May 15

Influences from Childhood

Isaiah 61:1-3

No one's childhood is perfect. What we experienced during those years has a profound impact, even into adulthood. Things we saw, heard, felt, and even things we did not feel can affect us later in life.

As one might expect, external influences do help to shape our personality. However, the result is not always predictable. For example, early years full of painful experiences leave deeps wounds in some, but in others, they contribute to the development of depth and perseverance.

Whether your younger years were joyful or painful, it can be valuable to consider what their impact was, back then as well as in the present. You might start by exploring your responses to key childhood events. Next, identify traits that you appreciated in your parents and others--qualities you'd like to nurture in your own life. Finally, think about people with characteristics that impacted you negatively. Ask God for healing and freedom from the patterns you may have developed in response. Then shift your focus to godly attributes you want to exhibit instead, such as peace, grace, and gentleness.

The heavenly Father wants to free you from any negative trends that took root early in life. He can break any unhealthy pattern and replace it with hope and deep satisfaction in Him.

As you explore the effects of childhood experiences, pray to see through a lens of truth. When you recognize ways that others negatively influenced you, pray for strength to forgive and God's help in mending areas of brokenness--whether spiritual, emotional, relational, or mental.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.