Are you in a danger zone? Perhaps you feel hindered by experiences you have had in the past. Maybe you were abused, hurt, disappointed, held back or lacked a healthy role model to follow. Perhaps you feel chained to an unhealthy discipleship tie.

Unhealthy relational ties in discipleship can be very hard to discern and even harder to disengage when you are emotionally involved. If you are in a relationship that is abusive, seek help now. Request the counsel of your pastor or a church leader who is not involved in the relationship. Allow the counselor to evaluate the dynamics of the relationship, and follow the suggested guidance for either restoring or ending the relationship. Be honest about what is taking place. Above all, cover the situation in prayer.

Disillusionment places you in a danger zone. Perhaps you tell yourself you will never again allow yourself to be placed in a position to be hurt, that you can’t trust anyone. These damaging thoughts come from the devil, who wants to rob you of hope and keep you defeated and discouraged.

The Lord has a great plan for you. You can be restored! Consider Nehemiah 4. The scripture tells how the enemies of God’s people ridiculed Nehemiah and his workers as they started to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. The wall had been broken down for ages and the stones appeared charred and useless. The enemies mocked the Israelites: “What do these people think they can do with this mess? Can these burned stones live”? The enemies did not want Jerusalem to become secure and safe again, because they wanted to continue running roughshod over its boundaries.

The devil is throwing similar accusations at God’s people today: “How do those Christians expect to function with all that baggage from broken relationships? They’ve made too many mistakes. How can they expect to help someone else?”

Believe that you can be restored to carry out God’s work. You can place your full trust in the overruling providence of God. The burned stones of Jerusalem’s wall were charred and appeared useless, but God’s people chose not to be deterred by the difficulties. Instead, they trusted the Lord. Because they concentrated on rebuilding the wall and refused to be discouraged, the scarred stones once again saw service in the wall around Jerusalem. The Israelites moved beyond the danger zone and achieved their goal. And you can too.

(Much of this was taken from my new book, “The Cry for Spiritual Mothers and Fathers—The Next Generation Needs You to be a Spiritual Mentor,” scheduled to be released by Regal Books at the end of February).