Here is an emotional question that we received from the contact page on our website: www.howwelove.com.
I was raised a Christian and am still actively involved in my church.
Yet, with all these years of exposure….I still wonder:
“Is it really possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”
I feel like I’ve tried many times to develop this relationship, and yet, I still view Jesus as a character in the stories I know from the bible or a picture on the wall.
Somehow, I still don’t know Jesus in a personal way.
Additionally, I find that I have significant trust issues and am disconnected from people in general.
So in an even broader sense I am wondering what a healthy relationship with anyone is really like.
Is it really possible to experience closeness at all?
This question from our web page really touched my heart.
For years as an avoider, I (Kay) felt much the same way.
When I understood my imprint from my upbringing my spiritual struggles made more sense.
First, I want to say to this reader, I hope you have read the book and understand your love style.
Our love style affects all parts of our life including the spiritual.
Just because we grow up in a Christian home does not guarantee we enter adulthood with a secure connection and an ability to trust others and God.
We may have very moral, good parents who just don’t connect on an emotional level.
We may have learned that feelings of sadness or anger or fear mean we are unspiritual, lack faith, and are “not trusting” God.
Look to Jesus.
If we are going to be made into his image, we are going to FEEL.
Jesus was full of feelings.
Milan and I are always saddened by a question we ask in our seminars:
“How many of you had Christian parents that grew and changed and also identified faults and shortcomings and made amends for their mistakes as parents? “
Less than 20% raise their hands!
I say to all you readers, purpose to live a life where your children can see growth and change in you.
Reflect on your character and behavior so you can ask forgiveness for your mistakes and shortcomings.
No one is a perfect parent.
Visible growth is the hallmark of a Christian.
Two other thoughts.
Are you an introvert?
Do you need alone, quiet time to recharge your batteries?
Do you process your thoughts internally rather than “talk them through?”
Here is another question with a sad answer we ask to our workshop audiences.
“How many of you who are introverts, feel you had parents who really knew your heart and took the time to really understand you on the inside?”
Less that 5% answer that question positively!
Most introverts feel isolated and unknown.
Now, a second thought.
Did you have birth trauma or early medical issues?
Often, when a baby’s first experience is of unrelieved pain or isolation, the result is that early bonding is compromised.
I talked to a man last weekend, born in the 50’s, prematurely at 26 weeks.
In the 50’s they put such babies in an incubator and waited to see if they would live.
The first 10 weeks of his life were spent this way.
Isolated from human touch and stimulation so early helped create his imprint to avoid.
So, ask about your early years.
What the solution?
Connection begins with self refection…what do I feel and think?
Then you must engage with another person and share what is inside you.
A friend, group, counselor, any one you feel might be safe.
If you don’t know anyone, make this a matter of prayer and start looking for a women’s group where honesty and vulnerability are apparent in the group dynamic.
Personally, I (Kay) cannot believe how much closer I feel to God since I learned to feel and show and talk about my feelings with others.
A healthy relationship is a safe place where both people can be honest and give and receive comfort.
When conflict disrupts the connection, it can be resolved to the point that connection is repaired and relief is felt.
In some cases differences are accepted.
Below find a brief review of the most common Spiritual struggles for each love style.
Avoiders don’t feel close to God.
They like doing tasks for God.
Avoiders have a hard time asking for help, so while they pray for others, they rarely ask God for any personal need about their own pain.
If they do risk asking, for them, unanswered prayer feels like a disconnection.
When God is silent, Avoiders feel unseen and unimportant.
Pleasers try to make God happy and when trials come, pleasers become anxious feeling they are doing something wrong.
Pleasers believe if they are making God happy life will go smoothly.
Saying no or setting limits seems unkind and unspiritual to a pleaser even though Jesus clearly modeled boundaries and has many people rejected him as a result.
Vacillators often feel an intense spiritual high for a time after becoming a Christian.
When disappointed by the church, pastor, other Christians or God, they struggle to integrate good and bad.
Vacillators tend to feel angry when God does not “deliver.”
Controllers struggle to relinquish control feeling pain will surely be the result.
It’s difficult for anyone who grew up in a chaotic home to really trust that God could love them unconditionally and have their best interests at heart.
Victims have difficulty believing they are truly loveable and worth God’s devoted time and attention.
Love and blessings,
Milan and Kay