Fully Living—Fully Loving Part I
"Love one another."1
There's an old story about a school teacher who injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. It fit under his shirt and was not noticeable.
On the first day of the term, still with the cast under his shirt, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in school. Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, he opened the window as wide as possible and then busied himself with desk work. When a strong breeze made his tie flap, he took the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.
He had no trouble with discipline that term!
Sometimes it would be nice if life were that simple; that is, if we could wear a plaster cast around our heart so our feelings wouldn't ever get hurt!
Not so. Life isn't that simple. The problem is that when we put a cast or wall around our hurt feelings, that same cast also blocks out our warm and loving feelings! We turn into zombies.
We happen to be feeling beings. Can you imagine what life would be like without emotions? As another has said, it would be like playing a trombone with a stuck slide; that is, deadly dull and boring. The truth is that when our emotions are repressed we are characteristically bored with life.
I've led seminars and taught classes on relationships and recovery for many years and the number one complaint I hear from women on both sides of the Pacific is a variation on the theme, "My husband doesn't understand my feelings and doesn't share his." No wonder so many relationships fall apart at the seams. Without being in touch with one's inner self (his/her emotions) there is no intimacy and no real closeness. Such couples live together alone apart—and their relationship dies a little every day.
Furthermore, when we hide and subsequently bury our feelings, we never bury them dead but very much alive. In so doing, in one way or another they come back to taunt us. What we fail to talk out creatively, we inevitably act out destructively in one way or another. We can act out buried negative feelings by lashing out in anger or hostility at others and those we love the most. We can withdraw and go into silence when we are hurt or angry, which is an equally "dirty way to fight." We can go into depression, suffer from anxiety attacks, ruin our relationships, set ourselves up to fail, and/or become physically ill. As John Powell put it, "When we bury our emotions, our stomach keeps score." How true this is.
Furthermore, when our negative emotions are blocked and buried, it is impossible to fully live and fully love as we are so instructed by Jesus.
To be continued. . . .
"Dear God, I know that you have commanded that we, your followers, are to love one another. Please help me to live in harmony with your Word, so that I will be able to truly fully live and fully love. So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name, amen."
1. John 13:34.