Jesus taught us that we can learn about people by seeing what kind of fruit they bear in their lives. We can’t read what goes on in a person’s heart but we can learn about them through their actions. Just as its important for women to learn to recognise a man by his fruit and work out whether he is a safe person to be around, it’s equally important that a woman thinks carefully about what she is teaching others about who she is.

One of the areas I have struggled with the most is feeling confident about the convictions and beliefs I have in my heart. One of damages of abuse is that a woman has difficulty trusting her instincts and rather than feel confident about what is right she doubts her perceptions and abilities to make good choices. She makes excuses, waits awhile to see what happens, puts things off, denies how she feels and blames herself before holding others accountable.

God’s will is to make abused people strong, so that they are no longer downtrodden and afraid. He wants you and I to be sure of right and wrong and to stand for what is right especially when our hearts are convicting us to do so. If we don’t live out our inner heart’s convictions we will live in darkness and make wrong choices and our actions will lead others to learn things about us that are not true.

When I hide, its like taking the long route to my desired destination. I might experience lots of new things along the way but it takes far longer for me to be where I really want to be. After roadblocks, deters and unnecessary painful experiences, I come to realise that if I had spoken from my heart in the first place, I would be in a very different place.

Yet God is bigger than our denials and fears. Seeing our weaknesses, He uses the long path to teach us, change us, refine us and make us stronger. Nothing is wasted with God. So rather than mourn your failures, know that God will take all our blunderings and use them for our good. We learn obedience through our suffering and when we are faced with speaking the truth again, we find it a little more easire to say no, or express our preferences without fear, for we know that the truth is the only way to freedom and staying safely in the will of God.

As we practice living the truth, we find that we are slowly becoming a light on a mountaintop, for everyone to see, no long shackled in silence and fear and trembling, the chains that held us captive now falling from our feet and hands and we step into that wonderful place of dicovering what it is like to be who God really created us to be.

In my experience, overcoming my fear of people and letting my actions declare the truth in my heart has been the greatest challenge in overcoming the cycle of destructive and unhealthy relationships. I would be interested to hear what your greatest challenges have been.