Last Week’s Horns. . .
Last week when I wrote the blog post; I was sittin’ on the horns of a dilemma! And it was not a pleasant place to be.
But time marches on and as it does; Papa God removes the sting from the horns and resolves the dilemma to our benefit. I must admit not before the pain in my butt became more uncomfortable and a heartbreaking realization pained my spirit. But that’s not the focus for today.
Today’s focus is a way to avoid letting dysfunctional folks and situations invade our personal (and professional) lives causing a very unpleasant stint on the horns of a dilemma!
Henry Cloud and Boundaries. . .
If you haven’t discovered Christian clinical psychologist Henry Cloud, I encourage you to find him and follow on Facebook. Even better is to gather up his books and learn why he talks almost exclusively about boundaries; their importance and why boundaries are definitely Biblical and a must for mature Christian woman and men.
Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer is a Cloud post from May 27 this year. The following quote introduces the post and sets the stage for my thoughts as to how boundaries, horns, dilemmas and Papa’s healing is a critically important aspect of our maturing growth as Christian business women. . .
“God is a person who does certain things that produce life, over and over again. And, he has created us in his image, able to do those same things. We are to be “like him,” living healthy lives. So, as we grow in his image, doing what he does, healing occurs as a result. I began to understand that salvation equals healing, just as the Greek word implies. Said another way: The more that God helps us to become like him, bearing his image, we get well. So what does that look like? As I wrote in my book “Changes That Heal,” I think this happens in four basic areas:” (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
First there was One!
Emotional Connections: Henry Cloud teaches us that God forms emotional connections, i.e. the trinity. God is in a bonded relationship with Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s a never-ending, “unbroken” relationship and that since we are made in His image, we are capable of having unbroken relationships as well. In other words, we are made for relationship; for connecting emotionally with others and forming relationships that remain in our mutual lives for the entirety of our lives. As Cloud writes:
“Our inability to get close to others and establish deep emotional connections are at the root of many of our problems. God is a connector, and is restoring our ability to connect as well. As he does, we get well. (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
There was a period of nearly a year when Papa God took away every significant relationship in my life except close relatives, i.e. Mother and daughters. It was an exceedingly lonely time in which many heartbreaking circumstances became the norm. The only person I had to turn to was my heavenly Papa. Had I not realized what Papa God was doing, I would have become ill from the lack of emotional connections with folks who were a lifeline for me. The “boundary” Papa God placed on my life kept out the emotionally close in order to establish a deeper emotionally close relationship with the most important one for us all. . . Him!
Then There was Two!
Freedom, Boundaries and Limits: Somewhat related to my experience of having all emotional connections held at bay for nearly a year; the second important aspect of our healing and growth in Christian maturity, is the next Cloud observation:
“Second, God is able to be free from the ones he loves, and have boundaries and limits. Said another way, he stands up to the ones he is in relationship with, and sets limits when He is violated. He is not an “enabler.” In addition, he is free from being controlled by those that he loves.” (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
Cloud states that much of our lack of health is the result of not establishing the same kind of boundaries that Papa God has. If God stands up to evil and sets limits; it stands to reason that we ought do so as well. Boundaries and limits are absolutely Biblical. And Papa seeks to restore our ability to set them in our personal lives as well. It takes the kind of maturity-in-Him to do so. But “Again, as he restores His image, we get well.“
I can attest that although an adult woman, I had to grow up spiritually. And I had to set boundaries with some pretty scary folks; like my late husband and then my Mother. I recall the 1st time I asked Alan Fitzgerald to have the car for a day. He asked why; I said to go to Indianapolis to which he responded, “you can’t do that!” Long story short; I got the car and yes, I went to Indianapolis for the day. Just writing the words is a breath of fresh free air! Saying to my Mother to call before just stopping at our house was a sweaty palms and armpits experience. To this day, my daughter’s and I never just drop by each other’s homes. We also ask if it’s okay and best time to do so. Just common courtesy is what we say to each other. . .
