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Evicting the Orphan Inside You

At some point in almost every person’s life, needs don’t get met. Maybe we were abused – our need for protection forgotten. Maybe we were hungry – our need for food was a gnawing ache reminding us we’re alone. If that’s you, maybe you learned that if you didn’t do something, you would end up hol…
By Seth Barnes

At some point in almost every person’s life, needs don’t get met. Maybe we were abused – our need for protection forgotten. Maybe we were hungry – our need for food was a gnawing ache reminding us we’re alone.

If that’s you, maybe you learned that if you didn’t do something, you would end up holding the short-end of the stick. So you learned the habit of expecting scarcity. And you learned the habit of fighting to meet your needs.

As an adult, things change. You may have a good job and plenty to eat, but still feel like an orphan. You may find yourself reflexively acting out of a scarcity mentality when the reality is that you have more than you need.

What do you do if those expectations and habits that you learned as a child are no longer relevant as an adult? Most people struggle to make the change.

Living out of old habits

We look good on the outside, but inside, the orphan is clawing and scratching to meet the needs that never got met.

I talked to the wife of a famous actor. He had made her life miserable because he never matured beyond a stage of adolescence. Every day he continues to live out of the habits of a young boy whose needs were never met.

If you look inside, what do you see? Is there is an orphan in there who is still making those closest to you miserable?

Or perhaps you are oblivious to what others so plainly see. You may be the source of so much of their pain. Your orphan behavior may be so habitual that you feel it can’t be helped; it’s just a part of you.

Or not…

Time for an eviction notice

Consider that perhaps it is time to evict him or her. Perhaps there is another way to live that will allow you to realize your life purpose.

It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Here are some specific steps to take:

  • The first step is to get to better self-awareness. Ask for feedback from two or three people who you trust to be honest and not shade the truth. Promise them you will listen and not be defensive. When you get the feedback say “thank you” and write it down.
  • Pray and meditate about it for a week. Where did the orphan behavior come from? Ask God to show you its source. Journal this out.
  • Write a grief journal. Here’s how. It’s important to grieve what you lost.
  • Do you have a friend who can help you process this? If so, ask them to help you ask and answer the questions that will get at the root of the issue. If not, consider seeing a good counselor. This is important work to do. It’s worth the money.
  • Practice living out of abundance. God has gifted you with so much. Life is not a zero sum game. When your friends win, you do not lose. Daily practice rejoicing with friends who have something to be thankful for or celebrate. Do this for at least a month. Look for accountability – someone to report in to if you slip back into an orphan mindset.

Remember, you are a son or daughter of the most high king. He has given you the keys to the kingdom. It’s time to start living that way!

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