God is in the business of healing and restoring our relationships like never before. The struggles we all face show us that we need to grow deeper in love and stronger in who we are.
God is a Father, so His highest priority is to mature the identity of His sons and daughters. The manifestation of this is more powerful and fruitful relationships. The more we seek to grow in how we connect to each other, the greater we can stand as one when the storms rage against us.
But I am not going to sugar coat it. This is so much easier said than done.
Look at most of the struggles you face in your life. Odds are most of them surround the world of your relationships. What makes you angry? What are you disappointed about? What losses and attacks are you recovering from? What issues create stress and discomfort the most?
The answers to those questions reveal the health of our hearts and the relational fruitfulness we are experiencing. The spiritual attacks we face reveal our greatest potential, but also our greatest vulnerability. If we don’t make changes soon, we’ll crumble under rubble of relationship meltdowns.
The Need for Relationship Healing
Years ago I set out to share my passion for heart healing and transformation to whoever would listen. In my my heart, I couldn’t help but sense a Red Cross sign over the door posts of churches and communities. Something in me was receiving signals that the church was in desperate need of healing and restoration. The problem is that the people of God were not understanding the depth of this need.
Since my own personal transformation experience, I have had a passion to see believers break through their painful imitations and grow into their full potential. Yet so many are not aware that their unaddressed brokenness is sabotaging their effectiveness.
My journey has taken me into a wide variety of settings, where conflicts of all kinds are present. From working out communication issues on a construction site to mediating strife-filled situations amongst church members, I’ve rolled up my sleeves in some of the most heart breaking dilemmas amongst people. I have also had personal experience witnessing the most abusive actions come out of the most unexpected people.
My path of calling has led me to witness first-hand the broken down relational world that exists behind the scenes. Sadly, the devastation is getting more and more intense.
I also had to arrive face to face with my own personal brokenness and the effect that it has had on my own world. When I took my healing seriously, everything in my life began to change.
Pulling Back the Curtain
I have made acquaintances with folks that did not appear to be broken from an outside glance. Their marriages and families resembled the “cookie cutter” picture we all dream of attaining. Yet beneath their exterior were trails of unresolved pain and bondage. These struggles festered under the surface and eventually exploded into public view. Most people were stunned when the truth was revealed and the family issues were brought into the light.
More people than I care to admit are dissolving from the inside out. Some situations are more outwardly evident, while others knew how to hide the problems behind various masks of denial.
It is important to note that the majority of people I am talking about are professing Christians. These are well-intentioned believers who slowly erode spiritually, emotionally and even physically, never realizing their God-given potential.
These tragic stories did not occur overnight. The breakdown took place slowly over the course of time. I was no longer surprised to hear that there were deep addictions, marital division and torment taking place in the lives of people that I crossed paths with every day.
There were people in the church that no one seemed to know how to help or even how to deal with. Included in this group were those who were constantly tormented mentally to some degree, or who simply battled issues of the mind that they could not resolve themselves.
There were also those who had been deeply wounded in their past or were abused during their upbringing and had no idea how to resolve their painful history. In addition, I found a large percentage of well-meaning saints dabbling in addictions: illegal and legal drugs, pornography, gambling, eating disorders or others various vices.
Assessing the Damage
I also witnessed the dysfunctional relational patterns exhibited by many. The impact of these behaviors on others in the community had a cringing effect. With no resources to help them, these people were just tolerated or avoided by those around them. (Forget the fact that you as the reader might be one of those people!)
Amongst these challenging scenarios were people who constantly desired the spotlight and passionately looked for ways to get the attention of others. There were those who were so needy, they drained the emotions of everyone and left those they came in contact with exhausted with their never ending need to be validated.
There were many others who seemed to magnetically attract conflict everywhere they went. Wherever they went, conflict and strife followed. They would leave a church and bring their baggage to a new one. It seemed the more you reached out to them in an attempt to move towards resolution, the worse the situation got. What was being said in love was not what was being heard. This miscommunication yielded anger and gossip was spread. In the process, the names of good-intentioned people, who were only trying to help bring healing to the situation, were maligned.
Pastors and church leaders are not immune from these problems. In fact, their unaddressed brokenness infected many in their tribe with multiplying impact. The brokenness of the heart can be hidden for only so long until it seeps out and pollutes how people in the church body are engaged.
Getting to the Root System
As a student of root issues and their effects on people’s lives, it is clearly evident to me that there is a common core problem that exists amongst our daily battles. The patterns I have described all involve relational breakdown to some degree. Many times these breakdowns come out of a place where love has been tainted or compromised in someone’s life. The majority of problems that lead someone to seek help from a counselor, therapist, pastor or leader typically involve some kind of relational breakdown.
Many times people lacked healthy love relationships and the damage from being “unloved” was breeding a toxic way of thinking. These individuals tend to see the world through a lens clouded by this pain, like a smearing of mud that keeps their vision from being sound and clear. They tend to project stories onto other based on their past hurt, while blaming their predicaments on everyone else. The reality is that deep down inside, large voids exist that have never been fulfilled or satisfied. The unresolved pain of the past has never being fully recognized and healed.
Two Choices Left For Us All
I am very certain that people will find themselves in one of two groups when it comes to transformation in the years ahead. People in the first group will take the painful experiences in life, shove them down, deny them or spiritualize them away. They will continue to put on a false front to the world, dive into their busy lives and use avoidance at every opportunity. They make sure to never have to deal with the areas of their heart that need healing.
On the contrary, the second group will be very courageous. They will recognize the pain in their life and be willing to walk through a process that allows for change and renewed living. As a part of their journey, they will take personal responsibility for change, preferring to be whole rather than living in denial. They will allow God to perform a powerful, yet sometimes uncomfortable, process of authentic transformation from the inside out. They will submit themselves to reworking how they deal with and process relationships on all levels.
The decision is, what group will you be in?
Will you make the decision to let God upgrade how you do relationship by healing your heart issues?
Or will denial continue to keep you from the breakthrough?
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