As for standing up to evil; that is where I was this past week after climbing down from the horns. Some behaviors are so devastating and debilitating to us that they can only be described as “evil”. Slowly but consistently Papa God healed the hurt, strengthened my spirit, took my courage and stood it up straight and renewed my heart and mind with the knowledge that I’m a big girl, wear big girl pants and “greater is He that is in my than in the world.” As I asked Him to forgive them; He healed my fearful heart!
No wonder the Cloud post struck a chord for me. . . (I just realized this is going to be a very long post. . . but hopefully one that speaks to at least one of our readers!)
The Not So Perfect Third. . .
A Perfect World: Third in Cloud’s opinion is we are made to live in a perfect world. And the world is anything but perfect. Our expectations far exceed reality and when that fact smacks us in the face, we may see ourselves as bad, unlovable or worthless. But a fallen world yields fallen individuals with personal imperfections as well as the same in those we love and those we will encounter throughout our lives. Oh woe is me and woe is you; yet. . .
“God is able to deal with this reality through being able to grieve and forgive, and at the same time hold on to the “good.” Said another way, even when we sin, through forgiveness and processing his pain, he still holds on to love. He can put it all together.” (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
But we are not Him. We fail to live up to our personal expectations and want to give up and sit down for the rest of our lives. Or when someone else fails to live up to our expectations; or commits an atrocity that hurts to the core; forgiveness escapes us.
“Or, when we are hurt, we find it difficult to process that pain and instead we deny it and stuff it. What happens when we do that is we carry it around forever, and feel the effects of our “baggage.” (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
Cloud is correct when he says that as God “redeems His image in us”, we get better at forgiving (them and us) and we get better at processing personal pain and dealing with it in a mature manner as we learn to grieve as God does.
“The fruit of this spiritual growth is that we get healthier and healthier, resolving the pain of all of the hurts and disappointments that have happened to us along the way.” (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
Finally The Future Can Be Ours. . .
“All Grown Up!” Cloud’s 4th belief about how change heals us is that God leads us into adulthood. We may be 80 but if we’re new in the Lord; we’re a babe. Dr. Cloud says “we are born “little people in a big person’s world,” and we feel inferior and “one-down.” Certainly those who have a traumatic childhood may stay stuck in the ways of a child; but most of us are fortunate to have had fairly stable childhoods. Yet, real maturity as adults eludes us because we fail to let the God of our being change us through the salvation process.
Salvation means healing, and unless we let Papa God do it His way; we’ll remain a little person in a big world and never experience the joyous freedom of mature Christian adulthood. Our afflictions “show us that we really do not feel equal to other adults, capable of mutuality and living out our gifts without fear.” (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
I’m adding the entirety of the following paragraph from Henry Cloud’s post because I couldn’t say it any better. And I think we need to let his words sink in and be a source of healing that only a loving heavenly Papa God can bring to our lives. . .
“This was one of Jesus’ main emphasis, as he constantly told us that we “are all brothers,” and that no one is better than anyone else. (Matt. 23:8-12) He called us to be equal adults, living out our talents and taking authority over our lives. When we assume this adult position, we come out of the “one-down” judgment and people-pleasing that causes so many emotional and relational problems. We take responsibility for our talents, and lives, and begin to produce fruit. We speak out, expressing opinions and beliefs. As God grows us up from the child position to the adult position, we get well. Again, as we are saved, we are healed.” (Addressing Mental Health Goes Beyond Prayer)
There’s more richness in the entire post and I’ll add the link here so you can read it all. But I used it as the basis for this week’s sharing because it says so eloquently what life has been like for me this past week as I climbed down from the horns; pulled up my big girl panties and took the sword of the Spirit and the backbone of a warrior to confront evil attitudes and motivations I was downright timid to do so before the horns of a dilemma arrived in my life.
If you’ve come into a relationship with the Lord of the Universe; then He is in you and you are in Him. Stop being so darn timid because He isn’t. Let Him create the circumstances that will grow you up and make salvation healing a living reality in your lives.
There’s More, But Not Before There’s Now. . .
Next week; I’m going to talk about why we are made for “community“. Why we are a tribe people! Not just any tribe mind you; but tribe nonetheless. You won’t want to miss it. But in the meantime, let the words of this post and the great Henry Cloud be a source of growth and healing during the coming 7 days in June!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
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