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The Power of Self-Examination

To listen to this Podcast- click here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/2324960/14951739

 

Today, I want to share with you the importance of self-exploration.   Sometimes, we must dive into our pasts to uncover the truth and see how circumstances, events, choices, and relationships impact and influence how we see ourselves, others, and, most importantly, how we see God.



 

Unlike my last episode, this one deals with God the Father and how I discovered I was a Bambino.

 

This is a rather long story, but I hope you will bear with me until the end, as this is a powerful lesson for everyone. 

 

OK- this time, my lesson and freedom began with a book recommendation.   I was attending a women's Bible study, and on this particular evening, I felt compelled to be vulnerable and share how, earlier in the week, I had an attack of depression. It came out of nowhere. After dinner, I was just overwhelmed with this intense, deep sorrow, crying for no reason and speaking lies over myself- that I was useless- worthless. That I had not accomplished anything that day. To the point, I found myself on my bedroom floor sobbing and asking the Lord what was going on- that I knew I had no reason to feel way.   Eventually, I calmed down and just lay there until I heard, "You are mine, and I am yours."    God was saying to me that I am enough just because He says so. It doesn't matter what I accomplish or what I don't. That isn't where my truth- my worth comes from. That He loves me- I belong to Him, and He belongs to me.

 

At the end of the study, this woman approached me, saying, "I hope you won't be offended, but I have something to say about what you shared earlier."   Of course, when someone begins with "don't be offended," I naturally brace for the offense.   This is what she tells me-   "Noelle, that was a spiritual attack, and I believe you have an orphan stronghold operating in your life. ” Then she wrote down the name of a book and the author and encouraged me to explore it. 

 

  That book was “You’re My Bambino by Rob Gross.”  

 

I had no idea what she was talking about- never in my life have I had the term "orphan spirit or orphan stronghold."    I didn’t see myself as an orphan and thought the whole exchange was odd! 

 

But, I must admit I was intrigued by her boldness. So, I went home and ordered the book.    It arrived and set with my book collection for a few months. 

 

Until one day, I picked it up to at least read the front and back to get some understanding of what the book was about.   The front said-  “You’re My Bambino- From Dysfunction to Destiny.   The back read- “An orphan stronghold- that sure doesn't sound too good does it? But what is it, and how does it affect me? Armed with first-hand knowledge of one who has been there and done that, Rob Gross illustrates the subject with his own personal journey. The story of how he transitioned from a life characterized by depression and dysfunction to one of wholeness and freedom as God's bambino captures our attention and answers our questions. Additionally, it is a message of hope that demonstrates how one can experience dramatic healing within family relationships; and even shows how we can contribute to the healing of our land. Ideal for either individual or group study, You're My Bambino not only offers a clear understanding of how childhood wounds may have caused us to feel and act like orphans, but also provides self-diagnostic tools, prayers, and tips about how to break free of the stronghold.” 

 

After reading this, I was still like, "What the heck- this has nothing to do with me!"   What childhood wounds? I don’t feel or act like an orphan!   

 

Yet when I randomly opened the book, I couldn’t believe it because in the middle of this random page- the words leaped out at me. Describing me to a tee– a perfectionist and burden bearer who believes they are responsible for everyone around them. The entire passage was like a slap to my face because I couldn’t deny it – it was like it was written just for me! That section was about "parental inversion," when a child relinquishes their childhood to function like a parent.   At this point, I knew I had to read this book! 

 

Let me tell you something: that book was so eye-opening. By the time I was done reading it, I couldn't deny that I was indeed an orphan needing freedom from this mindset! I learned that influences from my childhood distorted my view of myself and my understanding of God the Father and my relationship with Him!   Most of those influences stem from the family dynamics, specifically from parental figures or lack thereof.

