Hi everyone, Rob here. I’m struggling with ‘man-flu’ at the moment. As you all know this is a very serious condition which extracts absolutely zero sympathy from your wife! Anyhow, Kiley and I were doing our mid-year budget review yesterday as my avoidance strategy was no longer working. While God has provided for us, and we’re so thankful for that, we also knew there were some decisions that we needed to make and that meant getting our financial house in order. Feeling tired and unwell meant that I was struggling to stay engaged and when it started getting hard I ran away. I’d had enough.
As I sat with God and let him speak to me I knew that the running wasn’t a man-flu issue at all! An old coping mechanism had raised its head and God gently revealed it to me. He brought to mind a defining picture of my childhood. Our family was at the beach and Dad had gone out into deeper water to catch some waves. I was 9 or so I think and I started going out to join him. Mum yelled from the shallow water, “Stop! Don’t go out too far.” So there I was, caught in the middle. I longed to be with my Dad but my mum’s words stopped me in my tracks. Mum was right. It was too deep for me where Dad was. What I really wanted was for Dad to come and get me and take me to where he was, where it was exciting and dangerous and alive.
God showed me that when I was growing up I felt caught in the middle a lot. I was a middle child with two sisters. I became the passive one who didn’t want to cause any trouble. I felt like that was my role. When it got turbulent I either shut down and became passive or I shut others out and became independent and withdrawn. I learned not to seek out places where it was exciting and dangerous and alive, but found safe places where I could cope and contribute. This is what I was doing yesterday! Things got a bit turbulent so I shut down and shut Kiley out. I was a 9 year old kid again!
God showed me the picture so he could tell me afresh that I am not a 9 year old kid caught in the middle and coping the best way he knew how. I needed to confess that I was acting out of an old wounded place that was not my true identity. I forgave my Dad afresh for his imperfections and not being able to read my mind, and confessed God as my True Father who always comes for me and takes into life, life and more life. I accepted his forgiveness of me for forgetting that I was his true son, his beloved child and friend of Jesus. Armed with my true identity I re-engaged with my family and the budget with a renewed sense of freedom. The man-flu remains but it’s not who I really am!
I share this story with you because so often we find ourselves reacting to life and loved ones in ways that are, quite frankly, childish. That’s because we have unhealed childhood wounds in our life. Our True Father wants to take us back to those unhealed places and times and bring the healing of Jesus, that he won for us at the cross, to bear upon them. He wants to lift us out of those childlike places and remind us that we are his children, dearly loved. He also wants us to know that our wounded self is not our true self. There is a life and freedom in Christ that he wants us to know and experience. Then he invites us to bring that cosmic truth, that in Christ we are whole and holy, to bear on every single part of our lives including routine money–management.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1.