Summary: Whether we have begun the journey to emotionally healthy spirituality long ago or just starting, there is a crucial element that we must grasped in order support us during any of our difficult emotional trials.
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Rooted on God’s Love
October 11, 2009
Two weeks ago we explored just three ways that we function in unhealthy emotional health. There are many more that those of us who are involved in the small group study will uncover. I just wanted to give you a taste of the three that I have observed to be the most prevalent.
This week I want to turn to the gift of the anchor. This anchor is what keeps us centered. It is the foundation upon which we build a healthy emotional spirituality.
People can be taught and do many of the things that help us grow spiritually: learning to pray, go to worship each week, give financially, attend a small group, discover and use your spiritual gift in ministry, and tell others about Jesus. These are all excellent things. But because we never get below the surface, all the dysfunction and entrenched behavior patterns of our past usually never change or dealt with unless we are forced to. We are left with a ten new things to feel guilt about.
On the other hand, I have know some very emotional secure and mature individuals that never have stepped foot in a church. I know several non-Christians who are more loving, more civil, and more balanced than many church members (even more than me!)
Yet there is one advantage that the follower of Jesus has over those outside such a relationship. We have root or foundation in God’s love. When we are secure in God’s love, we can face our fears, deal with the wreckage of the past with annihilating oneself, and to affirm our intrinsic self-worth. This indwelling power helps deal with the most difficult situations that may weigh us down. Check out Ephesians 3:16-19.
As you find your place, did you know that Noah did not do any fishing while on the ark. You would think that fishing would be a staple while you wait for the water to recede. But I guess he didn’t fish. How do we know this? Because he only had two worms!
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Despite years of studying the bible, small groups, and attending church here are some of the messages that people tell themselves internally. We could describe this as the internal answering machine. These are the tapes that play over and over that nobody hears but that we have internalized over the years. They are deeply held negative beliefs that we have picked up from our families and our culture. “I am a mistake. I am a burden. I am stupid. I am worthless. I am a bad ‘whatever’-mother, father, husband, wife, son, daughter, sister, brother. I am not allowed to make mistakes. I must be approved of by certain people to feel okay. I don’t really have the right to experience joy and pleasure (it is amazing how so many people who feel this way gravitate toward Christianity especially rigid Christianity). I should not assert myself and say what I think and feel. I don’t have a right to feel. My value comes from—my intelligence, wealth, job, role, what I do—not for who I am.”
And this is actually the first benefit of being rooted in God’s love
Rooted in God’s Love
• Affirmation of our worth
Because God loves as we are, I am worthy of feeling emotions. I’m worthy of being alive. I am lovable because God first loved me. Jesus died a horrendous death because God loves me. Nothing I do can change that. To live in any other reality (such as the tape that we play that says that we are really worthless) is to undermine what Jesus did on the cross. Those negative tapes are lies that need to be replaced by the Truth: Jesus. We may have to confront these negative self messages and discover where they came from and why we hold onto them so tightly.
Those outside spiritual circles have to find that sense of self-worth within. This is difficult when the negative tapes within contradict the idea that we are worthy of being alive. When we discover that unchanging love of God, nothing outside of us can alter the idea that we are of incredible value to God. Once we experience it, this reality becomes an anchor that holds in place no matter what storms try to blow us away.