Dr. Eggerich talks and writes about couples getting on the crazy cycle together – a negative, downward spiraling communication pattern with the potential to destroy a relationship. I have found I can get on my own version of the crazy cycle – continuing to go back to something I know isn’t really from God and doesn’t really work simply because it feels safe and familiar. And when you’re hurting, man it is so easy to do!
We all have default modes, places we go to emotionally when we feel a little lost. Usually they’re reactions that come from childhood hurts and experiences. We did them as kids because we weren’t usually able to remove ourselves from the circumstances. It’s funny because as adults we have all the ability and power to remove ourselves from any situation, but often we don’t recognize it. We still feel like that small child, trapped and fearful, unable to move. It’s so crucial during these moments to step back and force yourself to take a hard look at you and what fears and insecurities are driving you.
During these times, the big, hairy beast we have to tackle is usually our thinking. Our reaction – if we withdraw, get angry, fight, get verbally abusive or simply disappear into depression, addiction or overwhelming sadness – is really a reflection of our own thought process, which is almost always tied to our self-worth. We either hurt because we begin believing our own negative emotional lies or we lash out in reaction to someone else’s negative judgment about us, even if it’s only our perception and isn’t really how they feel.
This is not always an easy process for me, especially if I’m already in an emotionally vulnerable state to begin with – and isn’t that usually how it goes? It’s during those times I can beat myself up quite nicely, thank you, going further and further down the rabbit hole. I can whip myself into my own version of crazy, ripping my self-worth and confidence to shreds or worse – whipping someone else’s.
Sometimes, just looking at encouraging scriptures about God’s deep and abiding love for me is enough. I love scriptures like Ephesians 1:4 that reminds me I am holy and blameless in God’s sight, or Romans 8:31 that tells us, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Sometimes, though, just looking at my spiritual truths is not enough. It’s in those moments I find there’s usually something hiding in me in need of God’s light and attention to be healed. I have to do some mental and spiritual wrestling to really see what it is that needs to change and be let go of in order to heal and move forward. This isn’t easy no matter how much I wish it were. It takes a deep willingness to look at some hard truths about self, while holding onto the even more important truth that Jesus died for every one of my weaknesses in order for me to be FREE from the burden I’m carrying, whether it’s caused by my own failures or someone else’s, or a combination of both.
In these moments, I find scriptures like James 4:7-10 help. James says, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out (if need be). The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” I love knowing God not only gets our struggle, but reminds us how to deal with it so we get off the crazy cycle and back up on our feet again, running ahead with passion, joy and strength. Then even in the low moments, our hearts can smile knowing we will move forward.
For further thought: Going through periods of deep refining are never easy. We are promised, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Ro. 8:28) What are some of the good things you have seen come out of your times of struggle? What are some ways God can bless you through your current situation?