One thing I’ve learned from being a pastor for many years is that so many people are vulnerable to emotional hijacking . .
Even pastors and leaders in the church, the ones who you would expect to “have it all together” can often be the most prone to attack — insecure, self-loathing, and emotionally in trouble.
This is not a problem limited to new believers, or non-believers. This is a problem that impacts leaders and influencers all over the world, every day.
The enemy knows who to attack, and where to attack. He knows your weak spots, the places you’ve left vulnerable.
So I thought I would share several things I’ve discovered that leave us all susceptible to emotional hijackings, if we fall into their trap. There are ten I want to share with you. I’ll share five today, and five in my next post.
Your are vulnerable to an Emotional Hijacking when:
1. You compare yourself to others
It’s so easy to fall into this trap. As a leader, it’s tempting to get caught up in numbers and growth and programs and what “everyone else” is doing. We start to lose sight of what God called us to do because we’re so busy looking at what we think will make us successful or popular.
But God makes it very clear in scripture who we are supposed to follow — and it’s not the guy next door, or the church down the street. It’s Him.
Who are you following?
When you compare your ministry to other ministries, or your own achievements, successes, or perceived failures to others, you will come up empty-handed every time. It will make you feel worse, not better. It will never end. You can’t win.
The enemy will get inside your head and convince you that you’re a failure and you’re doing the wrong thing.
2. Your personal expectations are not in line with God’s expectations
We expect life to be easy. We want God to call us to a place that will be “perfect” for us, and then for everything to happen smoothly and simply. But have you ever considered that this expectation for life might not be in line with God’s expectation for you?
Growth is painful. It means facing the truth about yourself, submitting to God, and trusting that He knows what He is doing. When you feel life is unfair ask God to speak to you…to remind you that He is with you and that He has everything under control.
When we align our expectations with God’s expectations, He makes even our most painful seasons fruitful. The process you’re facing in your life right now — whatever that looks like for you — might be difficult and long, but it’s preparing you for God’s plan and purpose.
Don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise.
3. Your identity is wrapped up in what you do, not who you are in Christ
If you allow yourself to think that your worth is determined by what you do or don’t do — the quality of a message you deliver on Sunday, the success of your kids in school, your ability to convince a certain friend to come to church — you are going to live on a roller coaster of emotional ups and downs.
When “things” are going well, you’ll feel okay. But the minute things don’t go your way, you’ll feel like a failure.
It is only when your identity is firmly rooted in Christ — that you were made in his image, that He loves you deeply and wants what is good for you, and that nothing you do (or fail to do) can change that, that you’ll be able to experience freedom from your successes and failures.
Until your identity is in Christ, you’re vulnerable to an emotional hijacking.
4. Your definition of success is anything less than full obedience to Christ
If you are tracking your success based on the number of people who show up on a Sunday morning, or how many promotions you get at work, or what people say about your house, or your clothes, or your car, you will either feel deflated or puffed up. Neither is good!
Instead, define your success by how obedient you’re being to what God has asked you to do. Success is all about obedience to Christ.
How can you know what God is asking you to do?
Joshua 1:8 (NIV) says, “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Read your Bible. Pray. Get quiet with God. Listen, and He will give you the wisdom you’re asking for.
5. You don’t have friends who will rejoice and mourn with you
Romans 12:15 (NIV) says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”
So much of the time we mourn with those who rejoice, and rejoice over those who mourn. How sick is that? If we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, and making life a competition, we’ll find ourselves caught in this trap.
But true, lasting, life-giving friendship is born out of a space where we mourn with those who mourn, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
And with this hedge of protection around us — with friends who are willing to help us carry the weight of grief and joy — we’re much less likely to fall victim to emotional attack.
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