Monday, January 14, 2013
Tools for Healing
God wants to heal us. If there is one thing I've learned over the years it is that God desires to heal us more than we desire it ourselves. Christ came to heal the wounds of sin and this healing begins in time. That may seem pretty obvious to many but you'd be surprised at what I hear at times. One of the oddest is that we aren't healed until we reach Heaven. Yes, I've heard this statement a few times too often. Until that time we are left to our own devices. When I think about it I realize that this type of thinking makes God seem...well...
As if He withholds healing and grace at whim depending on his mood that day.
That sounds more like us, if you ask me.
Many times we are blocking the healing in some way. We may not like to hear that we still have a lot of inner work that needs to be done.
Pride may be a factor.
We are impatient and want God to heal us instantly but very often we need to learn things about ourselves first. What if He gave you an enormous healing but because you have certain patterns of behavior or thinking that aren't healthy you end up right back where you started? Wouldn't that be worst? God wants to heal us...but He wants it to stick.
God's not going to heal an area that you refuse to let Him touch so the first thing to do is to invite Him into the area you are asking Him to heal. A simple prayer like this is fine:
Jesus, I am in deep need of emotional healing and I ask you to begin to bring healing to this area of my life. Today, I place my emotions under your gentle mastery and I place my trust in your healing love.
Here are some things to consider:
~ Naming your emotions - This is very important for those who have suppressed their emotions for years.
The first step in naming your emotions isn't so much getting this right as it is becoming aware that you have emotions...and very strong ones at that.
~ Feeling these emotions and bringing them to God in prayer. If I cannot do this during the course of the day then I do it at bedtime when I go over my day with the Lord.
~Pay attention to your emotional responses to others. Years ago, the Lord made me aware that I sometimes used my emotions to manipulate others instead of speaking clearly and addressing the problem.
~ Many of us were taught that certain emotions were sinful and this is why we suppressed them. Though our brain may tell us it's ridiculous, we automatically feel guilt when we become angry. If you look back into your earlier years you may find that this is a conditioned response. Anger in itself is not a sin - it's what you do with the anger that becomes the problem (taking it out on others, sitting and stewing in it).
~ Exerting rigid control over your emotions is draining and they'll "leak" out in various ways if you don't address them as they come.
~Using religion to cover up the inner work that needs to be done (doing more and more outwardly to mask inner conflict/ attempting to change others before changing yourself - excessive religiosity). An example would be a person who focuses too much on the outward signs of religion while neglecting the inner because their pride won't accept the need for personal change.)
~ Be aware of the connection between suppressed emotions and the Seven Deadly Sins (For example
"stuffing" your emotions with food. Addictions are common among suppressors because they deal with emotions in an unhealthy fashion. If gluttony (over-eating, alcoholism, substance abuse, over-exercising, etc..) seems to be a particular problem for you this may be a sign that you need to work on your emotions. Sloth, too, has a connection with the emotions. They all do.You may have a better chance of overcoming these if you address the area of your emotions first.
Here's a quick list of tools and tips that may be helpful:
~Generational healing/ healing of the family tree
- Intergenerational Healing by Fr. Robert DeGrandis
-Healing Your Family Tree by Fr. John Hampsch
- Life Missions, Family Healing by Michael H. Brown
-Claretian Teaching Ministry (website)
-Camelot Warfare Library (website)
- Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing by Fr. Dwight Longenecker
- Healing Through the Mass by Fr. Robert DeGrandis
- Catholic Therapists.Com - There are some good articles here
~Naming your emotions - don't worry if you are wrong at first, the point is to notice that you actually have the entire package of feelings.
~Accepting your emotions - don't immediately push them away without attempting to discover what they are trying to tell you. While emotions are certainly not the first thing we should rely on, they can still give us a great deal of information about ourselves. Give them their place but make sure you don't give them first place. As I wrote in a previous post, you cannot master your emotions if you are unable/unwilling to express them -they will always master you. Whether subtly or overtly, if ignored, they will exert an influence on you.
~Paying attention/going over your day with the Lord.
~Reading the Psalms. David was a very passionate man and the Psalms express many different emotions. He never hid them from God, but rather, expressed them freely in prayer. This is a good model for us to use.
The glory of God is a human being fully alive.