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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Past, The Present, and The Future - Part 1

Dear Reader,

It has been a while since I have written to you, but it's not because I am not thinking of you. It just seems that I don't really have anything to say that directly relates to PD and how I handle that as a Christian. But I've begun to realize that life as I see it and react to it is relevant to that topic. And so I would like to share with you what I have most recently thought through and gained some new understanding of.

I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. I won't pretend to you that it was less horrible than it was. But neither do I share this with you so that you will feel sorry for me. Everyone of us is raised by imperfect parents. We all have both good memories and bad. More than likely, our parents did the best they could. Many of us have gone through the steps of forgiving our parents, siblings, peers and other family members for any wounds they inflicted.

Then why does it still hurt to talk about it? Does that mean I haven't truly forgiven? No, I don't believe it does. It just means that sometimes the wounds inflicted during childhood go very deep, and like a burn continues to burn through more and more layers of skin/soul long past the initial wounding. Healing may be long in coming.

It's not a matter of not having forgiven, it's just that the wound is still so sore. Healing is not yet complete.

Now, having said that, I will share with you, that the path of my life has been a rocky one strewn with bad decisions, and a poor sense of direction. I have always wondered WHY. Why did life seem so much easier with way less drama and seemingly clear sailing for some people? Why did I seem doomed to make the same mistakes over and over, no matter how I tried not to?

I have come to see that my understanding of love was distorted. Oh, I knew the right answers to the right questions - in my head - but what had been imprinted on my heart before I even have memories, was a misunderstanding of what love is, and like a brand seared on a calf, it seemed that it could not be erased.

Let me explain: Out of my need for love, I learned unhealthy ways to find it by trying to be what people needed and wanted. I convinced myself that this was love - giving up myself for the good of others. But much of the time I spent "loving" everyone else - praying and doing for them - was a type of works - pursuits that ate up my time and wore my heart out. I had a distorted understanding of what it meant to love someone and I didn't know how to tell the difference between yielding myself completely to the Lord which would naturally lead to loving others,and accepting all responsibility to and for someone else (doing for them what they should've been doing for themselves). I engaged in a form of emotional flagellation (giving myself over to suffering so others could be happy and I could be worthy of love). I now see this was nothing more than conditional acceptance - a system of earning the love that should be freely given. This is not at all what God calls us to do!

I will continue these thoughts in the following post.

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