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Defragging from a toxic environment

This past weekend I was at my daughter’s home in downtown Atlanta. I was talking to her and a roommate about their toxic work environment. “A lot of the people there do drugs and are pretty cynical. It’s a rough crowd,” my daughter said. “So how do you protect yourself?” I asked. …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
This past weekend I was at my daughter’s home in downtown Atlanta. I was talking to her and a roommate about their toxic work environment.
“A lot of the people there do drugs and are pretty cynical. It’s a rough crowd,” my daughter said.
“So how do you protect yourself?” I asked.
“I’ve learned to protect my spirit. It’s like I’m a flower and when they say hurtful things, I’ve learned to bunch up and let it not stick to me.”
“What about your friends there; how do they respond?”
“Some of them have gotten pretty hardened by the experience. They’ve lost their tender spirit. They’ve become rough just to win the approval of others.”
I mulled this over and compared their situation to a guy I knew who had a prison ministry. When he and his team would leave the prison, he’d line his people up and pray over them one at a time. He could sense if evil had slimed them and he felt it was his job to bless them and clean them up spiritually.
When we go into a toxic environment, whether that be a workplace or maybe our own dysfunctional home, our spirits can be bruised in ways that we shrug off. If that happens enough, we can become spiritually calloused or fragmented. We wall off parts of ourselves to keep them safe. But do that enough and the walls become part of your personality.
“Do you guys pray over one another when you get home?” I asked.
“No. That’s a good idea, we should do that,” her friend responded.
“I don’t know how you stay spiritually tender if you don’t. You guys need to defrag one another on a regular basis.”
Of course it’s easier said than done. In my own “Christian” workplace yesterday I was feeling beat up and exhausted. I had grown cynical and was in need of a good defragging. I fell into bed at day’s end and I was thankful when Karen prayed for my bruised spirit before we drifted off to sleep.
How’s the spiritual environment in your workplace? If you’re feeling bruised, consider finding someone to pray over you. And if you can’t find someone to de-slime you, consider whether or not what it’s costing you is worth it.

Comments (14)

  • Man I needed this…Yesterday I broke up 3 fights at a elementary school I was subbing at, got beat up a little bit in the process, and had to lovingly take care of angry/upset parents, principals, and students. Totally came home needing people to pray for me so thats exactly what I did! By the way everyone is fine just a bit bruised.

  • This is so true, what a valuable reminder…and perhaps as or more important if one serves at home amongst unbelievers…

  • The environment at my work is very harsh. I just pray all day for a shield of protection and strength to not get sucked in.

  • Thanks so much seth! This is a huge piece to an almost finished prayer puzzle. It puts much in perspective.

  • Excellant. Many days I’ve ended my day praying that god would remove any and all bad that I had left with my children that day, to remove it, to judge me only.

    Now we have to find you a non pc metaphor. Maybe defriend the demons?

  • This is sooo needed… i was just talking to Steph Tyrna and the topic of “spiritual climate” came up… i was reminded of the past location i was in and the recent one i’m in… both either near or on Indian (Native American) Reservations… often i don’t realize the types of atmospheres we can be around or immersed in how it can really really affect us. Not that everything is “blamed” on that… but some definitely can be recognized and released. There was a phrase the Lord said to me one time when i was overcome with heaviness and a tiredness that just didn’t make sense… there was absolutely no reason for it… and i had searched my options thuroughly. “RECOGNIZE – RELEASE – RECEIVE – REPEAT”… i think the awareness is one of the biggest things we can be blinded to… so to recognize the “ick” to release it to the Lord… for it’s His to handle… to receive what He died to give us…(promises) and repeat the process… it’s gonna happen over and over… THANK YOU FOR THIS REMINDER. i REALLY needed it. BLESSINGS UPON YOU AND WITHIN YOU SETH!

  • Thanks for the reminder Seth. I’ve been encouraged to pray whenever I leave the prison, and I know I should, but I often dismiss it because I don’t always see the effects. Last week I had some pretty direct and obvious attacks and I thought, “oh, maybe I should ask for prayer about this”. The reality is that those smaller corrosive attitudes and actions are probably more damaging over time than the few occasional obvious issues. This is just a good reminder of the need to be dilligent and ofensive instead of defensive.

  • This is a much needed word for me. Thank you, Seth. Rachel’s application is a good way to spiritually defrag every day too.

  • Sending prayers and encouragement your way Seth. May His blood wash off all that is not of Him and His Spirit tenderize your heart even when it is being pummeled.

  • Seth, this is so true. Where I have had experience in working in recovery centers with women of all sorts of addiction and also a counselor at the jail, I have learned that I immediately pray over myself when I walk out of those places. I pray that there would be no lingering spirit that would attach itself to me, but this also stands true for places that we go to on a day-to-day basis in our everyday life. I think that it is so amazing that this generation of our children have such amazing people like you and AIM to pour into them and teach them these skills. Thank you so much, Seth.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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