In Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, he says, “we were created by God and for God and until you figure that out, life isn’t going to make sense.”
Our lives here on earth are about being restored to man’s original state of innocence and embracing our distinctiveness to bring glory to God. We can certainly experience joy and happy times on earth, but God’s ultimate goal is to remake us into His image, allowing us to step into the glory for which we were created, to experience and have the influence He always intended. Nothing can possibly be more satisfying than returning to who we were created to be, and living from that place in intimate relationship with the Lord. As we confess Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, our hearts become burdened for those who are lost without an eternal vision or purpose; part of our purpose is to show them God’s love and provision.
There are two primary forces that inspire change in our lives: pain and vision. It is against our nature to experience pain (makes sense) and we will do whatever we can to find relief. We also are motivated to change through vision, seeing something that appeals to us or gives our lives meaning, purpose or pleasure, and will move us to attain it. These two phenomena are always active in our lives - responding to vision and managing pain. Rick Warren explains it this way, “I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don’t believe that anymore. Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.”
Healthy individuals understand that life is a process of responding to challenges that will develop greater character, usually involving pain. We are all familiar with the adage, “no pain, no gain.” Another aspect of growth is dealing with negative emotions that have been repressed from the past. Children are not responsible for, and do not know how to process pain from their childhood; many times this pain is contained in the body until maturity enables processing it. Much like a cyst encapsulates foreign matter in the body, humans have tendencies to fragment and encapsulate emotions. Those protected emotions are submerged into the subconscious so they can continue with their lives (essentially, this is a survival technique). It takes energy to keep past memories submerged and over time, this can cause a person to experience depression and other emotional health issues.
Denying that your heart has been wounded (and will continue to be wounded by imperfect people in an imperfect world) is like saying you are invincible. In fact, you have the same needs as anyone else and will suffer when your needs are overlooked, criticized, thwarted, etc. Part of your responsibility as an adult is to learn what your needs are and take responsibility for getting them met. A child does not have the sophistication to mentally articulate his or her needs or have the understanding or ability to meet them. Even the best parents miss the mark in meeting all their child’s needs because we are all limited in this ability.
The Lord makes provision for the process of unraveling negative emotions; He exhorts us to allow the Holy Spirit to regularly search our heart and bring those bruised places into the light so they can be healed. Our tendency is to deny that we have hurts in our hearts because we somehow surmise that admitting our pain and neediness makes us substandard or less than others who “seem to have it all together.” Healthy individuals see the process of honestly assessing themselves as a slice of the pie chart that represents the complete self. They don’t allow themselves to drown in self pity and morbid self absorption, but they do “deal with” the weak parts of themselves and the hurting parts, which pleases God and allows them to reach resolution.
Is there a step you can take today that will move you towards resolution?