There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a crooked little house.
A Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme
I always loved this nursery rhyme. Even as an adult I can relate to this "crooked man who walked a crooked mile". Every part of his life was crooked and I wonder if he was even aware how crooked everything in his life was? Or, did everything look straight from his crooked perspective?
Sometimes we are not even aware of just how crooked and skewed our perspective on life is and things look straight to us when they are really off kilter. We have a difficult time discerning the truth about things. For example, look at what's going on around the earth right now.
It hasn't escaped my notice that even the earth rotates on a tilted axis. I sometimes kid around with the Lord and ask if He did it on purpose to make up for our skewed vision. "I'll just tilt them a bit to the right since they tend to list to the left by nature."
I know, that is sooo...not funny ;) Plus, it doesn't really tilt to the right - it all depends on how we look
But the point I'm making is that we often don't even see our own "crookedness". We are bent but since everyone around is bent too it's not as obvious as it should be.
Or it wasn't...until someone who was not bent at all stepped into the picture. He came and taught us how we should live. He laughed and He cried. He grieved and felt fear. He got angry. He was not afraid to show his emotions.
In my last post I spoke about the difficulties we face when we stifle or bury our emotions. We may lack peace and joy in our lives or feel as if something is missing. We feel far from complete. I think the first thing some of us may need to understand is that all people have the same basic emotions as we do. God didn't parcel out joy to one, sadness to another, fear to the third - it just doesn't work this way. Yes, each person is unique and some emotions may take precedence over others depending on the person's individual personality but God doesn't withhold joy on a whim. Temperaments are different but we all carry the full package of emotions.
So where do those who need emotional healing start?
As I wrote in a previous post a good place to begin may be with the way you see yourself. I say this because it's much more difficult to accept the healing that the Lord longs to do if you don't love yourself. I'm not talking about the negative kind of self-love that is selfish and self-serving - I'm talking about the kind of love that stems from the knowledge that God loves you totally and completely. The bad kind of self-love stems from loving the false you - the one you created (with the help of others), not the real you that God created in his image and likeness. The reason why I published the post on self-image first is because we have to be able to accept gifts freely. How can God heal someone who pushes away the gift He offers? (I don't deserve this gift, etc...) God's grace is not about deserving, it's not performance related. We have to cut loose wrong thinking such as:
If I try hard enough to please Him maybe God will heal me. Many of us realize that this type of faulty thinking doesn't come from God but usually stems from an upbringing that was based on conditional love... and there may have been many, many, conditions to receiving this love. These messages may have been spoken or they may have been silent messages - love withheld for performance reasons that leave a child in a place of trying to earn love all the time. The problem with this is that we take these spoken or unspoken messages into adulthood with us and continue with that "people pleasing" mentality. And it never, ever works. Just take a look at the performance based society we live in and then take a look at the fruit it has borne. Abortion is another fruit of this type of thinking.
God works things the other way around. First you are loved and all else that you do proceeds (or should) from this love. Mother Teresa knew God's love and her great works proceeded from this love.
Man, if you only knew how hard God has had to pound this into my head. "You are loved not for what you do but for who you are - my child." I was a people pleasing, performance based thinker through and through. I still battle with this at times. No wonder the Scripture, "And Pilot, wanting to please the crowd, released to them Barabbas" always bothered me so much. This people pleasing thing had to go. The work wasn't the problem, the thinking was. (Remember when I mentioned the "double yoke" syndrome in a previous post? Here's another reason for it.)
The performance based life makes you feel like a puppet, the love based life frees you. This base matters very much. It's far easier to do things from a position of love. Think of the word "performing"-
doesn't it make you think of acting or pretending? God doesn't like "performing" either - we are people, not trained monkeys. (Please note : I am not speaking about the theological issue of justification here but rather our having a firm foundation of love to stand on.)
A big plus of working from a love base versus a performance base is that the first allows grace free reign while the second stifles it.
So, the question is:
Are we living out our lives from the solid base of God's love? From our true selves? Or does the way we live proceed from the very shaky foundation of trying to please others (performing/ego boosting).
I stress this love base so much because in order for us to receive the emotional healing we need we have to trust God and feel safe in His Presence because that's exactly where we want to place ourselves to receive this healing. If we don't have this confidence we will more than likely get up and walk away the minute our "avalanche of suppressed emotion" really starts dislodging. Especially if you were taught that certain emotions were sinful. But here's a comforting thought: God already knows everything that is within you (the good, the bad, and the ugly and some of it is very ugly) and has loved you up until now so it's safe to let this stuff out because you aren't hiding anything from Him anyway.
Emotional healing often comes through prayer. If we don't recognize that God is doing this interior work in us we may mistake it for harassment during prayer. I was afraid at first when "emotional junk" started coming up during my prayer sessions years ago. There were times when my entire prayer session strictly consisted of this kind of upheaval. I used to battle it until I figured out what was going on. Over time, I began to notice how much better I felt within a day or two after these sessions. As if huge burdens were lifted off of me.
We can ask God specifically for this type of healing too. He certainly knows we all need it to some degree or another.
Another thing that has helped me tremendously is praying for intergenerational healing and healing of the family tree. This had an enormous effect on my life. I noticed some immediate changes after going through these series of prayers. If there is a lot of "yuck" in your family history this may be a good area to hit. I had a grandfather who was a 32nd degree Mason and I will go so far as to say it's crucial to do this if any of your ancestors were involved with freemasonry or any other type of occult activity.
We had other issues in our family line but none as detrimental as this. It was worst than everything else all put together. Freemasonry and Christianity can never be mixed.
In my next post I'll share some other tools and resources that have been helpful to me. God gives us so many avenues of healing that it is a shame if we don't reach out and grasp them. When one person in a family is healed the whole clan reaps the spiritual benefits of it.
Especially the children.
Intense love does not measure, it just gives.