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Do you have an orphan spirit?

John’s family looked normal. Both parents had good jobs. Sure, they’d divorced, but growing up, he had all he wanted. But inside, John didn’t feel like a priority. He felt like he had to get high grades or his parents would view him as a failure. John didn’t feel secure in his identity – his pare…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
John’s family looked normal. Both parents had good jobs. Sure, they’d divorced, but growing up, he had all he wanted. But inside, John didn’t feel like a priority. He felt like he had to get high grades or his parents would view him as a failure. John didn’t feel secure in his identity – his parents’ love seemed conditional.
In short, when John left home, he felt very much alone in the world, like an orphan. To compensate, he became a consummate people-pleaser, a chameleon who could be what the situation demanded. He looked as successful as his parents, but inside, he often felt miserable.
Too many people may have both their parents, but leave home with an orphan spirit. They don’t feel OK and they have a scarcity mentality, scrapping for everything they can get. They believe that there isn’t enough food, there’s not enough opportunity, and not enough love to go around. And their conclusion is, “I need to fight for resources because if somebody else wins, that means I lose.”
It happens much more frequently than you might imagine. People with orphan spirits look normal and often are high achievers, but there’s a hole in their heart and they hunger for acceptance. But they’re plagued by orphan-like thoughts like, “Nobody loves me. I
don’t really matter. I have to perform to get attention or love.”
The antidote is to understand that ultimately, we are God’s children. You were given to your parents for them to steward, but after 18 years or so, you were meant to leave their home and establish your own independent life. Understand that and you’re freed to grasp how God loves you unconditionally. What you need is not someone else’s approval, but  just real experience with God. Hearing God’s voice enables you to escape the oppression of an orphan spirit.
Without this kind of experience, too many Christians continue to feel like John, isolated on this earth, pressured by forces beyond their control.
What does it mean that Jesus came to “set the captives free?” It may sound trite to Christian ears, but practically it means that he came to liberate us from the pressure of orphan thinking. He declares us OK just as we are and invites us to leave the homes and cities where we may have felt condemnation and enter a place where we’re free from the need to perform.
Richard Rohr summarizes the challenge before us like this:

Until you can be at home in the alternative kingdom of God, you will almost always be completely conformed to the superficial systems of this world, while calling it freedom and independence.

Some do it by conforming to styles and fashions of their particular group think,
while others do it by various conformities to the political correctness of either Left or Right. Some even do it by conforming to the rebellious group, but that is not freedom either.
Gospel freedom allows you to act from deep within, where the Holy Spirit dwells, and

not for or against any outside group.

I spent too long trying to live up to someone else’s standard of performance. It was orphan-thinking. When I got freed up and realized that God loves me unconditionally and has an unlimited supply of good gifts to give me, I began to breathe the sweet air of freedom.
How about you? Do you find yourself needing to perform? Do you find yourself scrapping for resources? You are not an orphan. You never were. You’re a child of the king – you need to start living in the kingdom of God.

Comments (18)

  • Looking from the outside of someone
    that I know well ,I have seen some symptoms of this. Could some symptoms nor be so obvious at this point?

  • that was me for decades.

    more importantly, that’s most of the people who’ve surrounded me these last 10 yrs.

    I guess that’s why I say these things a lot…

    I love you unconditionally
    I believe in you
    You’re stuck with me
    I’m proud of you
    You’re a priority to me
    You belong to me
    You’ve got what it takes
    I belong to you
    Go get’em

    We both love a generation who really does have a chance to change the world.

    Baby Boomers said we were gonna change the world. We just had too much drugs, sex, & rock & roll along the way – and a whole lot of other things

  • Mr. Tom,
    They are more than nice words… They are spirit and they are life. Read Seth’s last sentence again, out loud. If you need help doing this, Seth has lots of people who can help you start KINGdom living…right now.

  • Thanks, great word ! Same page God has me on, I’m believing Him for my complete freedom from this horrible spirit!

  • Good blog. Lots of truth in what you said. I will caution you about quoting Richard Rohr. Although he is a priest and does say some good things, his personal beliefs in some foundational areas are far from correct. I heard him a few years ago in person saying, “We didn’t need Jesus. God would have saved us anyway.” That’s blatant heresy. Check him out.

  • Yes, I believe you will. But you can live free by trusting Jesus for your security instead of the opinions of others.

  • Wow. I love this site. This Words are full of spirit and life in them. They are full of healing and deeper comfort in them. May God bless you so much for starting this site. Kay God continue to use you more and more to bring healing, comfort, peace to the hearts and spirits of men. I pray for God to use you to nations upon nations to take his healing Words that restore men lives.
    Wow I am blessed to come across this message and page.

  • So simply having Faith that you are a Child of God is going to fix all your problems in life? Isn’t that dangerously naiive? Too much confidence and ‘freeness’ attracts unwanted attention. I have tried it and suddenly I get swamped by pickpockets and vagrants whom I either want to fight or run away from… Not to mention the (I don’t want to curse) people who put hexes on me every time I show a little bit of light… The last 10 years I’ve been going from ministries and churches and it always ends up with a signup sheet and/or an expectation to pay something… I don’t even remember how I came across this website now… It is ‘Freedom Day’ today

    • I agree – this is not a quick fix and mere words don’t get the job done. But it is a reality that we need to recognize and walk in. Look at the disciples, their transition from acting like orphans to acting with spiritual authority took longer than 3 years.

  • Welcome to what this year looks like for me. This is exactly what God has shown me in my life, and is breaking me free of. There is so much freedom when you can truly grasp this concept.

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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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