Ever wonder why you may experience similar if not the same emotions as you go through various trials? Though the tests may be different, the same emotional responses seem to surface. As discussed in previous segments, each root can produce harmful fruit, also known as symptoms that grow when watered, and can contaminate our lives and growth process.
Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, shame, and guilt appear to be the most common fruit or symptoms people experience. Depression is on the rise and is a symptom that affects millions of people annually. Depression can overtake the mind, body, and overall mood, causing a sense of inadequacy and a hopeless lack of activity. Did you know that more women are affected by depression than men, up to twice as many?
Below are a few examples of what’s produced by the root:
The Root of Rejection = Fruit: Rebellion, Bitterness/Unforgiveness, anxiety, anger, guilt, low self-esteem
The Root of Unforgiveness = Fruit: Resentment, hurt, feelings of revenge, bitterness, shame
The Root of Perfectionism = Fruit: Rejection of self, guilt, know it all, fear of failure or disapproval
The Root of sexually abused = Fruit: Anger, guilt, anxiety, shame, low self-esteem
Take note of the various times the same symptom can show up in response to a root.
It’s important to realize that as roots are left unaddressed, the fruit has the ability to resurface in our lives, time and time and time again. All it takes is a simple trigger for these symptoms to emerge, which is an indicator of deeper issues and further justifies the need to identify the root.
On repeat: “We too often treat the symptoms and not the problem”
Most, if not all, symptoms can alter the way we view ourselves and our identity. The fruit of the root can cause us to develop a distorted view of ourselves, losing sight of who God created us to be. They can also cause us to believe we are inadequate, unworthy, and not good enough. Which is a lie! We can often give too much authority to words and/or actions from others and are left bruised and broken. Resulting in the lack of self-worth and value, and in search of validation, acceptance, and significance from the wrong source(s). I’ve struggled with this plenty of times, actually. I’ve been guilty of settling for the “temporary” band-aids as a treatment to heal my pain. I was an impulsive, frivolous shopper, and retail was my therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I looked cute, but the pain was still there. The only difference was I had a few new threads, bags, and “things” but was still empty inside. I also turned to alcohol in my past to mask the pain. I might have felt satisfying at the moment, but again, the pain was still there. And I even resolved to entertaining a few ‘situationships’ that I knew were a waste of time.
Additionally, the symptoms can affect our views and actions towards others. For instance, we can become so hurt and damaged by the abuse's impact that we build up a wall. Or become extremely guarded, making it very difficult to develop healthy relationships. Furthermore, it’s a heavy burden to bear when our past circumstances, unfortunately, cause us to maintain a defensive disposition. Though we ultimately just want to protect ourselves from future hurt, it’s imperative to not cause further harm by holding on to fear unforgiveness, shame, bitterness, etc. Moreover, fruit such as anger and resentment can externally portray an unpleasant character. The toxicity from a past relationship caused me to live in fear for years, over a decade. I was afraid of vulnerability, trust, and rejection. Thus, I would only let a person of interest in, to a certain extent, and would eventually build up a wall.
God wants us to release the roots and symptoms over to Him, so He can do a renewed thing within us. Not only will He transform us, but He will also protect us. God is our ultimate source.
How has the fruit of your roots shown up in your life lately?
How have you handled the fruit?
Below are a few steps to assist in this phase:
Counter your thoughts about yourself with God’s truth. It’s critical to condition your mind to believe what is true and recognize a lie. The truth is what and who God says you are, and the lie is anything contrary to that. Period! Changing your mindset (Romans 12: 1-2) can positively impact how you think about yourself and therefore reshape your identity.
If you haven’t already, Identify your roots. You can click here to read that post. By identifying the roots, you are making a conscious effort to tackle the problem and avoid fruit from budding.
Giving the root and the fruit over to God and allowing Him to guide you in your healing process on a path toward wholeness and restoration.
Know your triggers to avoid experiencing a symptom as much as possible. Some things will inevitably take you back to that place of brokenness. Therefore, it is essential to be mindful of your triggers and/or place of weakness to remain in a healthy space. Protect your space.
Set standards for yourself and self-worth, knowing that your approval and validation comes from God. You do not need to seek acceptance from anyone or anything, except God the Creator. Know what is acceptable and unacceptable in your life according to these standards, leading to healthy boundaries.
Be kind to yourself in the process! Try to engage in enriching fun activities that you enjoy, such as journaling, going for a walk, serving others, getting a pedicure, or even baking…whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Do it.
I am praying for you! As you are taking steps towards healing and wholeness, please be gentle with yourself. Nothing that you’ve been through or will go through will go wasted. God can and will use your past experiences to propel you toward His destiny for your life. You can be freed and delivered from the damage from your past hurt.
Disclaimer: I am not a professional/licensed counselor. If you need recommendations for finding a licensed therapist or any additional resources, I’d be glad to assist you.
Until the next iteration of Finding Her…Be blessed. Love you!