 

As I mentioned in my first episode, I had a somewhat uncommon beginning. I was born in the early 70’s, a time when being an unwed young mother was seen as a disgrace, especially in the deep South. Thus, my mom was shipped off to Washington, DC, to live with my grandfather so that she could give birth to me in secrecy. The plan was adoption with no biological father or marriage in the picture.   Thus, my life began without the initial benefit of bonding with my mother because she was forced to leave me with the adoption agency for some time. By the grace of a compassionate grandfather, he convinced my grandmother that they needed to help my mother and not allow this adoption to go through. So, for the first few years of my life, I lived with my grandparents in Washington, insulated from a family and community that may have initially viewed me with disdain.   It wasn’t until I was five that my mom got married, and my stepfather legally adopted me. My name was changed, and I officially had a dad. 

 

Unfortunately, life with a mom and dad came to an end when I was eleven, with my mom leaving for a time and divorce being the outcome.   This is where I took on a parental role to care for my much younger sisters.

 

Now, I may not have started life with a biological father. Still, God provided so many wonderful male role models that I honestly felt it didn't matter, and a father from the start wasn't necessary. Heck, it wasn't until I was 24 years old that I even learned the full story of my beginning and was able to locate my biological father! (This is a whole different story I won't get into today! )

 

Nevertheless, despite my beginnings and the divorce, I still believed that my life was good overall. I was loved and cared for and an overcomer-  taking the lemons and making lemonade!     Believing that I had no scars.   

 

But that wasn't 100% true- there were plenty of scars; I didn't recognize them and certainly didn't understand that I had an orphan mindset, which according to Rob Gross, "is a mindset that has been shaped by disappointments, rejections, hurts, and the absence of parental instruction.  At its deepest level, the orphan stronghold is a "wall of protection" fueled by lies that a person has unconsciously built around their heart so that they never get hurt again."   

 

If that wasn’t enough, I had many of the characteristics of an orphan mindset --  super sensitive, easily offended, never feeling a sense of belonging, struggling with fear and insecurity, quick to withdraw and shut down when hurt. Perfection and achievements are needed to earn favor and love. But the worst is the struggle to hear God’s voice!     

 

It was like a light bulb finally turned on, and I realized that for 50 years, I've had this orphan spirit operating in my life! And that this wall that I had constructed was based on hurts and lies.   The wall that was supposed to protect me was hurting my ability to connect with and embrace my Heavenly Father!    

 

MY MIND WAS BLOWN!

 

You might be saying, Wow, that stinks for you, but I'm all good over here.   And maybe that is true, or you are like me- unable to see things clearly. Because an orphan mindset can happen even for those who had loving earthly fathers in their lives.   

 

So, if you let me, I'd like to walk you through six (6) ways earthly fathers misrepresent God’s love and lies come in...

 

Absent Father

o   We are going to start with The Absent Father. This is the father, who wasn't there in every sense of the word. Abandoned the family and had a minimal role.   He may not have been present if he hadn't completely abandoned the family because of work, obligations, and events. This is the dad who missed the important events in his child’s life.

 

An absent father tells us the LIE that God isn’t really there for us.

 

Authoritarian Father

o   Next, we have the Authoritarian Father.   He's all about the rules. You don't question him, and He expects immediate obedience. Control is his thing, and He is short on compassion.   It is his way or the highway!

 

An authoritarian father teaches us the LIE that God is harsh, rigid, and not interested in relationship.

 

Abusive Father

o   This one is a doozy. The Abusive Father.   The harm is committed through sexual, verbal, or physical abuse.   Addiction to drugs or alcohol might been in play. Neglect and mistreatment were present. 

 

-       The abusive father shouts the LIE- that God cannot be trusted!

 

Passive Father

o   Now the Passive Father.   This is the dad that is home but not really home.   He's all about himself and rarely makes time for anyone else.   He has difficulty showing physical affection and doesn't share his feelings.

 

-The passive father tells the LIE that God is distant, and His love is just talk.

 

Performance Oriented Father

o   The Performance-Oriented Father, on the other hand, is the dad who has super high expectations.   Success and achievement are king. He gives praise and love only when expectations have been met. Quick to point out flaws and quick to judge.

 

-The performance father tells the LIE that he must earn God's love & may never achieve it. 

 

Good Father

o   Lastly, we have the Good Father. Maybe you were lucky and had one. But, even with good dads- life happens.   A good dad can still disappoint with unintentional hurts and unkept promises.   Or he might have died at an early age or suffered a terrible accident that left him unable to be the father needed.

