Ever met a grown man who still acts like he’s in his late teens? Or a woman who reverts back to teenager-type behavior when faced with adult situations?
Perhaps you are that person?
This behavior is often tagged as being “immature”, but in reality, it’s more like being “stuck.” By that, I mean, somewhere earlier in life, your emotional development got stunted so that you kept growing physically and aging incrementally, but a core part of you never moved on. There very well may be a vital piece of you still stuck “back there.”
To those around you today, your perceived immaturity comes across as annoying and burdensome, but the truth is, it’s a cry for desperately needed attention, a hunger for approval, an insatiable desire to prove your worth.
Your developmental “stunting” might have been a result of one or multiple traumatic events early in life, or it might have been the result of a lack of intimacy from your primary caregivers (dad, mom, grandpa, etc) during those early years. One thing is certain, what you most desperately want is stuck in years gone by, which leads me to the statement that prompted this blog post.
I was reflecting on some childhood wounds I experienced and how far I’ve come since those days (and how much farther I still need to go), when this thought struck me, “The battle we fight is not in the past, it's in the present. But the reason we keep losing today might be rooted in the past.”
In the last 36 months, I’ve observed and had to work through patterns of behavior in my life that seem to point to a deeper underlying issue. While I clearly want to get to the root of it by uncovering and addressing what went wrong “back then”, I’m also keenly aware that in order to live freely today, I must be actively engaged in choosing healthier wiser behaviors today (hence the thought, “the battle we fight is …in the present”). But here’s the deal, if in spite of all your good efforts to “move on”, you still find certain emotional walls in your life indomitable, then the secret of your freedom might be rooted in your past. There might be a “you” caged back in time who hasn’t figured out a way to catch up with 2015-You! (This was true of me for a season in my life).
The bad news here is that our scientists haven’t yet figured out the flux capacitor, so there’s no going back in time on a rescue mission to save the locked-up-you. However, there is someONE who literally holds all of time in HIS hands, so much so that HE doesn’t need to travel back in time to get to the past, but rather, HE exists in all of time, in the same moment. Heck, HE spoke time into existence!
Yeah, deep. I know.
If such a person exists (and HE does), wouldn’t it serve you well to seek HIS help in launching a rescue mission back in time to bring back locked-up-you out of captivity?
This person I speak of is God the Father, the creator of heaven and earth. He however, has entrusted all rule and authority to His son Jesus Christ, (Matthew 11:27-28; John 5:22-23; John 3:35-36). So whatever it is you long for the Father to do for you, you come to and through His son Jesus Christ. With that established, here’s how you seek the Lord Jesus to rescue you and grant you emotional well being so you feel whole again.
ONE: ASK JESUS IN PRAYER TO REVEAL WHERE AND WHEN YOU’RE LOCKED UP IN THE PAST. Sometimes traumatic experiences cause us to mentally block out painful memories. In some extreme cases, there might be family of origin issues that pre-date your birth, all of which play into your spiritual “stuckness” today. I’ve known men who worked hard their whole lives, yet never attained their dreams, only to later discover that blood oaths were made on their behalf as infants; oaths that have resulted in a “locking up” of their destinies!
So, ask Jesus to unveil all that’s been hidden and parties involved (not for revenge purposes, but so that healing might be thorough).
TWO: ASK JESUS TO HEAL YOUR EXPOSED WOUNDS. When you ask Jesus to reveal hidden secrets in your past, brace yourself, for in due time, you might find yourself catching glimpses (or a watching high-def movie) of painful events you’ve long tucked away in your hippocampus. You will need the grace, mercy, and healing of God to help you work through those painful memories.
I’ve experienced a few of those moments and I must confess I went through a range of emotions from sorrow, to shock, to anger, to relief, and a few others I’m drawing a blank on. Something I do remember however is asking Jesus to grant me the heart to forgive the parties involved in the scenario that came to mind (that I’d long forgotten). I also vividly recall asking Him to heal my heart from the wound that occurred in that incident. It wasn’t easy, and the memory didn’t disappear forever right afterward, but every time I think of it today, I no longer experience the negative emotions associated with it, (one could say, God’s rescue mission to save the locked-up-me-in-the-past was a success!)
THREE: EMBRACE THE VOICE OF GOD’S LOVE IN YOUR LIFE. Every one of us has voices that speak to us through the course of our day, but specifically two stand out. There’s the one voice that continually tells us where we fall short and points out people who’ve achieved more than we have. That voice compels us to strive and achieve for more, so much so that even when we reach our intended goal, it finds someone else much greater to compare us to. That voice sucks…. Literally, sucks the life out of us!
The other voice however, (when we’re tuned in by faith in Jesus Christ) is the voice of God the Father. This voice tells us to keep our eyes on Him and to take it off our failures. This voice tells us that we’re unconditionally loved and have nothing to prove. This voice calls us to deeper levels of intimacy with Him so we might live life to the full.
You, my friend, have to tune out all other voices and tune in to this voice of the Father, for He bids you “COME!” While the voice of the Father is certainly loud and clear in the beauty of creation itself, it is most clearly heard and revealed in His word, the Bible. In other words, whenever a voice begins to speak things to you about you, your worth, or your destiny, you turn to the words of the Bible to confirm if it’s in alignment with what God has already said to be true. If it doesn’t match up, reject it. If it does, embrace it wholeheartedly and walk by faith believing it to be true for your life.
There are plenty of stories in the scriptures of men and women who reached the peak of their destinies in spite of significant wounds locked up in their past. Rahab was a prostitute, yet, by faith, she helped out the Israelites in time of need and as a result, became the great grandma of one of the greatest kings in Israel. Joseph was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery by those who were supposed to love him, yet, by trusting in God, He became the prime minister of the greatest nation in the world in his time – Egypt. Jabez had such a hard beginning in life that his mother named him, “pain”(the literal translation of his name), yet, by faith, when he prayed, God blessed him beyond measure and expanded his territory so he never suffered need.
My friends, a greater destiny awaits you, but the path to it is littered with battles. While you must diligently work at it today, your true breakthrough might be a secret in the past you need God to unveil and overcome. As you begin this journey with Him, may the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, along with the sweet fellowship of His Holy Spirit, free you from every bondage that has held you back in life. May my Father in heaven, do in your life more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! And in so doing, may He receive extraordinary glory in your life, in your family, in His Church, and in your generation!