Thursday, October 25, 2018

His Way or Your Way

It is in the middle that human choices are made; the beginning and the end remain with God. The decrees of God are birth and death, and in between those limits man makes his own distress or joy.  Shade of His Hand, 1223 L
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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

My Way vs God's Way

Recently, in a clinical session an image came alive.  Since then, this image has continued to communicate very deeply with me to explain so many struggles I see in most of my clients lives, my loved one's lives, and in areas or circumstances in my own life.  I would like to share it with you.

Reflecting on childhood

Remember your favorite playground from childhood?  There were so many fun places to play.  One favorite for most children is, the slide.  And oh, how slides have gotten more exciting right?!  Slides now are child safe, curly, and held by a massive pile of wood chips or bouncy mats.  Kids now have it very nice.  Think back to that time, childhood.  Maybe even a beautiful fall day, running through the cool breeze and sunshine, wearing your favorite sweatshirt, swinging, sliding, and going round and round on the merry-go-round and then, how children would congregate at the slide.  Everyone wanted to go again, and again, and again.  Some children would just naturally run to the stairs, climb, slide, and back to the stairs as fast as they could for another go!  Other children would naturally run to the bottom of the slide and attempt to climb up the actual slide-slipping, grasping, getting a couple feet, slipping, grasping harder, getting slidden into and then flying down to the bottom (and maybe onto the ground), with the current slider.  Laughing, wrestling, or maybe even arguing about who did it wrong or who hurt who.
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Typically, kids as a group will either join the "slide-climber" or they'll join the "stair-climber" because cooperation and group-think make social time much easier, serene, and more enjoyable.  Order.  Eventually, we all learn that taking the stairs is just easier and more safe.

Rules and Creativity

Of course there's always that mom who would re-direct that kid who just would not stop climbing the slide backwards no matter how many times he/she was knocked down by a slider.  That's the kid who is a true creative!  Maybe even a true rebel, at heart.  However, maybe that is the child who has learned that there are no rules because mom and dad cannot be trusted, do not care, are distracted, or do not approve of anything I do anyway.  So rules (made by parents and thus adults), become irrelevant and the new rule that can be trusted is, "I can trust in me.  I wont let me down."  But there's that mom who cannot sit back and watch the slide climbing and steps in to redirect. She has accepted that truth that the stairs are clearly easier and more safe, plus IT'S THE RULE!  WE MUST KEEP THE RULES!  Right?

The belief of the broken child above is the base belief that exists in those who struggle to submit to life's rules.  Consequently, a person with this belief regularly experiences being up against an oppressor, blocked by a wall, opposed by loved ones, kept out of their dreams and just shy of a goal/s.  See, there are hidden or dynamic rules that play out between humans.  There is not even a requirement of actual relationship for these rules to apply.  They apply small scale in such interactions as with a retail clerk or behaviors out in public, medium scale as with co-workers or in employment relations, and large scale in our homes between spouses, parents and children. The rules seem to be universal, innate, divine, and unshakable.  They are bound to the way we want to see the world operate: with order, not chaos.

Finding Order

In order for order to exist, people must function within a particular continuum of behaviors, cognitions, emotions, perceptions, choices, etc.  This does not mean they do not experience the aforementioned characteristics that land outside the particular continuum.  But in order to keep order in every area of their life they withhold their extremes of self and funnel them into other more positive activities or expressions.  A great sublimation, as Freud would say!  To put this thought into image, look to the childhood slide again.  Do you see it in your mind?  Where are you standing? Are you standing away from it but looking at it?  Are you standing at the bottom or climbing from the bottom?  Are you standing at the stairs or climbing the stairs?

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Rule keepers tend to go to the stairs every time without error.  They may consider the bottom but will thwart themselves from such trouble-making curiosities in order to not make waves.  This is the safer option of the two as order is created and maintained, but individuation is smothered with unquestioned or little-questioned rule keeping.  Rebels or those who heavily rely on themselves tend to go to the bottom of the slide every time or most of the time because no one is going to tell me what is right for me!  And no one is going to control me, no matter what!  The self and its evaluation of faithfulness to its natural inclinations is valued over relationship with others.  

Rule Followers and Rule Breakers

Where did you see yourself in relation to the slide?  This may be your innate or root self speaking to you about your own tendency towards being a rule follower or a rule breaker.  Do you think that never deviating from the stairs, no matter what comes is orderly?  Most likely this would create disorder or chaos in the face of a need for individual expression, crisis, loss, disaster, or change.  To counter that thought, do you think that always taking the bottom of the slide to climb up is honoring yourself or being true to yourself??  To the contrary, it will become imprisonment to all the demands within yourself and all the emotions, thoughts, and impulses a person can and when fed, will experience. 

Again, some of us learned early that the rules were not fair, did not make sense, and maybe even caused us harm.  And so to counter that harm, rules (with many being societal, relational, spiritual, and unspoken but expected), became something to be challenged, defied, resisted, and ignored.  Sadly, this consequently causes blindness over time.  See, the consequences of consistently ignoring or defying these types of "rules" is that of growing and burgeoning emotional pain.  Having used denial to counter the anxiety over defying or breaking these "rules" we then become blind to the "hows" and "whys" of our negative internal condition. We forgot to follow ourselves, watch ourselves because we told ourselves what we were doing was right!!  Now, we may have a tendency towards anger, selfishness, self-sabotage, isolation, blame, hardness, and being emotionally unavailable.  

Powerful Questions

Ask yourself:  Have I never realized that its more work to climb the slide from the bottom??
Ask yourself:  Have I never realized that I exist too and I can climb the ladder my way and                                          sometimes a different way?

It's all about the combination of heart condition and disciplined actions.  In-other-words, order is supremely more important than chaos, but it takes a wee bit of chaos to make order sweet!!  A person must make sure that they are an individual in their world, but remember individuality is not defined by rebellion or resistance or even defying order.  In fact, individuality is most often found when willingly submitting to a higher power, service to others, a shared value system, virtue and its behavioral framers, sacrificial love, and universal human values.  Individual expression is healthy chaos to totalitarian order.  But individual expression is not destructive to the self or others in any way.  It will build you, your personality, your relationships, and your ability to function peacefully in your world.  There is a strongly submissive element--an acceptance of what "works" but, there is also freedom to make what "works" my own. 

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Stepping Out

So, step out from the place you have been stuck in.  Step out and consider the other option.  What scares you about making that choice?  Confront those fears with Gods love and His ability to protect, provide, and care for all your needs.  Where have you been unwilling to obey God?  Most likely in the things/ways hidden or more difficult for others to see or talk to you about.  But you know!  And that is what counts.  Break free from ambivalence and start the process of growing your motivation to obey your higher power and do what's been nagging your heart!!  God will meet you there.  He has been patiently waiting for this moment.

God's Way Christian Counseling Coon Rapids, MN

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).

If you're ready to step out and are not sure what that looks like, Veritas Counseling is ready to help.  I offer an initial consultation so we can get to know each other and confirm we're the right fit.  Learn more about my Christian counseling services.