Fully Living—Fully Loving Part III
In this, our final part in this series on "Fully Living—Fully Loving," we ask the question, how do we remove the barriers in our life that hinder or block our learning how to fully live and fully love?
First, we need to recognize that we have a problem—and admit it. As long as we deny the truth about ourselves, there is no healing or recovery. So I need to admit, "I have a problem. I need help."
Second, read good books, listen to CDs and tapes, attend classes, seminars and retreats that deal with personal growth and recovery. Learn all you can but, remember, intellectual knowledge doesn't produce healing or recovery, it just helps to understand our problem and know how and where to look for help.
Third, realize that we get damaged in damaged relationships and get healed in healing relationships. Every one of us—single or married—needs a soul-brother for men or a soul-sister for women. That is, we need someone who won't judge us, put us down, try to fix us or give us unsolicited advice—someone with whom we feel totally safe so we can be totally open and honest, and feel free to share our deepest emotions (negative as well as positive), as well as our joys, sorrows, successes, sins and failures and thus be known for who we truly are—warts and all.
We all need someone who knows us fully and loves and accepts us exactly as we are. This is what frees us to change and begin to experience healing in the deepest parts of our personality. Furthermore, only to the degree that we are known can we ever feel loved. Nobody can love a mask and nobody can ever feel loved who hides behind a mask. As long as we stay in hiding, we can never experience healing and grow to become a whole and loving person.
Fourth, if we have deeply repressed emotions we may need, as I did, intense skilled therapy. We each need to find the type of therapy that works for us, and a therapist with whom we can work. What works for me may not work for you and vice-versa. Group therapy can also be very helpful.
Fifth, many of us will need help to learn not only how to get in touch with our feelings, but also how to express them in healthy and creative ways. Learn from the life of Jesus. When he was sad, he wept.1 When he was angry, he expressed his feelings. At times he did this verbally and when he found the money changers ripping people off in the temple, he got a whip and drove them out.2 What we need to remember, however, is to always speak and act the truth in love.
Last and most important of all, learn to put God first in your life and seek his guidance and help for every area of your life. Learn how to pray effectively by praying the right prayers.3 Ask God to confront you with the truth about yourself. If you are serious about this, God will show you; but be prepared because it usually takes pain to break through our defenses. For me personally, only when my pain is greater than my fears am I able to get in touch with my inner pain. Remember as God's Word says, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."4 God's Word also says, "Behold, You [God] desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom."5
If you consistently follow these six principles, you too, will be well on the road to fully living and fully loving.
Suggested prayer: Dear God, please help me to be totally honest with you, with myself, and with at least one trusted friend and/or counselor, with all that is in my inner self. And please help me to get in touch with any and all unresolved guilt and/or repressed negative emotions, and learn how to express (‘get rid of') these in creative ways so that every barrier in my life that blocks my fully living and fully loving will be removed. So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name, amen."
1. John 11:35.
2. John 2:14-16.
3. See "How to Pray Effectively" at http://tinyurl.com/kb62w.
4. Psalm 145:18.
5. Psalm 51:6 (NKJV).
Note: For further help, see articles on recovery at: www.actsweb.org/articles/Recovery.php