It was my first local church ministry position. I had been born again at age 21 and fast-tracked on my spiritual journey. I served for two years on the mission field; went to Bible school for a year, met my wife, had our first child, and was invited by my pastor to join full time staff.
Shortly after joining the staff I began to encounter a new stream of emotions surfacing from my heart. It became consistent, and the basic content was: jealousy, anger, insecurity, rejection, and the like. These feelings would manifest when I saw my pastor interacting with other male staff members. Logically of course, it made sense. With 20+ employees, the leader is responsible to shepherd everyone. But a child heart doesn’t always understand logic.
In a nutshell, I was projecting my need; transferring real live emotions onto my first spiritual father, expectations off the charts, for him to mentor me. I wanted something exclusive, a father-son special bond. Desire wrong? Not at all. However, obsessive projection onto another human being is unhealthy at best – a sure prescription for spiritual shipwreck. Unrealistically projecting onto people, wanting them to fill the void that only Abba can fill, usually leaves us in the end, disappointed with them, and with God.
In His mercy, God will cause emotions to surface from the heart. Emotions, positive or negative, put us in touch with our true selves, after which comes the opportunity of re-directing our feelings into a renewed mind. Yes, people are part of the process; but healing does not come FROM them; it comes THROUGH them. Fathers and mothers in the spiritual are to follow the path that they take in the natural. Parents nurture and train, then release their children into their life’s calling and purpose. I see it similar to scaffolding that embraces a building when it’s being built or repaired, but afterwards it is removed. It certainly would be odd to see scaffolding remain as a permanent part of the structure. Such a word picture aptly describes co-dependent, and other types, of unhealthy relationships.
Thankfully, there were two staff members who operated in an “inner healing” type of ministry, that came alongside of me in this season. (Thank you,Mark and Cheryl.) I was beginning to learn how to face my losses and rework them at the source. The father wound is like a loss that must be grieved. Left unhealed, it will always leave one with the tendency to “lean in” to relationships – a bit off balance. It also manifests in an avoidant type of behavior; staying extremely “walled in” for protection.Thus I began the arduous process of balancing the scales of my heart
To be continued…