Denial – Part 1
- The definition of denial is: “Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something; typically motivated by self-protection.”
- The lies of our past blind us to things that really do exist, while at the same time causing us to see things that aren’t there.
- The most difficult thing about recovery is seeing things as they really are… and were. This means pulling off the filter, peeling back the masks, and getting into the raw layers of what our experience up to this point has really been.
- While it may sound scary, it can be summed up in one word – TRUTH. Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NIV).
- We avoid the very truth that can bring the freedom we so desperately need. We often create a reality of how we wish things would be (a fantasy bond), or we cover over things through our skills of compensation (Equal and Opposite principle).
- The distortion of reality is a safety net that allows us to hide behind a façade that states, “Everything is fine.” It creates an illusion, a false impression, which may seem to satisfy the approval of others, but leaves us barely hanging on.
- Denial blinds us from living the life God intends for us. Satan knows that as long as we don’t believe (or admit) that a problem exists, we will never be able to find a solution. He will use whatever forces possible to keep us in denial.
Ways We Participate in Our Own Denial
- We deny the way others have hurt us.
- We deny who Christ says we really are.
- We deny the unhealthy behaviors of others.
- We deny our own sinful, hurtful behaviors.
- We deny our own feelings.
- We deny the imbalance of our relationships.
Freedom from Denial
Being able to expose and dispose of denial is a foundational and necessary ingredient for any change to take place and for freedom to be found. There comes a point when the issue must be addressed properly for healing to take place, and the only safe and effective way for this to occur is alongside Jesus. Certainly, a skilled human counselor can provide guidance, but only the True Counselor can extract those deeper and more traumatizing situations and uncover the true impact.
We are made in the image of our Creator. We have been formed and hand designed by Him, with uniqueness, giftedness, significance, and worth. God desires to remove the things keeping us from fully being that person. Going through the process restores us to our original design.
What God Says About You:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for harm, to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head” (Psalm 139:1-5 NLT).
Just as we need to uncover forms of denial that conceal the events and things that happened to us, we must also recognize the neglect of our God-given needs. People can hurt us by what they do to us; they can also hurt us by what they don’t do. For many of us, a root of abandonment, neglect, and rejection is responsible for our wounds.
As human beings, our souls have three critical, yet basic, needs
Belonging. The need to be known and loved (the Affection element of the temperament).
Competence. The need to be accepted for what we do (the Control element of the temperament).
Acceptance. The need to have significance (the Inclusion element of the temperament).
Children who grew up in shame-based homes may never have had these needs met, or they were met in unhealthy, ungodly ways through false messages of what it meant to be loved, accepted, and significant. In some families, having your needs met is considered to be selfish. Children grow up to believe that their basic needs are wrong, causing them to learn to cope by themselves. This creates the cycle of denial that anything is actually going on.
When we’ve had unmet needs in childhood, we must recognize and grieve what we lost. Today we have new choices. We don’t have to continue down destructive paths, trying to replace the things we lost or missed. By grieving over our losses (allowing ourselves to actually feel what we feel), we can move on in a healthy way and ask God to make up for our unmet needs. If we ignore and stay in denial of those needs, we unknowingly continue trying ineffectively to replace what was lost.
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