For most of my life I have looked at life as a journey. A journey through low valleys, where we often learn vital lessons that help us reach the highest peaks of life. There are times when I wish the hard lessons would stop; but when I really think about it, those are the lessons that have shaped the core of who I am. And instead of wishing they would stop, I long for more. Ravi Zacharias often refers to God as the Hound of Heaven, pursuing His people. Like a good Father, that pursuit never stops. For the past year He has been on my trail making known to me a weakness He wants me to work on.
My life, like so many others, has had its share of peaks and valleys. Many of us have walked through some really tough times in life. Those tough times can and do render great fruit in our lives, but they can also render some rotten fruit. As we discover and understand the rotten fruit, we must prune those area off, so as to not taint the good fruit and render it useless. How many great men and women, with flaws they refused to deal with, had their life and legacy destroyed due to a significant failure? I refuse to be that person. Jesus explained in John 15:1-5, if we will simply remain in Him and allow Him access to prune us as He sees best, He will be faithful to us and we will be fruitful.
Over the last 12 months He has brought an area to the surface of my life. Once He brought it to the surface and I could see it, He went to work carefully, lovingly, and in His perfect timing, pruning the dead branches away. He revealed to me some significant abandonment issues that can cause illogical emotional responses to various circumstances. In my desire to fix things quickly, I had to remind myself the pruning process is painful. Think through the process of pruning. You have a sick branch or one that is not going in the desired direction, you intentionally create a wound by chopping it off, then it slowly heals and bears fruit again over time. This was going to be a time for perseverance for me.
This journey started a year ago for me but was kicked back into gear about 30 days ago. A friend looked at me and in a very matter of fact manner, said “you are too emotional.” It struck me like a bat to the side of my head; I know at that point I shut down and I am sure my demeanor changed immediately. But it was a needed shock to the system that caused a deeper evaluation. I remember going home in a state of confusion, attempting to filter through all the feelings to arrive at the truth of the matter. Later that night, I was talking with Danielle and walking her through the conversation. She made the observation that in some settings I am completely logical and able to strip out my emotions from the decision process, while in other areas my emotions can get the best of me.
This led me down the path to understand why uncontrolled emotions made their way into my life and what were the circumstances surrounding the situations that brought out those emotions? The pruning process is often deep, long, has many tentacles and would take far too long to delve into, but the end result was a realization that illogical emotional responses come out when I am sensing abandonment. My brain is wired to protect, that means I am often looking for situations where people may walk away from me and then reacting to that situation with raw emotion. It may be as simple as not feeling like I am part of a team, then reacting to that feeling. When the fact is there may be very logical reason why I am not part of that team or discussion, and it has absolutely nothing to do with me.
What does the healing process look like? For me it has happened through studying the book of Romans and reminding myself of who I am and what I am called to do.
- I am nothing without Him. “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Romans 3:10
- I am saved through Him. “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” Romans 3:22
- I find peace through Jesus. “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1
- The Spirit of God has revealed the best Big Brother and Father one could possibly have who will never abandon me. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again, rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” Romans 8:14-16
- I cannot control the situation, but I can put my trust in the one who knows. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
- Paul felt deep emotion, but it was controlled emotion. His faithfulness to God, emotion and love for people resulted in one of the most rational and logical books in the Bible, which clearly communicated the case for a covenant relationship with Jesus. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart” Romans 9:2
- The world around us often responds with illogical and selfish emotion, causing division and broken relationships. Only when we put away those things will we know God’s will. “Therefore,I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
There is so much more to this process for me because learning is never ending and it is mine; we all process and work through things differently. I have always tried to live my life in a very transparent manner, in hopes that someone who needed encouragement would find it. Writing is also very therapeutic for me; it is an outlet to bring things to conclusion and closure. Does it mean I have all of it figured out? Absolutely not, but it is the beginning of the end.
I will leave it here. We were created in the image of God, which means we have characteristics of our Father implanted into our DNA. He designed us for community, for deep covenant relationships with each other. That runs deep within us and I believe people are understanding that once again. Whether it be through exploring the shallow relationships of social media or being forced to stay away from loved ones. The fear of being hurt should never get in the way of relationships as long as we carry mercy and forgiveness in our heart. If you find yourself lonely and feeling helpless, then all you have to do is whisper, “Jesus show me your love.” He will wrap His arms around you and the journey will begin.