Respecting Denial

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It’s really hard to talk to someone who already knows everything—much less help them. People are entitled to their own lenses of denial. I’ve actually learned to respect them over time, because if someone doesn’t want to do the hard work to get unstuck, there’s not much I can do to help them. Other than pray of course.

Even in prayer I try to tread carefully because manipulative prayer is NOT godly and God certainly does not need to be coached on how to do His job. So I’ll often pray something like this:

“Father, show them how much you love them. Heal what is broken and show them what you want them to see right now.”

But let’s be real. The benefits of staying stuck often outweigh the desire to get free. Freedom takes WORK. Staying stuck is painful yah—but it’s familiar pain. New things are scary. New pain is unpredictable.

Changing mindsets and learned behaviors is tough. And if a person already knows everything…or if a Christian already knows everything about God—then why come searching for help?

I am reminded again of one of our culture’s definitions of insanity:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Insanity? Maybe. But that for SURE sounds like denial to me. Like maybe if I just keep doing MORE of the same thing, or maybe if I just do it harder and faster—you know, add a little obsessive-compulsive factor into the mix, maybe THEN it will change and actually work.

Besides, why should I try something new? This is already totally-not-working REALLY well. And I’m super good at it.

I experienced this denial dynamic the other day. I was praying for a woman who had come to me because she was stuck. Life had beaten her down. She was battling multiple things including childhood trauma, probable soul fracturing, tough current circumstances, and lots of warring but unrecognized emotions from within.

I could hear her feelings of grief, rejection, and abandonment, as well as judgment against others pouring out of her mouth.

It was so sad. 

I kind of knew going into the conversation that this would just be a time of giving her dignity and listening to her story. I FELT the demonic stuff she was carrying around with her. I knew I could pray some of it off of her temporarily. But I also knew that once she left and re-engaged with those same mindsets, agreements and behaviors—that the demonic stuff had every right to reattach.

I tried anyway to reach her heart—because I’ve seen God do amazing things. I’ve seen the God of supernatural intervention in action, the God who knows how to get through the ONE crack in a person’s armor.

So I usually expect Him to do something rad or at least to teach me something new. 

I just try to follow the clues along the way and go where He leads, listening quietly the whole time in case He tosses me any words of knowledge that might help the process.

But I’m definitely past the point of trying to be anyone’s savior anymore—though I definitely used to have that mentality. I used to believe that I COULD help fix every person that crossed my path.

It’s so laughable now as I actually type that out—like talk about an OVER-exaggerated ego.

Nowadays, when someone crosses my path, I approach it more as a wait-and-see interaction. I recognize when God brings someone into my daily path, but I no longer approach these relational pop-ups with a codependent mindset.

It’s more like—Okay, God. What’s up? What’s my small part to play in this moment? What piece do I have that they need right now?

So that’s how I approached this person who came to me for help. I welcomed her into conversation and just listened to her story. And boy did it spill out. In about ten minutes, I heard story after traumatic story pour out of those internal wells of pain.

I brought compassion and empathy to the table. But after that, I tried suggesting a few tools. She had come to me to get unstuck after all. Unfortunately, it was to no avail—each attempt got promptly blocked.

My first attempt was offering her a strategy for a relationship dynamic she had mentioned. “Oh no”, she responded. “We’re doing just fine.”

So I moved on and tried another angle, addressing a different topic in which she had requested help. I asked a couple data-gathering questions to look for patterns. Had she ever prayed through generational dynamics? “Oh no”, she countered. “I don’t believe in that.”

Okay, moving on.

Then I very gently tried to address the trauma dynamics. Had she ever seen a counselor to address it? “No, but I’m not still dealing with that.”

Okay…but your pain and stories are crying out otherwise.

At one point, her denial stepped aside and I finally heard an honest answer in response to one of my questions. “No, I haven’t tried doing that”, she said. “But that would take work.”

I agreed with her—Yep. That would definitely take proactive intention and work. It wouldn’t be easy.

I felt for her. I really did. I totally understood the comfort of the pain and the self-pity. Staying in Victimville had it’s perks. I’d lived there for a time myself. But after a while it just got old. And when the pain became too intense, I was finally motivated enough to seek out new tools to leverage change.

I hoped she’d get there too. 

Pain IS such a great motivator for change—if a person chooses to use it as such.

We ended our conversation together with prayer. I blessed her, prayed some of that oppressive junk off of her, and asked the Father for more spiritual clarity for her to see and receive His strategies in this current season.

She walked away in a more peaceful atmosphere for sure—while still clinging tightly to her previous spiritual construct of self-deliverance.

She had high hopes that if she just put greater effort into the things that HADN’T worked before that she could climb out of that pit.

Maybe if she just tried a little harder….

Nova

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2 thoughts on “Respecting Denial

  1. Megan Caldecourt says:

    What is also sad to see is that denial doesn’t stay isolated. It leaks over into other areas, maybe even those that you didn’t need to consciously deny, and then you have the mesmerizing spirit on top of that … So, I guess in all our lives we need to have the courage to pray for God to bring the right kind of pain to motivate us to get out of our stuck places!

    Liked by 1 person

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