...we always choose what we value most, even when our choice does us harm. We won’t change our behavior until we first recognize what we value most deeply and then honestly face how our passions reinforce what we really believe. We can change our beliefs, but doing so won’t alter our behavior until our beliefs transform our values. We can change what we do, but the changes won’t last if our values and convictions are not transformed. Each of us can begin the process of transformation by wrestling with these questions:
• What moves me most deeply?
• What do I most enjoy doing?
• Where do I find the greatest pleasure and joy?
• What is it about this activity, idea, or person that brings me such a sense of life?
Truth Be Told Dan Allender
More than anything else I want to understand the reasons why I gave my heart away to a manipulator. Because I never want to do it again. Whether I like to acknowledge it or not something was broken in my own value system that I was led astray so easily by him.
Dan asks the question what moves me most deeply. Right now its the grace and mercy of God. He forgave me and is rebuilding our family and our lives and I am so grateful. I spend the majority of my time reading about grace and listening to sermons. I cannot hear enough of the truth that God loves me.
I was moved by the grace and mercy of God before, too, but rather than out of gratitude many times it was to justify behavior with a man who I thought was what I needed. What moved me the most was this man’s acceptance and love for me. Why did I value his attention so much? It was something I believed that I needed, because I’d never had it in a relationship with my own father. I wanted so desperately to experience love from another human being. I’d built up walls and kept others out. He drew me out from behind my walls with promises of love and affection. He told me I was special that I meant something to him. But I learned what he had to offer was really bad for me. There was never enough affirmation or love and he was like a drug that I just required more and more of.
The next question Dan asks is what do I enjoy doing? That’s a tough one for me. I feel like my friend who had just gotten out of rehab a while back and who said her addiction had depleted her of all her desires. My addiction to this man depleted my desire. Just when I thought I was going to get it back and told the truth about everything then the trauma of dealing with the whole mess took on a life of its own and hasn’t left much room for desire. The things I enjoy now are going on a walk with my husband and talking, getting a hug from my kids, talking to my counselor and hearing an encouraging sermon. When the friends I still have call me it gives me a tremendous amount of enjoyment. There’s so much more I wish I could enjoy and I’m praying with time I’ll develop more things to desire.
Where do my biggest pleasure and joy come from? At times, that’s hard for me to see. However, before the truth came out and I lost my job I found great pleasure and joy working at the church and encouraging others. I found great pleasure in being with my friends and having good conversation. I experienced joy singing with others. The one desire that has kept me going is writing. It is my one sanity that gives me a sense of purpose. I love the sense that in some way God is using me to bring good to another’s life. It was and is a purpose I long for. I think I’d believed most of my life that all I could bring out of people was bad things, but when I’m actually able to encourage someone this lie loses its voice in my life.
These activities confirm to me that God has a purpose for me and its for good and not for evil. Its to bring encouragement and joy to others and not more pain. It’s the hope I long for more than anything. Because it kills the lie that told me I was worthless.
As I was writing this I read my fellow blogger’s, Betternotbroken, post called Five Reasons You are Controlled by Others.
In it she says often people are controlled because:
4. It has become part of your mask, your own ego, and thus very hard to eliminate.
You mistake tough for strong. You confuse enduring pain for worthwhile sacrifice and believe you have an elevated moral character because of it. I guarantee you that if you come to take pleasure in pain, perhaps because as a child you had to but could not escape, you will reach a point with an abusive person where t he pain breaks you. When this happens, you will get your chance at freedom. Take it and leave the ego, your false self where you took on pain like a martyr or, behind and leave sainthood for the saints.
My fellow blogger is right on. I valued my relationship with my abuser, because I believed it was all that I deserved. But when the pain got to be too much, I realized God had something much better for me and I got out. How I thank Him that He led me out of that place to a place where my heart could truly find a home. A place where I’ll never be harmed again. A place where He only desires my good.
Dan says we always choose what we value most, and I realize I can rest better, because my values have changed. In have found my one and only treasure.
And My heart is with Him.
Matthew19-21 ESV says, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.