 

-       In these scenarios, this could teach the LIE- that it's all God's fault.

 

In these examples, we see an imperfect view of God and His love demonstrated by earthly fathers.  

 

Did you see your childhood in any of these? 

 

Let me go one step further and ask if you can relate to any of these clues of an orphan mindset.  

 

1.   Can you relate to being a Lone Ranger?    A person who doesn’t like to accept help from others?   You stubbornly prefer to do things your way, believing “if you want it done right- you must do it yourself?”

 

2.   What about the Mouse on a Wheel?    You find it challenging to rest and be still-  always going, going, going like the Energizer Bunny.   Feeling love and validation come from your accomplishments.

 

3.   How about the Faultfinder?    You are quick to see imperfections and faults in others.   Typically, you had a fault-finding parent who was swift to criticize.

 

4.   Maybe the Doormat? You struggle to have healthy relationships and boundaries.   Always being hurt and taken advantage of- going from one toxic relationship to another? 

 

5.   Can you relate to being the Silent One?   You find it difficult to express your feelings to your loved ones. You also find it hard to hear from your heavenly father. 

 

6.   What about a Controlling Wife?   Women can become controlling in their homes because they grew up in a home where the mother led the family because the father relinquished his authority as the spiritual leader. 

 

7.   Lastly, can you relate to the Oblivious One? This one is challenging because you are unaware of your wounds because your parents didn't do anything obvious-  it was inflicted due to their absence. Their lack of parenting caused you to have to figure out how to do life on your own. You had to grow up way too fast!

 

I saw much of my life and myself in the pages of this book.

 

Maybe something I've shared today spoke to you, and you might be questioning if you also have an orphan mindset.  

 

Here’s what I want to be sure you hear, first and foremost-  IT’S OK.   You are OK!   

 

We live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people. Even those who had "good earthly fathers" still face loss, downs, and hurts.    We are ALL a work in progress, with “Under Construction” written on our foreheads!  

 

Ladies, we can be healed, we can be set free, we can move from an orphan spirit to a spirit of adoption. Romans 8:14-16 tells us:

 

"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him wecry, “Abba, Father.” 

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 

 

Further, John 8:34-36 tells us:

 

"Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

 

It truly is possible to tear down that wall and have nothing in the way that hinders God from working in your life. I know because I experienced it.   I was able to release and forgive my mom and my biological father. I was able to forgive mistakes and poor choices from my adoptive dad. I was able to forgive my parents for their divorce. And I was able to repent and forgive myself for the years I spent trying to parent my sisters!

 

Now, it wasn't a quick one-step process. It's taken time because God really knows how much we can handle, and when the timing is perfect, we can recognize and receive His loving interventions.  It really is a process.   

 

For me, I read and re-read the Bambino Book.   I led at least three women's bible studies with this book, helping other women recognize this orphan stronghold and break free.  You know what, every single woman who attended that Bible study class and dove into this book we all saw that we all had a touch of this orphan mindset despite our very different childhoods and experiences.  I also went through a healing ministry based on the book Freedom Advance by Diane Tarring, which was incredibly helpful and powerful.   And I’ve even gone through one-on-one prayer sessions with a trusted spiritual mentor.   All of these have helped me to release the hurt, the lies, the bitterness, the unforgiveness, and my distorted views of myself and God.

 

And I'm here to tell you that if you heard anything in my message today that resonated with you- God can heal and free you, too!!     

 

You have to be willing to say "Yes! I no longer want anything in my life that keeps me from you, Lord!" 

 

Don’t be afraid, and don’t let pride stop you from doing your own self-exploration.  It is so powerful!   

 

To help,  I’ve listed out reference links in the show notes to the resources I mentioned in this episode, and I will be praying for each person who has heard this message that if there is any healing needed in your lives, you will turn to God and healing will be accomplished in the mighty name of Jesus!

 

Remember, Ladies, God is no receptor of persons- what He has done for me, He will do for you!

 

 

 

 

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