The Ins and Outs of an Inner Vow: Part One

By Susan Bowman

Since I wrote this teaching (many years ago) I have discovered there is another kind of inner vow: the Passive Inner Vow. Passive Inner Vows do nothing. They are a resigned acceptance of a lie about your identity. They are made to reduce confusion. The kind of vows I discuss in this teaching are Active Inner Vows. Active Inner Vows do something in an effort to manage pain. To learn more about how to discover and overcome Passive Inner Vows, see Chapter Five: Identity and Passive Inner Vows in my book: Healing from the Inside Out which is available for purchase on this website.

That Sneaky Inner Vow

I asked the Lord where to start this insight and He said to start at the beginning. I asked him where did it begin and He said with the Wii. So this all started when I purchased WiiFit for the Wii game console. Like many of us I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I have belonged to gyms to Curves to the YMCA. I have exercised with exercise videos, with a home treadmill, a stair stepper and some other piece of equipment that I forget the name of. Each commitment to exercise begins with enthusiasm and ends with canceled memberships and a yard sale. I don’t even want to talk about all the diets I have started.

Now, I don’t have a serious weight problem. But I’m getting older, and I’m putting on some pounds. If I don’t work at it, I will have a serious weight problem. Here is where the Wii comes in. I bought the game console for my son, hoping that he and I would play the sports games together. And we do play together sometimes, which he loves. And he has become an amazing Wii bowler. But then I got the bright idea that I would buy WiiFit for myself. I told myself that this would be a fun way to exercise. When it’s rainy or too cold or hot, I would work out with the Wii instead of walking outside. I fell in love with the WiiFit! I exercised faithfully for one week, then went on a ministry trip to Alliance, Nebraska, for a week. Came back, fired up the Wii and did a body check. I had gained a little weight. I did the balance test and I failed it. Guess what the WiiFit program did? It insulted me! Asked me if I tripped over my own feet a lot. I was soooo enraged! How dare that stupid machine insult me! It sounded just like my mother! I raged around like this, hating WiiFit, eating heavily and poorly and unable to take my daily walk for about a week before I really came to grips with the fact that I was triggered. I put on my prayer minister’s hat (finally) and took a closer look.

I realized that over the years I have consistently sabotaged my diet and exercise efforts. This pattern and this much anger had to be coming from unresolved childhood pain, maybe even (since it was so strong) from an inner child.

It seemed reasonable to me that my problem was with my mother’s criticism of my physical appearance. She was very critical. I did believe that her love was conditional and the condition was thinness. If I was sufficiently thin, then she approved of me. If not, I was criticized. This is historical fact. So I thought I was dealing with an angry inner child who was triggered when the WiiFit insulted me. So, taking a leap of faith, I addressed that inner child. I said, “Hunny, you and me are going for a walk and I want you to tell me your story.” In another words, I consciously and intentionally tapped into the part of me that was hurt from all the criticism. So while I walked I became aware of anger, embodied as a child. I agreed with the child that she had much to be angry about and invited the Lord to join me in my anger and as I worked with this part of my heart I found that walking became easier. I asked the Lord to pay any debt that my mother owed me for not accepting me and loving me without conditions, and I released her from her debt. Pretty much standard stuff. And I felt better.

The next morning, in the room of revelation (the shower), the Lord brought a memory to my awareness. Here it is: My father has called me into my parent’s bedroom and he is brushing my hair. I am about 6 years old. He is not molesting me in the physical, but in the spiritual he is certainly molesting me. I had to ask my human spirit exactly the words he used, because I could not recall them with my soul. He said to me: I love you as more than a daughter. To my child’s heart love now equaled being molested. So, I immediately vowed to “not be loved.” (Some years later I found that I had accepted the lie that love is disgusting). What does that have to do with exercise and diet? Well, as you recall, I believed that my mother loved me when I was thin. Being thin equaled being loved. Being loved equaled being molested. So any effort on my part to control or lose weight triggered my vow to do whatever it takes to not be loved. If I stayed a little bit over weight then I had an explanation for my mother’s critical rejection of me and I wouldn’t be molested because I was unlovable. Being overweight made the world make sense AND it kept me safe (not really, but my heart is a child so it believes dumb things).

These vows to never be loved kept me under-exercised and overfed. Gee. Thanks. The bedroom, hair-brushing memory was not new. I had done healing work there before, but I had not connected with the “I will not be loved” inner vow before. It took the Wii incident for that vow to surface.

Here’s how I handled the vow, once I became aware of it. I broke the vow verbally by saying, “I break the vow I took to not be loved and I send all evil enforcers to the feet of Jesus for judgment.” Then I asked the Lord to forgive me for believing the lie that love equals molestation. This is simple legal work that disempowers the enemy. Healing work requires me to ask the child who made the vow to tell me her story. In this case, there was no child. That healing work had been done some time ago. But the vow I had taken remained in place and active, long after I had healed from the abuse.

Shortly after the Lord revealed my inner vow to me, I was praying with a woman who is a devoted Christian, but who does not “feel” love. When I asked her what happened when she is loved, she replied that “love is pain.” As we worked together, we learned that her family had a generationally empowered belief that love equaled pain, therefore they would not love or be loved. Into this atmosphere, she was born. When her human spirit told her, at about age two, that she was meant to be loved, she rejected her spirit, saying in her heart that it was obvious that she was not worthy of love, because no one loved her. Therefore, her human spirit was stupid and she vowed not to listen to her spirit. To trigger this inner vow, all I had to do was engage with her spirit and ask a question about love. Whoa … did that get an emotional response!

Ask yourself this question. What happens when I love? Or when I am loved? Then listen for what you “feel.” Our heart-level beliefs determine how we perceive reality. Ask the Lord to show you what is in your heart concerning love. Bless you and many smiles today!