If someone had asked me
a few years ago about “Arrested Development,” I wouldn’t have been able
to tell you anything about it, let alone if it affected me.
Nevertheless, when I became aware of it, I was certain that I didn’t
suffer from Arrested Development, but I was incorrect and living in
What is arrested
development? This is what modern medicine says about the matter:
“Even though physical
maturity is inevitable, emotional maturity is not. I observe that the
vast majority of people are stuck in their emotional growth process
somewhere in their adolescent years.
immaturity, fear, blame, shame, resentments, anger, confusion and
suffering can all be signs of arrested emotional development. When we
get ‘stuck’ in our emotional development, we cease to learn how to take
responsibility for our actions and our lives. We get stuck at the point
of some trauma that happens in our life that we don’t know how to let go
of or to process.
Emotional Development is being stuck in (or anchored to) an emotional
level of development from childhood experience also called “resource
states”. Out of these ‘negative’ beliefs comes an underlying &
unconscious commitment. I.E. I’m not good enough, I was a mistake, I’m
dumb, etc..." 10
The purpose of this
article is to share my understanding of
Arrested Development in
light of the Bible, how it affects people and how I became free of this
emotional bondage. Arrested Development is caused by demons and it has
been quite the experience to achieve the healing and growth in my life.
While psychologists are
correct in their diagnosis regarding emotional maturity and growth, I do
not agree when they state that most people are stuck in their teens.
Based upon my own experience and what I have learned from counseling
people coming for deliverance, stunted emotional maturity can occur as a
young child. My pastor, John S. Torell, has been ministering to people
for 45 years and this is also his consensus. The traumas that trigger
arrested development can occur in the womb and infancy, meaning you will
grow up thinking that your lack of emotional maturity is normal while it
continually frustrates family, friends and co-workers around you.
REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST
I married two men for
wildly different reasons. I was forced into the first marriage because
of a child out of wedlock but it only lasted a few weeks. The second
marriage came about as a result of fear and rejection and turned into a
17 year emotional black hole that left me sick and dejected. I was
reflecting on my life and told my third and final husband, Kristian,
about how I used to feel.
couldn't see it while it was happening, but I felt like a child when I
started my adult life. I was a young mother filled with insecurity and
fear. Under the influence of fear, I made rash decisions because that is
what children do. I threw temper tantrums when I was overwhelmed and
alone. Sometimes I would take the car out alone and drive much faster
than the posted speed limit or curl up in the fetal position and cry or
just give someone the silent treatment for days on end.
There are a few times I
remember being so upset and despondent that I lost it at home. On one of
these occasions, I was crying so much that I crawled on my hands and
knees up the stairs of my home. I was desperately exhausted and felt
hopeless. It didn’t occur to me to think about God as my source of
strength even though I had been saved as a child. I was operating
completely in the flesh, trying to be tough and do everything by myself.
My second husband
refused to show me affection and constantly rejected me during the 17
years we spent together. I had many illnesses during this time such as
gout, diverticulitis attacks, and horrendous stomach pains that the
doctors could not diagnose even though they performed a myriad of tests.
As I stated, this period of my life was an emotional black hole that
left me feeling horribly lonely and full of emotional pain.
DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
Kristian and I were working together at
the same firm two years prior to my divorce. We became friends after a
year and it only took me 3 months after I separated from my second
husband to get involved with him. My previous marriage was dead for many
years, I was starved for love.
Kristian was the
complete antithesis of my second husband and met my most basic need to
be loved and cherished. I was able to get some level of healing from the
affection and acceptance he provided; however, it could only take me so
far because God was not the focus of my life.
I started to feel like
an adult and was able to save money and not be in debt. This was a huge
problem in my previous marriage and for the first time I began to feel a
semblance of security as we started a new life together. We bought a
boat, went camping and spent time with my family. Two years later I
remember driving off with our boat attached to the truck and saying to
Kristian, “I officially feel like an adult now.” When I uttered those
words, I knew it wasn't right to have a material possession make me feel
like an adult but I was in a state of Arrested Development that I
couldn't discern or understand.
I did okay with my
intelligence and street smarts. Humans are very resilient and possess
the ability to survive the worst abuses and neglect, but that doesn't
mean we come out unscathed. Survival is just that, survival. Surviving
is not thriving and living to the potential that God has for us. I have
been through some pretty traumatic events as a young child and teenager
and they left an unseen mark on me.
There isn’t a single
person coming to this ministry for healing and deliverance which has a
perfect life; all the stories are similar to mine and some are much
worse. What Satan does with emotional traumas is nasty; he freezes our
emotional state at the first traumatic event. This is where we get an
evil spirit called “Arrested Development” because of its function.
We continue to
physically grow and learn but our emotional state is stunted and this
hinders our spiritual growth with God. Does that sound strange? Just
take a moment and think about the adults in your family or friends that
just can't get it together. Examine their childish behavior and poor
decisions. You can almost tell the age at which they were first
traumatized. Then examine yourself and see if this too applies to you.
