As the old story goes, the young child is in the dentist’s office and the dentist tells the child, that as they grow they need to floss their teeth regularly to have healthy teeth and gums. The child, somewhat in a complaining tone says back to the dentist; “But do I have to floss all my teeth?”
The dentist simply replies, ” Nope! Certainly not! You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep!”
Interestingly, this childish way of viewing things of discipline and hard work in terms of counseling and therapy is met with the same type of greeting. But do I really need to do all this work? Can’t I just fix a few things that I think need fixing and move on?
Sure! And the results you get will reflect the amount of work you invest in yourself and your relationships, etc. Somehow, we think that these things are supposed to just “happen”. We should be able to have healthy relationships by default. Get good paying jobs because we need and want them. Even if our backgrounds did not provide any or hardly any modeling for such things. But even so, this is the initial posturing many people have when first being exposed to the process.
In the Bible, in what’s commonly called, “the Love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, it talks about what love actually is. Verse 11 interestingly, is the verse hardly ever quoted. It’s there, in part I believe, to demonstrate that it will take a perpetual maturing and engagement to grow into these virtues that are expressed. Why am I quoting this here?
Because the main things people do not know how to do is love and be loved in genuine ways.
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incomplete’s will be canceled.
So… what is verse 11 you ask? 11 “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
Putting away childish entitlements and associated reasonings is required to grow up and mature. In fact you may well physically “grow up”, and not mature at all for multitudes of reasons. Our emotional maturing may have stopped much earlier on due to trauma, addiction, no childhood nurturing, divorce of parents and on and on. If we do not engage in a process of healing, we will not mature just because we grow older.
That will take commitment to a process of some kind that allows you to know your true self, grow in wisdom and understanding and develop your emotional intelligence. This does not happen just because you are breathing. It’s a choice. So when you find that you are dysfunctional in some fashion, have a hard time with employment, relationships, communication, genuinely loving selflessly and cannot receive love, it’s time to consider the hard work of self-care and nurturing.
You will likely need help in this journey… it’s not a destination. The process and other fine books can help awaken you to see the need! You won’t get help if you don’t see that you need it.
You can get the Process HERE on Kindle, Audio and Paperback