Celebrate Recovery - Uncategorized

The Layers Within

When you look at a person, any person, remember that everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them. -Lisa Arends

When an onion grows, it produces layers around it’s core in order to protect itself.  When animals or insects eat into the onion, they first must eat through the outer layers before the core is reached, which would severely damage and threaten the life of the onion.  As a result, the layers protect the onion from being easily destroyed by external forces.

In my opinion, people are a lot like onions.  As we grow and mature, we learn to develop barriers that protect us from the potential harm of others.  Starting out, our layers of self-protection are strongly influenced by our parents and loved ones around us.  As we grow and mature, these layers are strengthened and new ones are added.  If someone makes it through our layers of self-protection and hurts us, we respond by adding another layer.  The cycle continues as we add layer upon layer to try and protect ourselves from the hurt and pain that the world makes us feel.

If our layers of self-protection  are negative, they can be counterproductive.  We are not onions, and not everything that attempts to break through our layers is harmful.  Well-meaning, caring people can be deterred by the layers of protection surrounding us, and although we have successfully protected ourselves from potential hurt, we have also prohibited potential health and healing.  Sometimes people who need love and compassion the most do not receive it because their layers of self-protection won’t allow anyone close enough.


Negative layers of self-protection:

 

  • Fear
    • Allowing past and potential harm to influence present and future relationships.
    • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. -Philippians 4:6
  • Pride
    • Being unwilling to accept help, compassion, admit fault, etc.
    • Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. -Proverbs 16:18
  • Shame
    • Feeling unworthy of the attention or care of others.
    • The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace. -Proverbs 13:5
  • Guilt
    • Allowing past decisions to influence present and future relationships.
    • My guilt overwhelms me- it is a burden too heavy to bear. -Psalm 38:4
  • Anger
    • Allowing past or present circumstances to influence present and future relationships.
    • Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. -James 1:20
 
These kinds of layers are easy to build, because they feed off of the sin nature that we were born into.  These kinds of emotions come easily to us, and it takes prayer and self-awareness to prevent them from growing around our hearts and in our lives.  If you find that you have built some of your own negative layers of self-protection, don’t be discouraged.  There is hope, and there are healthier ways to protect yourself.

Positive layers of self-protection:

  • Trust
    • God is in control of your life- He will take care of you and be your protector.
    • I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me? -Psalm 56:11
  • Humility
    • Willingness to admit fault and to serve others despite the risks.
    • God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. -Matthew 5:5
  • Love
    • Accept God’s love with open arms.  He loves you unconditionally.
    • But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. -Romans 5:8
  • Forgiveness
    • Accept God’s forgiveness for your past, and forgive others as He forgave you- including yourself.
    • Though we are overwhelmed by our sins, You forgive them all. -Psalms 65:3
  • Compassion
    • Authentic care and concern for others.
    • But You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. -Psalm 86:15
 
These kinds of layers may not sound like much protection at first, but they are truly all you need. The key is to give yourself to God.  You are in His hands, and your protection is His responsibility.  Once this happens, it is such a freeing feeling.  He really is all you need.  The best part is that others will see these positive layers in your life and they will be drawn to you.

The big difference

The difference between negative layers and positive layers is this; Negative layers are your own unsuccessful attempt to protect yourself from people, while positive layers place the responsibility in God’s hands and will without a doubt protect you from anger, bitterness, sin, conflict, and so much more.  Either way, you are going to experience pain and heartache in life.  It’s up to you as to how you are going to handle it.  Make a choice now to give your life to God, and start replacing those negative layers with positive ones.

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