I've been preparing my Sunday "talk" on spiritual and inner healing. Pain and suffering are a given in the human journey. How God can "reframe" our inner hurts and memories are a key aspect of what it means to be in a transformational relationship with God and should be normative for Kingdom people. Only when we have experienced God's peace can we be people of peace for others. Giving hope to ourselves also gives us an opportunity to give others hope as a gift. I'm not going to post the entire talk…but I am going to share with you a "handout" that I composed (some adapted from notes I've picked up over the years) to outline some essential personal "beliefs" that keep us grounded in reality and looking for personal, inner "health" in constructive ways. So, here you go:
The Rules of Being Human
You were created to be in relationship with God. Find your identity, purpose and meaning there. All other substitutes will fail you.
You were created to be a relational being. Get used to people…you will be stuck with them for eternity.
You will receive a body as a gift. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for as long as you live as God’s gift. How you take care of it or fail to take care of it can make an enormous difference in the quality of your life.
You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time, informal school called Life. Each day, you will be presented with opportunities to learn what you need to know. The lessons presented are often completely different from those you think you need.
There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error and experimentation. You can learn as much from failure as you can from success. Maybe more. Suffering is often the ONLY way that your attention can be pried away from your obsession on yourself. God works in and through pain and suffering bringing about “resurrection” in surprising ways.
A lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it (as evidenced by a change in your attitude and ultimately your behavior) then you can go on to the next lesson. God’s mercy flows through mistakes and the recovery from the mistake.
Learning lessons does not end. There is no stage of life that does not contain some lessons. As long as you live there will be something more to learn.
“There” is no better than “here”. When your “there” has become a “here” you will simply discover another “there” that will again look better than your “here.” Don’t be fooled by believing that the unattainable is better than what you have.
Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself. When tempted to criticize others, ask yourself why you feel so strongly.
What you make of your life is up to you. You have been given personal tools and resources. What you create with those tools and resources is up to you. It is your responsibility. Be careful not to define your “success” culturally but by means of God's Kingdom. You cannot keep up with the "Jones, Garcias, Chins, or Swensons." Be grateful for what your life is. Jesus says “successful” living is seen in our desire to love God and love others.
The answers don’t always lie inside of you. There are those who want you to believe that you are your own god. You are not…solutions to problems in life are definitely within your ability to grasp but not all solutions. You need to do is ask, look, listen and trust God.
You are only as “sick” as your secrets. Stuff that you “stuff” inside of you will fester and infect your heart. Transparency and authenticity is how you were created to live.
Whatever you pay attention to will get “bigger.” Focus on pain and it will get worse…focus on problems and they get bigger…focus on God and God will be “magnified” as your problems are put in a new perspective.
You will keep doing what you are doing until it costs you more than you are willing to pay. Emotional pain is costly. Overtime it will kill relationships and drag you down. You are in control of what you stop and start in your life.
Learn now that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.
Learn NOW that no matter how much you care some people just don't care back. You can’t force someone to care for you. You can only give care.
Learn NOW that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. Trust is “truth in relationship.” Once that true shatters, it takes a while for truth again to reign.
Learn now that your background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become. “I am responsible for my life”…say that every day. Blaming not only doesn’t help but it is doesn’t do any good. You are responsible for what you do, no matter how you feel.
You either control your attitude or it controls you. Attitudes are infectous so spread a good one.
Yes, we all get angry. You have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give you the right to be cruel. No matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that. All relationships grow in and through chaos and subsequent forgiveness. Accept that as a fact or find yourself very lonely.
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself. You are actually a person who does not love yourself enough.
Parents, no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt, and you will hurt in the process. You can’t hover over them or protect them from everything. It is true, “no pain, no gain.”