Well it's been quite awhile, but the second part of this book 'Changes That Heal' was much harder to summarize, it's messages so important I wanted to write down everything! But that's not really a 'Cole's notes' simple summary then is it :) If you can't read the book at least you have this summary of critical truths that may start a path to some answers for you.
As I mentioned in the last post, there is a third ingredient needed for us to grow, in addition to Grace & Truth, and that is Time.
"There is a season for everything under the sun."
God's time - rarely does he snap his fingers and change us once we 'get it', there is still a lot to be learned by making us work at it as well.
Our time - old habits die hard, even once we get it, integrating what we know with what we do takes time. Even Paul said, I know what I should do yet I keep doing what I know I shouldn't do.
Relational time - we may need the time to learn things in relationships we were never taught in our formative years, or we may need to unlearn things we shouldn't have learned as children when it comes to relationships.
There are 3 foundational truths we need to learn through childhood/adolescence that are critical to having healthy relationships as an adult:
Bonding with others - we need to have others to relate to at the deepest, emotional, level. God created us to hunger for relationships, with him and others. It's a Biblical and natural principle, nothing grows apart from another source of strength and nutrition, nothing grows completely self-sustaining. The most foundationally important bond is with our parents, most security instincts develop from the confidence/trust in these 2 relationships, not to mention psychological development. It also lays the foundation for how we proceed to bond with others, how we relate to God and how we relate to ourselves. If you can't bond properly with people (issues with trust, fear, anxiety, isolation in relationships) begin by trying to examine your formative relationships.
Separating from others - we need healthy boundaries so we realize our independence from others. Boundaries help us define who we are and who we are not, what we are responsible for and what we are not, what we own and what we don't own. Without these boundaries we can find ourselves trying to control others or letting ourselves be controlled by others. Boundaries are our emotional 'skin', our skin knows how to protect us by keeping unhealthy things out but letting nourishing things in. When our skin is severely wounded it can't protect us as well and needs to be repaired to be functional again. Same with our boundaries, if we are letting ourselves be wounded or not letting in nourishment, we need to fix our boundary problems to stay healthy. If you can't separate yourself from people (issues with co-dependence, control, anxiety, self-worth) begin by trying to discover what healthy boundaries are.
Becoming an adult - the process of moving into authority over your own life.
It is hard to take that authority and own your life if you have a distorted view of yourself and others.
Part of becoming an adult is realizing that not only within others, but
within ourselves, is both a good and bad nature, and we have to
understand and accept that to get a realistic view of
ourselves, others, and our relationships. We need to see the good and
bad truthfully in order to get a balanced view, we can not summarize a
person, even ourselves, as wholly good or wholly bad. When we are
intolerant of 'bad' we blame and withdraw from others, when we are
intolerant of 'good' we are self-destructive. Learning to balance the good nature vs. bad nature in others
and ourselves is developed in childhood, but over time. As we are
exposed to 'good' parents who make 'bad' mistakes and we progress in
reconciling they can exist as both. If you didn't learn this as a child
you can be stuck in the 'child-like' thinking of 'all-good' or
Another way you can tell if you haven't moved fully into an adult role is you will either a) still have the 'one down' mentality where you feel under the authority of other adults (inferior, need permission/approval, powerless, etc.), or b) develop a 'one up' mentality where you are focused on being 'higher' than others (parenting, judgemental, superiority, power hungry, etc.). When we become adults we become equals with other adults, age is not a factor, we all have one higher authority, God. We no longer need parenting, God is our only Father. No adult (who is now your peer, brother/sister, contemporary) is above you (or below you), God's is the only approval we should seek. This isn't license to disrespect authorities God has placed in your life, but respect doesn't take away your freedom to choose.
If you feel like you don't have authority over your life, begin by maturing your freedom to think, decide, and act for yourself.
I want to reiterate again that these points are very summarized, so if you feel like you can relate but need more information to flesh this out, I encourage you to read the book - a lot of what I haven't said here is examples to show you what it looks like in real lives. Or I can relate more specific information to you over coffee : ) But I highly recommend evaluating the health of your relationships in respect to these points.
It definitely takes time, with equal portions of grace and truth, to grow healthy relationships with yourself and other, but the fruit is worth it. Just remember there is a season for everything under the sun. Even in relationships, there is.....
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.