A severe mercy?
On April 29, 2015 I wrote briefly in a social media post after reading one of my favorite daily meditations written by Jill Carattini of Ravi Zacharias Ministries, a portion of which is here:
“Practically speaking, disillusionment is the loss of illusion. In terms of larceny, then, it is the equivalent of having one’s high cholesterol or a perpetually bad habit stolen. Disillusionment, while painful, is evidence which shows the myths that enchant us need not blind us forever, a sign that what is falsely believed can be shattered by what is genuine. In such terms, disillusion is far less an unwanted intrusion than it is a severe mercy, far more like a surgeon’s excising of a tumor than a cruel removal of hope.: Jill Carattini – Ravi Zacharias Ministry
I was talking to a young lady in her 30’s a few days ago and she seemed to catch a glimmer of the truth of some unproductive, even self destructive illusions to which she was clinging…Illusions about what “fairness” should look like, about what parents ought to be, about how God should answer prayers, and more. I shared with her a book I read in my 20’s by Judith Viorst: ” The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow”. It was eye opening for me then. As she and I talked, she said, “No one has ever talked to me like this. It makes sense.” She took the book. Co-dependency, immature thinking about God, lack of self-identity, poor understanding of real intimacy, sentimentality instead of true compassion and empathy, and more. As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:11
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
For many of the women in recovery, the cocoon in which they dwell for the time they are in our program becomes like a womb. A new person is being born, an adult person. One’s assumptions about life, expectations of others, illusion of control, knowledge of God, self-concept, view of family, and more are being reframed in adult ways of thinking instead of the “stuck” way of thinking that occurs when one’s maturation is stunted by substance use and abuse, early sexual experience, parental neglect, emotional and spiritual woundedness, and cultural deceptions.
I’ve given away numerous copies of “Necessary Losses” over the years, usually when I loaned out my personal copy and never had it returned. I’ve replaced my personal copy so many times it pops up on my Amazon account now with the notice, “ready to order this again?” My hope is that it makes an impact on someone else, calls them out of the immature illusions about how life “ought to be” and into reality so that they can learn healthier, adult ways to cope with the trials they encounter.
This young lady, like others, is discovering that fight, flight, or the disabling immobilization of fright are not the only options. There does come a time in one’s life in which she needs to be “robbed” of her childhood. As Jill Carattini says, it is a severe mercy, a hard but necessary loss.
Today, on April 29, 2020, I would note that there is another way that we position this at Titus 2 ministry today. We use a Christian parenting curriculum in which all women are required to participate regardless of whether they have never had children, their children might be grown, or their children might have been removed from their care. It is our general observation that all of us have wounds from inadequate, neglectful, dysfunctional, rejected, or rebelled against parenting that need to be healed. We can engage with God’s Spirit to obtain that healing, in essence re-parenting ourselves through the power of the Holy Spirit and learn the principles, prohibitions, proclamations, boundaries, and promises that we missed and experience the blessings that we have felt denied. It is never too late to discover and possess what we believe we missed. God is a redeemer and restorer of lost or stolen blessings, a reconciler of relationships….. when not with others,. at least within ourselves. And always with God himself.