hill they would go to the barnyard for the night. The next morning was the same routine, day after day.
What a life, huh?!

Oh that we could just graze and rest in shady green pastures all day long! But we can rest and graze in God’s green pastures and restore our souls . . . The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. (Ps. 23:1) I believe God wants us to slow down and “rest” and “graze” and “feed” on His Word. Life throws so many things our way and we are so busy – busy doing good things. But are we running on empty a good share of the time? Are we feeling stretched to extreme? Are we content with who we are in God’s divine providence? Slow down and take some time to just leisurely graze, rest a while, then graze and feed on the good things God has provided for you. Graze, rest, and enjoy the “shady green pastures” of God’s abundant love, grace, and mercy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

7 Deadly Signs - Red Flags of Abuse

Know the 7 Deadly Signs and the red flags of abuse in a relationship, and exercise your options.

HELPLESSNESS - Helplessness often results when one partner assumes full control over the relationship and attacks the other partner’s competence. One person makes all the decisions. That person does not hesitate to ridicule or criticize the other in public and in private. Words like “stupid,” “ignorant,” or “incompetent ” are common.

ANXIETY - The abusing partner offers no reassurance, stability, or commitment. It is impossible to predict either the behavior or the feelings of the abusing partner or of the relationship. It may be characterized by the “off-again, on-again” pattern or by the abusing partner being frequently unavailable. Actions that produce pleasure one day may provoke verbal or even physical abuse the next.

HOSTILITY - Hostility typically takes the form of aggression, anger, rage and irritability.” The abused person responds in kindness to the partner’s behavior, either openly or privately. The open hostility would be characterized by a raised voice, hurtful or angry words, or accusations against the partner. Private hostility includes such things as hidden resentment, plotted revenge, and private negative fantasies. The hostility may also be internalized as guilt or anger.

FRUSTRATION - Frustration results when the abusing partner fails to satisfy needs for affection, intimacy, attention, acceptance, approval, reassurance, praise, or any other emotional need. No matter how hard the partner tries to please the other, it never is enough. They will praise others but never mention your own achievements. They “work the room” but leave you standing alone in the corner.

CYNICISM - Any action which constitutes a betrayal or abuse of trust is likely to result in cynicism. Obviously having an affair with another person fits into this category. Additionally, patterns of borrowing money which is never repaid, making promises which are seldom kept, or sharing information given in confidence will likely produce cynicism.

LOSS OF SELF-ESTEEM - This sign includes feelings of diminished self-worth, inadequacy, negative self-image, reduced self-confidence, and deterioration of self-respect, with associated depression. Choosing to remain in a relationship in which a person feels devalued inevitably leads to increased loss of self-esteem.

Loss of self-esteem happens through a cycle of faulty logic: First, you recognize that you are in a relationship in which you feel unloved, unworthy, and mistreated. That you would choose such a relationship causes you to doubt your judgment. You try to “fix” it by changing yourself or your partner, but when that doesn’t work you conclude that you not only have poor judgment, you also are inept at relationship skills. Thus, you reason that “people get what they deserve,” and since you are being treated badly, you must deserve it. Obviously, then, the only thing for you to do is to accept the treatment since you “don’t deserve nor could hope for a better relationship.

HOPELESSNESS - Hopelessness usually results after numerous vain attempts to communicate the need for a change, with the partner ignoring all approaches. A person who recognizes a lack of responsiveness in their partner can be warned from the beginning that the relationship is developing in an unhealthy manner and there is likely trouble ahead.    (Life Skills International)

Look for any of these "red flags" and do not take them lightly.  There are ways out of this kind of situation. Personalize the conviction that you do not have to tolerate abusive behavior. Seek help from a friend, a pastor, a counselor - but do not ignore these important signs in your relationships.

1 comment:

  1. You have the song "You are my hiding place". I was married to an abusive man and when I finally left, this song kept me alive emotionally as I sought the Lord for renewed strength. I bought the CD accompaniment, locked myself in the bathroom and sang it over and over until I was delivered from the overwhelming and debilitating fear I would often experience. ~Lynn Cannon