I'm on the 2nd read-through of Rhett Smith's book, THE ANXIOUS CHRISTIAN. And I'm thinking that it'll go down as one of the most important books I'll read and recommend this year. As I move through this volume with my Wednesday evening anxiety group, these courageous ladies are sharing more-than-profound insights that are making even my own seasoned head spin, and my heart burst with a deep gratitude for what the Holy Spirit does in lives who are fully committed to God and are willing to do the hard work of change.
After a decade of pastoral counseling, I believe that there are three pivotal moves we need to make in order to find the healing and freedom that we yearn for:
1. Look Back & Turn Over Every Stone
2. Take Responsibility For My Responses & Choices
3. Forgive & Release Others
Rhett's words are gamechangers, aimed at questions that swirl way in the back of our troubled hearts, where some very defensive, self-protective postures keep us tragically immobilized in the quicksand of going nowhere fast. Why should I look back? Why do I need to stop blaming others, and bravely take on the mantle of responsibility that I've avoided like the plague? And why is forgiveness is the only way to unshackle myself from the past?
'... if we fear looking back at the past, or downplay how the past has shaped us, we may never really learn who we are and how we have been wired ... Once we begin to see the patterns and how those interactions shaped who we are today, it provides a powerful opportunity for us to begin to understand ourselves better. In that awareness we are then freed to begin to make the changes we want in life. Without awareness and knowledge of who we are and how we were shaped in our family of origin, there is little motivation and opportunity to change the ways we have always operated.
Looking back provides us with the opportunity to review the past because the past is important. The past has shaped who we are presently, has a profound influence on how we react in times of fear or pain, and will continue to shape who we will be in the future ... As we look back at our families of origin and how they shaped us, we practice the biblical concept of remembering, and in doing so we can participate in the reshaping of who God has created us to be ... By participating in the process of remembering we are given the task to take responsibility for our lives.
Too many people look back at the past and fall prey to becoming a passive victim who shirks responsibility and in the process forfeits their present and future with God. It's important to understand how you became who you are today, but equally important to ask yourself who you want to be ...
Finally, this process also allows us the opportunity to exercise grace to ourselves and to others. As we muster up the courage to face our past, we may be surprised to realize that we weren't the only ones having a difficult time in life and struggling to make it day to day. As we review the past and take responsibility for our lives, we may begin to slowly realize that often our parents were doing the best they could. Maybe what you got from them was all they knew how to give. This is not to excuse areas in your life where parents should have been more present, more encouraging, less critical, etc. But maybe that knowledge may free you up enough to let go and live in freedom from the bondage of the past.'
Savor more ...
The question just begs to be asked as this post comes to a close. What are you going to do with what you've read today?