On your dream journey and general life adventure stuff happens that knocks you down. I grew up in a national culture that tells you “Just toughen up, get up, get over it. Soldier on!” So I did. Problem is, that is NOT a plan for lifetime success.
Recently I received some feedback that I was disconnected from my wife and family. I was present in function and faithfulness but somehow disconnected emotionally and missing some key signals from those I love the most. How did that happen? How do I fix it?
How did that happen?
A month ago we had a family vacation. Awesome. Except on day three, one of my children got violently sick (both ends) and was miserable and exhausted and could not fully participate in anything we planned. As a result, neither could we. Instead of rest and relaxation fun, we had a dose of anxiety. Bummer. Without realizing, I went into ‘tough it out’ mode to survive and get my family home in one piece.
My daughter recovered enough to get home (all day travelling), but on arriving home I realized I had mistakenly given my spare house key to the person looking after our puppy… we couldn’t get in! An hour and a half lying in the garage with four tired kids and the locksmith turned up. We now have an extra spare key!
We all crashed into bed but next morning I woke with a nasty case of diarrhea…. I was exiled to my bedroom for the day and lost six pounds. “I’m ok, I’ll get over it…”
Next day I was recovered well enough to fly out for my first trip to Germany where I had a week of ministry scheduled. I had a colleague traveling with me. However on the plane he managed to get caught by a virus that overpowered him and stole his energy. For the entire time we were in Germany he was 20+ hours per day in bed. I was alone. Not only that, but then our website got hacked by a terrorist group… Are you serious???!!!!
“I can handle this.
Just soldier on.
Lock down the emotion and keep walking.”
After being home a couple weeks I got the feedback from my wife that I was present but disconnected… Ouch. I had done such a good job shutting down the feelings in order to “survive and protect my family” I was no longer present.
I then realized that I had also disconnected from the Father. This looked like performing rather than being able to be still and receive His comfort, affection and refreshing. My ‘prayer time’ became ‘action/idea time.’ I was even praying more and reading more but not feeling an overflow of love and connection. I was becoming critical and defiled (see Hebrews 12:15).
So how do you fix the problem? The problem is shutting down your emotional connection on the pretense that it will help you survive or succeed. Don’t do it!
Here’s what to do:
1. Be honest and authentic; be vulnerable.
Tell Jesus AND the person closest to you how you really feel. If you can’t do that, at least write it down in your journal to get the truth out. “When ________________ happened I felt disappointed, hurt, angry, scared, overwhelmed…” Add whatever you need to say. Be real.
2. Consider those who went before you (see Hebrews 12:1).
You are not alone. Those who have gone before you are cheering you on. Suffering is not failure. It does not mean you have screwed up. It is actually part of the journey. Others have walked through this journey before you; many through greater difficulty than yours. Consider the disciples who were brutally martyred. Consider the early believers who were burned, fed to lions, torn in two. Consider your faith heroes… Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, William Wallace!
3. Consider Christ
He went before you, made the way, and is now cheering you on (see Hebrews 12:3).
Run with endurance, yes; but ALSO RUN WITH JOY (compared to being weary, losing heart, becoming bitter and defiled).
How do you consider Jesus? Remember. His body was broken – literally disassociated, disconnected and separated, cut off, forsaken, SO THAT you could be reconciled. FULLY RESTORED AND MADE WHOLE (spiritual and emotional and physical and relational).
You are no longer separated, excluded, disconnected, abandoned or cut off. You have been reconciled. You now have FULL ACCESS to the Father’s house. Not just the workshop or the barracks. Not just the porch or the guest room. EVERY ROOM. The MOST HOLY, most intimate, most private place in His house, YOU have access to. Now.