Posted by: JennyRain | July 22, 2010

Unspoken Rules

I grew up in a household where there were three unspoken rules:

Don’t talk
Don’t feel
Don’t ask for help

Now I say this not to blame my parents.

One, because they read my blog daily – hi mom and dad! But even if they were not regular readers, I do not say this to “blame” or “accuse” – as that does not help anyone’s healing process.

Two, my parents had been raised with similar unspoken rules. Often, no matter how hard we try to create a different environment than the one we were raised in… we end up replicating it anyway.

In many ways, my parents were maturing even as I was.

They were searching, growing, and discovering their own identities. Some of the unintended fallout from their search was my developing heart and spirit.

There were days when I felt like the invisible kid.

I’d be in a room, but not of it. Disconnected. Floating. Watching everything around me, but not able to join in.

There were days I had to remind myself:

I am here.
I exist.
I am alive.
I am a part of things, even if it does not feel like it.

I grew up clothed in layers of shame, so I hid.

Guilt about what I did turned into shame about who I was. At my core, I felt that I was filled with rottenness.

Shame-based parenting and schooling was the norm for the seventies and eighties when I was growing up, thanks to Dr. Spock and other parenting geniuses. A’hem.

My parents were disciplined like this…

What is wrong with YOU?

Instead of like this…

What you DID was wrong.

If your parents confer upon you a shame-based identity (which my grandparents did with my parents) it carries through the generations because you parent from who you ARE, not just what you SAY to your kids.

So I inherited some of this left-over yuk from their upbringing.

As a result, I carried some of this shame with me as I began to develop into a relationship with God.

Many of the messages about myself from my pre-regenerated nature became mixed in with who I was becoming in relationship with Christ, so my mind was an amalgamation of half-truths like this:

I have no value

Instead of: I have so much value that God has sent His son to die for me and collect me to His heart.

I am defective

Instead of: I am living disconnected from God. The good news is, however, God has sent a way for me to be reconnected to Him in Christ.

No one sees me because I am not worthy

Instead of: God sees me because I am priceless to Him.

The most difficult mind-warp that I had to overcome was the following message:

What is wrong with me?

It was difficult to conquer that belief system because part of it was actually true! See without Christ, there truly WAS something wrong with me. I was living disconnected from God. Dead in my unredeemed nature.

THAT is what was wrong with me, but the good news is… it is FIXABLE!

Once I made the choice to enter into a life-sustaining relationship with God through Christ, the beautiful new truth about my identity is this:

There is now NOTHING wrong with my soul.
There is therefore no condemnation for those who live in Christ! I am redeemed, Christ’s own, bought with His blood, purchased by His sacrifice. I am holy because I live in Christ and in Christ all things are made perfect, set apart, holy!

Wow… freeing!

Except, that second part of the message somehow got lost in translation.

I had a broken God-concept, so I had a broken me-concept.

Until I repaired my concept of God, I could not heal.

Everything flows from our God concept. Who we believe God to be is how we will reflect Him. What we believe about His character, His nature, His ways is how we will respond to Him.

If we believe He will hit us with a two-by-four when we mess up – we will spend our lives hiding or ducking, or both.

If we believe that He can’t be trusted with our hearts-hurts – we will not share our deepest pain.

If we believe that He does not give us good, or that His nature is not good – we will not reveal our deepest desires and dreams to Him.

The debilitating result of all of that is that we often hide these things from ourselves too. Or deny them. Or ignore them, so we never fully become who God has intended us to be.

That is what I did for over three decades.

I pulled out and dusted off my Princess Behind the Mask study last night.

It is a bible study I wrote in 2003 that chronicles the journey of God revealing to me who He is and who I was becoming in Him. It was the first step of my healing journey. As I read, I laughed, cried, and rejoiced. I saw how far God has brought me, and how there are areas I still struggle with. I remembered the growth in my family – how God has transformed my relationships with my parents.

It was hard to read about the journey… but important… because by the grace of God, it was my journey.

You have a journey too. It is an important journey. Our journeys are all unique and individual because they reflect the relationship we have with God.

I want to encourage you as you plod along your healing journey to look for God in the dark places. He is there. Reach out for Him in the midnight hour when you feel all is lost, He will connect with you.

Thank you for joining me this week as I’ve written about my healing journey. I pray that something here encouraged you to reach up and to reach in… and find the faith to believe that God will meet you wherever you are on the path…





  1. These is some of your best posts. Great job.

  2. This is good truth, Jenny… your heart is beautifully scripted into words. I love to read and find encouragement here.

    • Yay! love when God does that here… I pray that it encourages people !!

  3. So beautifully put, thank you for sharing so honestly!

  4. *sigh*

    needed this today.

    • how ya doin friend? getting thru the post Kenya blues yet or are they still there? Praying for u

      • I’m getting through them. Yesterday I was thinking about that post you wrote shortly after you got back from Africa – you know the one where you were discouraged?

        Isn’t it crazy how predictable the cycle is – but yet, it still takes us by surprise? 🙂

      • I know… it’s almost like we all have to go through it to purge our hearts of stuff God doesn’t want there. Sigh… coming down the spiritual mountain sucks.

  5. Timely. And so very good.

  6. “Until I repaired my concept of God I could not heal.” I love that line. It is so true. We have to let God really be God- the one who can do immeasurably more than we can think or imagine. However, when we have been let down by those around us then we think God will let us down to. So to just let him in to heal those dark places can seem scary. Because the healing means that it gets exposed to the light. Sometimes holding on to what we know trumps in our minds what God will do. However, the reality is that he will hold us and loves us and has such great compassion on us. I used to think the healing journey would get to end here on earth. But, now I know that it will really end one day in heaven.

  7. Lovely and very encouraging. Everything we learned before coming to the Lord was twisted in some way and was really weighing us way down. So we unlearn, and throw off, and re-learn, and lighten up, don’t we?

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