IS NO PARADISE WITHOUT JESUS
Kristian and I started
a business two months after we were married and things were much better
than I’d previously experienced. Our new venture took off and we were
doing great financially but the pressure of this new business and our
lack of faith/devotion to God took its toll on us.
I loved Kristian deeply
but he started having regular anxiety attacks and would lash out at me
in frustration. I was still wounded and the slightest criticism from
Kristian would put me in tears because of the emotional baggage from the
previous marriage and the associative fear of rejection.
I began to entertain
thoughts that maybe I had made a huge mistake in marrying Kristian
because the pressure of his anxiety was very heavy on me. Almost every
weekend ended with me crying and Kristian apologizing and trying his
best to control himself around me but this is what happens when two
emotional infants in their mid-30's try to live a life without God.
RECONNECTING WITH GOD
The good news is that
we found our way back to our Heavenly Father! We found a ministry that
knows the value in James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, and
pray one for another, that ye may be healed…” This ministry had
experience with Arrested Development and God used them to cast that
demon out of me and my husband. We flew from Alaska to California where
we went through a week of prayer for
deliverance from demons as we methodically retraced the steps of our
lives and discovered a whole mess of stuffed emotions and things we had
never told anybody. We confessed it all to the Lord, received
forgiveness and God gave us miraculous healings in our souls and bodies.
One of the healings that took place is that I don’t suffer from unknown
stomach pains, gout or indigestion anymore.
There are still times
when I experience those familiar stomach pains but now I know that means
my soul isn't happy. God reveals the source of the problem when I pray
about it and the pain stops immediately when I discover its root and
deal with it. This shows the sensitivity of our souls. It is important
to listen to the Holy Spirit because our souls won’t be happy when we
don’t heed the guidance of the Lord.
I can laugh about this
now, but as I started to read my copy of Christian Dynamics Course 1,
I remember sitting back in my chair with a little bit of pride and a
side helping of denial and informing Pastor John, “I don't have Arrested
Development; I just read about it and it doesn't fit me.” He was silent
and after a long awkward pause he lovingly asked, “Do you think that all
the decisions you made in your past were mature ones?” I couldn’t argue
with that logic!
Christian Dynamics Course 1
is an excellent resource. It is biblically sound and will help you find
your freedom in God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
WE ARE NOW IN 2015
It's been a long road
to get where I am today! I now look at Kristian and he's become a man.
We no longer get upset about things which cause turmoil in our lives. I
did not know I was a child emotionally until I was set free by the Lord
and today I can look back and see the difference!
We study God's word and
have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. We sold almost everything to
become missionaries to help others go through this process to find
freedom and to grow in Christ! I love my life with God as my employer! I
love that I can now understand with my redeemed soul and born again
spirit the “covering” my husband is to me as described in 1 Corinthians
11:3, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is
Christ: and the head of the woman is the man: and the head of Christ is
My first two husbands
failed in their God-given duty but Kristian’s prayers are very powerful
for me. The Bible tells me to go to him for prayer. It's not easy to put
into words what it is like but it is so peaceful. We shared a communion
together a few nights ago and it was the most powerful communion I have
ever experienced. To listen to God's anointing on my husband as he
prayed brought me to tears.
The steps we are going
through to reach our actual physical maturity have been interesting and
we aren't finished yet! I want to share my experience so you too will be
prepared. After being set free, it is necessary for a person to go
through the emotional phases that were skipped over. My husband and I
thankfully went through this together and had strong support from our
pastor to help us when we had questions.
The first time we had a
temper tantrum or an outburst, we were concerned that we had allowed a
demon back in. After being set free from the years of constant noise in
our heads, we certainly did not want to regress. It was just a fleeting
moment of us going through that phase in our life. So we started to
recognize the different emotions and go with the flow. I am working with
a few women now who are in the process of emotional growth after being
set free of the demon of arrested development and they are a blessing to
me. I don’t wish to relive my life but I praise God for getting me
through all of this so I can in turn help others.
I have a friend who is
doing the 16 week Christian
Dynamics Course 3 follow-up after deliverance. She expressed feeling
annoyed when someone tries to show her love. She doesn't have a problem
with this normally, so we know she is just having a moment of being
emotionally arrested as a 12 year old. She was experiencing a healing
and this is hard to explain until you have gone through it. I
experienced this also and God is good to help us go through some of
these blocked emotions we surpassed as children and very quickly. I
talked to her a week later and she is so happy! The joy she had with the
Lord has returned to her and she is able to pray freely in her
intercessory ministry, something she has not been able to do in quite a
My journey isn’t over
yet and it is my prayer that I will be available for anyone
seeking salvation, deliverance and healing.
We are all in this together. Deliverance only comes from seeking the
Lord and using the Scriptures as our guide.
Yours in Christ,
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