It is not coincidental that many experience trauma at an early age or time when they are most vulnerable. Harms that we encounter, whether through abuse, neglect, or other trauma, have potential to impact us in significant ways. Those outcomes are felt and experienced in life’s tender stages and transitions. They appear to work against us at the occurrence, and further saddle us with negative mindsets as we grow and mature.
Through it all, a greater truth is at work. God upcycles our worst, causing experiences to work cooperatively for our good and His glory. When we yield to this truth’s internal work, the Holy Spirit activates the Father’s plan for redemption.
Regardless with how devastating our experiences may be, God is able to release transforming light into the darkness of trauma’s effects. Thereby, revealing that our circumstances neither had nor will eclipse God’s healing power in and through us.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28, NIV
Understanding limiting beliefs.
Trauma and accompanying shame rewires our minds with a negative bent. Unresolved pain from harmful experiences distorts our perception. It filters the quality of our thoughts and the nature of our feelings, further presenting itself through dysfunctional behaviors and interactions with God, ourselves, and others.
Negatively-tinged agreements that we form and assert as truth limit our view of our capacity. We don’t realize that such beliefs restrict us to concur that something is “always” or “never” true or possible, based on a single or a few encounters over countless life experiences.
They urge us to unilaterally superimpose the lens of pain. For example, limiting beliefs often lead with extremes, from a skewed view that “everyone, everything, always, and never” exist as absolute, non-negotiable truths.
Challenging limiting beliefs.
While this may reveal facts surrounding past trauma and injury, it does not reveal the entirety of the truth, especially when we need to consider the comprehensive nature of God’s heart and intention toward His beloved. Much of that requires the involvement of a counseling professional to unpack the box of memories, thoughts, feelings, and experiences that have held us captive to confining beliefs.
When we lead our thought lives from a past of pain, we continue to stumble in woundedness. Welcoming the Healer to touch the brokenness within invites His anointing that binds up the fractured places of the soul.
Under the safety of His nurture, we encounter the freedom that releases us from the prison-like holds of limiting beliefs. It requires the collaborative work of the Holy Spirit, along with insightful counselors, to illuminate where we have agreed with the lies and limitations that darken our path and perspective.
Yet, even here in the shadows, the Holy Spirit reveals glimmers of possibility we may be tempted to dismiss.
- What if we broke through the box of limitations?
- What if we emerged, daring to believe that God was truly in our cheering section, and that He was actually speaking His hopes through our hearts’ longings?
- What if we chose to believe that, in submission to Him, our plans for fulfillment actually revealed another facet of God’s highest and best, the Father’s own Heart and desire for us?
Consider the following verse, as it provides another way to approach the thoughts that generate limiting beliefs:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8, NASB 2020
Imagine this Scripture above as a filter to walk through the limiting beliefs that have sought to dominate your mind and heart space. What if you challenged limiting beliefs by asking yourself the following questions:
- Is it true?
- Is it honorable?
- Is it right?
- Is it pure?
- Is it lovely?
- Is it commendable?
- Is it excellent or praiseworthy?
Dismantling the lies of limitation.
While it may hurt more to hope and challenge the limiting beliefs that have encased themselves around our experience, they provide a false safety. Our enemy wants us to partner with limitation to prevent us from advancing with God into who we were truly created to be.
He assaults our identity, attacking our perception of our worth. He tempts us to agree, shifting focus on certain negative aspects of our life experiences so that we don’t recognize where God’s truth points to a higher reality. When we chew on those contaminated lies, we choke on poison and undermine the world of possibility that is waiting to be released from within.
The following are examples of limiting beliefs:
- I will never be happy.
- Everything always goes wrong in my life.
- No one will ever want to date/marry/be friends with me.
- I will never have a good relationship with my spouse/children/siblings/parents.
Realize that all limiting beliefs stifle present power and our potential, and you have the ability to break through that stronghold. They over-generalize, claiming that we will never have what we value, need, or want in terms of relationship, achievement, or experience. In fact, much of what we desire is the overflow of our Father’s heart.
He causes us to long for meaningful connection, primarily with Him, and to experience that through fellowship with other human beings, a thriving involvement in our community, satisfying work that utilizes our gifts and skills, while honoring Him and refreshing ourselves and others. We can experience the truth of that, but we must partner with Jesus Christ, the Person of the Truth, in order to do so.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6, NIV
Unlimited and unleashed.
In fact, God’s Word urges us to choose either life or death. At Creation, God modeled the power of the Voice to establish reality. He’s equipped us to do the same, declaring “let there be light” in our own areas of perceived limitation. He is a gentle Father who has lovingly given us free will.
He will not overstep the boundary we have circumscribed with limiting beliefs, even if it means that we don’t actively possess all that He’s made available. He will honor the words we speak and the partnership we’ve formed with low faith and limitation, though He wants immeasurably more.
Limiting beliefs negatively script our self-talk. When we understand, challenge, and dismantle the lies masquerading as eternal truth, we detect the fingerprints of an age-old enemy who has sought to destroy and undermine the image of God from before time. He feeds on feelings of powerlessness, which can surface when we are wounded, angry, sad, or frustrated.
We may be ready to blurt out what’s in our hearts and minds, but this is exactly when the enemy wants because he knows our words creatively fuel our realities. He seeks to prey on our emotionally-charged moments, entrap us with negative scripts, and erect a concrete fortress around the future of our possibility.
What would happen instead if we considered those moments as an invitation to bring our feelings and childlike vulnerability back to Jesus? Prayer and presence represent where we can surrender our deepest hurt to the Holy Spirit, who comforts and connects with us in our pain. It is there that He intersects our pain with purpose and the hurt with healing.
Is there any wonder why the enemy wants to drain our hope and distract us with the lies that feed and reinforce negative beliefs? He can’t subvert God’s promise, but he can persuade us to sabotage ourselves. He twists the fact of circumstance, suggesting that something is “always or never” true, based on a constant focus on limitation and inaccurate perception, instead of the Person and process of our healing, with Jesus and other counselors.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:32, NIV
While we may have experienced the negative impacts of limiting beliefs in our lives, it is important to recognize that there is a greater truth to embrace. God loves us and has potential for us to explore with Him, but He also wants to heal those places where negative experiences have issued a deficit in our souls.
We need to invest in our present and future selves by properly unpacking limiting beliefs and the painful past that has brought us to where we are physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
You will need a guide. You will need a counselor. Not only the Holy Spirit, but also in a professional who will empathize and encourage you in this next step of your purpose journey. Reach out today, as counseling supports you with understanding, challenging, and effectively dismantling limiting beliefs.
This is one of many steps to walk purposefully in what God has planted in your dream field. The hope of your blossoming future is as near as your decision to change your present, beginning with trading the limiting thoughts out to positive ones, brimming with possibility.
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