Walking the Path to Wholeness by Lance Sterling
I have actually become acquainted with Lance through his many encouraging comments in response to blog posts. I have found his contributions to be very compassionate and insightful. I recently asked Lance to write a piece for ‘Sunday Everyday’ so he kindly submitted this article ‘Walking the Path to Wholeness’. I know that you will enjoy it.
Lance is married to Claudia and each of them have 2 adult sons (second marriage).
Lance has B.Science (Queen Margaret Uni Edinburg). Grad Dip Theology (Tabor). M.A. Ministry (Sydney College of Divinity). M.A. Vocational Practice (Church) (Tabor). Lance is a partner at City Life and has been involved in leading Life Groups and the Alpha program.
Walking the Path to Wholeness
During the course of my life I have experienced seasons that I would describe as ‘Great Sadness’. These seasons can be brought about by the death of a loved one, a broken relationship, the loss of a career, rejection by family or an organization, or abuse whether sexual, verbal, or physical. All of these events can bring us to a place of Great Sadness. It only takes a single event to cause a Great Sadness, but events happening close together can be devastating. Our sense of self worth evaporates and we feel like we are locked in a prison, weak and impotent, unable to break free. Let me share with you the secret to performing a prison break that would make James Bond envious. But because this prison is complex it will require three keys to unlock the door.
The first key to help us break out is forgiveness. When we look back on people or events that have caused a Great Sadness it hurts. It’s hard to forgive. Forgiveness is never easy, and if we believe that we need to feel like forgiving it may never happen. Forgiveness begins in the area of our will. At this point of the exercise it has nothing to do with our feelings. I find it helpful to actually speak it out aloud as in, ‘I freely forgive x y z for such and such (naming the event). You will discover something rather strange happens over the coming weeks. This spoken act of forgiveness will move from your head to your heart. In my personal experience forgiveness is so explosive it can sometimes blow our prison door off its hinges even at that early point in our journey to wholeness.
The second key needed for this jail break lies in discovering our true identity.
We reject who others say we are, and in reading the Bible we discover who God says we are. When we decide to follow Jesus we are given a new identity. We discover that we are loved by our creator God passionately and extravagantly just as we are, in whatever broken and bruised and messy condition we happen to be in. It is not just that God is capable of loving us, but that God is love. Love is the very essence of his being. And not only does God love Christians he actually also loves all humanity.
Understanding that regardless of how messy we are God loves us unconditionally is a game changer. It gives us permission to love ourselves.
It means we are someone who has status and value. Becoming a follower of Jesus as an adult I found that my new faith was not about rules and regulations, but about freedom to live life in all its fullness. The Bible explains that when we become a friend of Jesus all the stuff ups and mistakes of the past are forgiven. God hits the delete key on our computer. Not only are we forgiven and have a new beginning but God adopts us as sons and daughters, and we become part of his family. God is in the business of recycling and making us new. He is the original Transformer.
All changes we wish to make in our life revolve around the acronym VIM.
V is for vision. We need to have a vision of our potential, the person we want to be.
I is for intent. We need to be motivated and intentional. Just desiring change never works. We need the intent to move forward.
M is for method, the way we can intentionally move forward to attain our vision. Part of the method is outlined in the paragraphs above. It requires of us more than just reading about it. We need to intentionally act upon it. Change is a process rather than an event. It takes time and effort.
There is a practice that I have personally found to be helpful, and this exercise is the third key.
This is a process of meditative deep breathing. This discipline has been practiced since the second Century, and I note that one commentator to this blog has found it helpful. So will you—-
Set aside 5 minutes to begin, you can extend the time later as you please. Find a quiet place and a comfortable chair.
- Preparation. Take 5 slow deep breaths in and out, breathing out
through your mouth. Then start the exercise.
- Take a deep breath then breathe out slowly saying ‘I breathe out bitterness and resentment’.
- Take a deep breath saying ‘I breath in forgiveness’.
- Breathe out through your mouth slowly saying to yourself ‘I breathe out my old self’.
- Breath in saying ‘I breathe in Christ’.
- Breathe out through your mouth ‘I breath out resentment’.
- Breathe in saying ‘I breathe in love’.
- Breathe out through your mouth ‘I breathe out rejection.’
- Breathe in saying ‘I breathe in acceptance’.
- Finally breathe out through your mouth ‘I breath out guilt’.
Remember to breathe deeply and slowly and repeat daily.
Over a period of time you may include different matters that are personal to you in your situation.
I will never forget when this prison break happened for me. In the words of Martin Luther King: ‘Free at last, free at last. Praise God Almighty I’m free at last’.
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