How to Repair Your Soul
- Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Deal with codependent spirituality. Consider whether you may be affected by codependent spirituality. Do you often try to control other people’s beliefs or behaviors and tell yourself you’re doing so because of your deep concern for them? Do you frequently feel anxious about another person’s spiritual well-being? Do you feel personally responsible for setting people straight about their beliefs or actions? Are you attempting to control someone else’s spirituality? Do you make excuses for yourself when you intrude on someone else’s spiritual life, telling yourself that it’s for their own good? Have you lost your sense of where your own spirituality ends and another person’s relationship with God begins? Do you harbor deep resentments against others for not following your spiritual advice? Are you at risk of disempowering others by using your position of authority to exert undue influence over their relationships with God? Has anyone ever said (or hinted) that your efforts to be helpful spiritually were disrespectful or shaming? Do you think God needs your help to fix the people around you?
Identify distorted images you may have of God. What do you really believe about God? How does that compare with what He says about Himself in the Bible? How connected are your formal theological convictions and your real spiritual commitments – the way you actually interact with God in everyday life? For example, do you agree with the belief that God’s love is unconditional, yet still fear that He doesn’t love you when you make mistakes? Or, do you believe that God is patient, yet still think He has abandoned you because you’ve been struggling with the same character problems for a long time? What images of God inform your daily life? Sit down with a pen and some paper, then write as many descriptive words as you can about how you picture God when you’re alone or when you’re anxious. List any fears you have when you think about God. Then read biblical passages like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that describe God’s true qualities. Consider how the ways you see God compare to what He actually is like. Are you viewing God in any false ways – ways that aren’t consistent with the biblical truth about Him? If the God of your experience is anything other than the God of love and grace – and if your self-image is anything other than someone who is dearly loved by God – you need to rebuild your spiritual life from the ground up.
Start to rebuild your spiritual life. Turn away from your unhealthy approaches to spirituality and distorted views of God. Pray for the humility and courage you need to pursue God in new ways. Allow God’s love to quiet your heart, and ask Him to transform your attitudes, so you can g from shaming yourself to seeing yourself as God sees you, from trying harder to relying on grace, from blaming others to owning your own life, from despair to staying open to hope, and from isolation to seeking help and support.
Rely on God’s help. Although your own resources are limited, there is no limit to God’s power. Surrender every part of your life to Him, trusting Him to guide you and letting His grace flow into your life. Give up your futile attempts to be spiritual enough, good enough, or smart enough to run your life. Instead, pray about each person and situation you’re concerned about, offering your concerns to God and expecting Him to do what’s best. Listen to the messages God wants to give you through prayer, Bible reading, and meditation. Let go of self-reliance and striving, and rely on God for what you need.
Work through your struggles. Ask God to give you the honesty and humility you need to admit the truth about your struggles, confess them to God and other people, and make amends however you can. Start telling others about how God is working in your life. Whenever you have a natural opportunity, share something about your need for God’s grace and how powerfully God’s grace is healing you.
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