Desires—No Middle Ground

 

4449585823_c8893f33e8_zI recall the years of struggling with sexual addiction and calling out to God to take away the sexual desires, and wondering why He didn’t. After all, I thought, this was my struggle and God is supposed to help me to overcome my struggles! I did not realize that I was asking God to make me less of a human than he created me to be.

I was asking God to remove or help me overcome something that is natural. To desire is to be human; it is how we were created.

As Henri Nouwen wrote: “Desire is often talked about as something we ought to overcome. Still, being is desiring: our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls are full of desires. Some are unruly, turbulent, and very distracting; some make us think deep thoughts and see great visions; some teach us how to love; and some keep us searching for God.”

Recycling Pain

Recycle Pain 3In the city where I live, as in many cities in the United States, recycling is a routine way of handling the tons of trash produced daily.

The leader of our Celebrate Recovery often says, “God is in the recycling business; He recycles our pain.”

That statement is not new or original with this leader. It has been used in lessons for Celebrate Recovery and other recovery programs for years.

I can see parallels between the process I go through in order for the city to recycle my garbage and how God recycles our pain.

Recycle Your Pain

Pin Love --PainIn the city where I live, as in many cities, recycling is a routine way of handling the millions of tons of trash produced daily in the United States.

Recently the leader of our Celebrate Recovery said, “God is in the recycling business; He recycles our pain.”
That statement is not new or original with this leader. It has been used in lessons for Celebrate Recovery and other recovery programs for years.

But as I heard the statement this time, I saw parallels between the process I go through in order for the city to recycle my garbage and how God recycles our pain.

First Steps to Fully Embracing Who You Are

writingLast week I talked about how our struggle to truly embrace who we are is at the core of our difficulty with trusting others.

I want to offer a few suggestions to you in the process of fully embracing who you are.

Get out of your head. We all have the tendency to live in our heads. When you think about it that really is the worst place to live. In our heads we come up with the worst scenarios about our situation and ourselves.

When living in our heads, we seem to focus on our negative experiences, the things about us we do not like and do not want others to know about. We are usually not afraid to trust others with what we are good at or when we have a good idea. But we struggle to let others know about the negative or less than wonderful things. The truth is all people find themselves living here sooner or later.

Why We Find It Difficult to Trust Others

Trust thrown in airWhy do you find it so difficult to trust others? Why do you find it amusing when a child is honest and trusting? You were once like that child, completely trusting and honest with those around you. What has transpired from childhood to adulthood that now makes trusting others so difficult?

I have spoken with many people who say they know they need to start trusting others but they don’t know if they can. When I ask why, the typical answer is, “I am afraid others would judge me or not like me if they get to know the real me.” They also fear letting others know that they are struggling.

Why do we find it difficult to trust others with who we are?

Getting Along with Difficult People

Angry peopleWe have all encountered someone who we have a difficult time getting along with. Reasons vary for why we struggle to get along with some people, while we seem to have no problem with others.

With some, it is the short fuse or seemly uncontrollable anger. Others might have mood swings that make them hard to get along with because you can never tell what temper they’ll be in at any given time. Others are overly sarcastic. Then there are those who are never wrong and nothing is ever their fault; they are masters of blame-shifting.

We have all encountered someone who is challenging to be around, whether at home or work. It may be a family member, a neighbor, a friend or an acquaintance. As a matter of fact, sometimes we are the ones who are hard to get along with. But let me offer some guidance for getting along with difficult people.

When Listening is Most Difficult

Ears pluggedLast week I looked at listening as foundational to a healthy relationship. If you are to have and maintain healthy relationships at any level, you must learn to be a good listener.

Listening is most challenging during conflict. In such cases emotions run high, with anger being the dominant. When emotions run high, reason can hardly prevail. And without reason rising above emotions, conflict escalates, often leading to serious consequences for all involved. Many times in the middle of a conflict you may have heard the phrase, “You are not listening to me!” Or perhaps you used it yourself.

Good Listening is Foundational to Healthy Relationships

good talkTo be human is to be in relationship. We cannot survive without it. Whether you are a parent, neighbor, friend, spouse or a leader, you depend on healthy relationships to get along with others. The foundation on which all relationships are built is good communication. When communication is good, relationships are healthy; when communication is poor, relationships are poor as well. Regardless of whom you are relating to, good communication is the key to building and maintaining a healthy relationship.

Your Emotions Need Tending Too

Emotional self-careLast week we talked about “physical self-care” and the importance of caring for the temple of God – your body. This week, I would like to focus your attention on your “emotional self-care.”

Emotions are a fundamental part of being human. Anger. Jealousy. Joy. Sadness. Grief. Contentment. Love. All of these help you respond and interact with life and living. They impact how you think and behave.

To understand and appreciate the importance of emotional self-care, you need to think about what life is like when you neglect your emotional health.

Emotional self-neglect will often result in you being held captive by your emotions.

Choice – Don’t Give It Away

Choices stairs“Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.” – Viktor E. Frankl

How do you respond when life treats you unfairly? What do you do when you are hurt by someone you love and trust? How do you respond when things are done to you by powers beyond your control? We all have stories of pain and disappointment. The question is how do you allow your story (or stories) of pain and disappointment to affect and shape your life?