Fully Living—Fully Loving Part I
"So get rid of your feelings of hatred. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with dishonesty ... deception, envy, and fraud. Long to grow up into the fullness of your salvation,"1
As I've often said, by the time I was five I had learned that "big men" don't cry so I learned early in life to stuff and deny my emotions, and by the time I was thirty-five, I suffered from miserable hay fever, and had bursitis in both shoulders so that I couldn't lift my arms above my shoulders without pain. Worse still, while I had plenty of friends, close relationships were non-existent. My marriage of 25 years turned out to be a disaster. Two repressed people living together do not make for a healthy relationship; in fact, they don't have any kind of meaningful relationship. You live together alone apart; emotionally, that is.
Even though professionally I was doing okay, relationally I was at a loss. Furthermore, emotionally I constantly felt empty and had no idea what my problem was. I just knew I needed help. I had grown up with the belief that feelings weren't important and couldn't be trusted. In spite of this, I was so frustrated I got down on my knees and asked God to give me some feelings back anyhow. Whew, that prayer turned my world upside down and made praying for patience look like a Sunday school picnic. It took considerable pain to break through my cast-like defenses.
My recovery and emotional healing didn't happen overnight, but the good news is that when I learned to break through my defenses and get in touch with my true emotions, and how to express them creatively, over time my life changed dramatically. Plus my physical wellbeing also improved dramatically.
Many of our physical ills can be symbolic. For instance, when I stuff my tears where do they go? For me they apparently expressed themselves in miserable hay fever which I suffered from for many years. I say this because when I was able to sob out years of painful hurt, I was healed of hay fever and have never suffered from it since. And when I learned to resolve years of buried hurt and anger, I was healed of the painful bursitis in my shoulders and have never had this pain recur. And when I was able to resolve lots of buried fear caused by painful hurts in the past, my interpersonal relationships improved out of sight.
In fact, I am physically healthier today than I was at half my age, and I am now in a very happy and fulfilling marriage. I feel that I am now well on the way to fully living and fully loving. My professional life happens to be very fulfilling also.
It may not sound refined, but the fact is that the feelings we stuff, stuff up our lives! Literally.
So you ask, how did you resolve all your personal issues? I wish I had a simple three-step program, but I don't. I believe in miracles but not magic—miracles take a lot longer. There is no such thing as a quick fix. We take years to become what we are and don't undo that overnight. However, the following are a few principles to help.
To be continued . . . .
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, as your Word instructs, please help me to: ‘get rid of my feelings of hatred [and all forms of unresolved anger]; stop pretending to be good outwardly, and be done with dishonesty, deception, envy, and fraud . . . and grow up into the fullness of my salvation.' So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name, amen."
1. 1 Peter 2:1-2 (TLB)(NLT).