CHILDHOOD ABUSE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
By Reverend Sherri L. Board, M.A.
I just read a really good book. It’s called, “Healing for Damaged Emotions” by David A. Seamands. Before reading it, I had not realized the tremendous healing power that the Holy Spirit has on our damaged emotions or the ways in which we prevent the Spirit from reaching them.
What are a few examples of damaged emotions? The greatest is damaged self-esteem. Seamands says, “ … Satan uses this deadliest [low self-esteem] of all of his emotional and psychological weapons, to bring defeat and failure into your life,” p. 49. Another example would be perfectionism: the constant feeling of never quite measuring up. Seamands tells us that one cause of perfectionism is having a parent or parents who could never be pleased. The child may develop a “false-self” that develops in order to survive and please the parent(s). Seamands offers some advice here: “The perfectionist needs to learn to be his true self in Christ,” p. 102. And a third damaged emotion … depression.
I think that these are two of the best things that I have ever heard regarding depression: 1) “Christians can be depressed,” p. 112. 2) “Did you ever think that perhaps your depression is God’s built-in cruise control for your life?” p. 123. It is fantastic to tie depression to the Bible looking at the writings of King David and Jonah and even Christ himself. Fifty-plus years on this planet and reading the Bible throughout, I never saw these men as experiencing depression. This connection takes the insanity out of depression and inputs humanity. Thank you, Lord. It’s normal!
Surely, to think of depression as a sort of cruise control for one’s life is brilliant. And why not listen to one’s depression in this fashion? Look to it as a sort of warning light that goes off on your mind’s dashboard. For example, if one gets depressed after seeing a family member, the depression could be a sign to see them less, if at all. The light goes off. We take notice. We act accordingly.
Here’s where the healing power of the Holy Spirit comes in. We have discussed areas that hinder the Spirit from entering one’s being: a low self-esteem, perfectionism, and depression. Becoming conscious of these infirmities is the first step in opening one’s self to the healing properties of the Spirit. When we do this, we “ … allow the Holy Spirit to work with special healing in our own hurts and confusions,” p.13. We have to open the door to let the worker in. And as one begins to replace negative influences with the positive reinforcement of the Bible for example, the Holy Spirit may begin to heal in such a way that they could not do on their own. It is a belief. It is a letting-go of sorts. It is the undeniable belief that, “The Holy Spirit knows where to tinker,” p. 23.
I just might sleep with the “Healing for Damaged Emotions” under my pillow for a while. I just might have to keep it in my purse throughout the day so its pages permeate my being. That way, by God’s grace, I can be one of Seamands’ “Healed Helpers.” He writes, “I challenge you to enter the healing process, so that you can lift your head high as a son or a daughter of God Himself,” p. 75. I’m up for his dare. Are you?