Learning to Love Well

We’re studying the chapter entitled “Grow into an Emotionally Mature Adult” this week and I am amazed at how God has answered my prayer to show me where I’m at on my journey to emotional health. I love the examples given in this chapter that give a true picture of what it looks like if we are emotionally immature in contrast with what real maturity looks like:

Emotional Infants

    Look for others to take care of them
    Have great difficulty entering into the world of others
    Are driven by need for instant gratification
    Use others as objects to meet their needs

Emotional Children

    Are content and happy as long as they receive what they want
    Unravel quickly from stress, disappointments, trials
    Interpret disagreements as personal offenses
    Are easily hurt
    Complain, withdraw, manipulate, take revenge, become sarcastic when they don’t get their way
    Have great difficulty calmly discussing their needs and wants in a mature, loving way

Emotional Adolescents

    Tend to often be defensive
    Are threatened and alarmed by criticism
    Keep score of what they give so they can ask for something later in return
    Deal with conflict poorly, often blaming, appeasing, going to a third party, pouting, or ignoring the issue entirely
    Become preoccupied with themselves
    Have great difficulty truly listening to another person’s pain, disappointments, or needs
    Are critical and judgmental

Emotional Adults

    Are able to ask for what they need, want, or prefer…clearly, directly, honestly
    Recognize, manage, and take responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings
    Can, when under stress, state their own beliefs and values without becoming adversarial
    Respect others without having to change them
    Give people room to make mistakes and not be perfect
    Appreciate people for who they are…the good, bad, and ugly…not for what they give back
    Accurately assess their own limits, strengths, and weaknesses and are able to freely discuss them with others
    Are deeply in tune with their own emotional world and able to enter into the feelings, needs, and concerns of others without losing themselves
    Have the capacity to resolve conflict maturely and negotiate solutions that considers the perspectives of others

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – pgs 178 & 179

When Pastor Ross first preached on this topic last week, I felt like it would be hard for me to judge where I am at since I am not married, or working in an office with co-workers, or living with a room mate, etc., etc. I asked the Lord to put me in some situations where it might be obvious where I am at emotionally…and boy, did He ever answer my prayer!

Many times over the last week I have found myself in conversations with others getting critical and judgmental about the topic of conversation. And as you may have picked up on a few of my posts, I have definitely been preoccupied with myself and my future….that surely doesn’t help me truly listen to others pain and disappointments because I am too wrapped up in my own! I thought back to my tendency to avoid conflict with others and not wanting to rock the boat. Then the Lord reminded me how so many times when I was married I would blame and pout when I didn’t get my way.

Well alrighty then…I guess it’s pretty obvious that I’m an emotional teenager! But praise God He is helping me to learn what it is going to look like to be emotionally healthy, and praise God that I have so many others who desire the same emotionally healthy spirituality walking along side me, and a whole church committed to it!

I look forward to learning how to love well. That’s a long way from where I’ve been for the last twelve years, and I praise God for that.

9 thoughts on “Learning to Love Well

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Yes, wisdom is not just a matter of intellectual knowledge but also emotional understanding and moral propriety. Splendid!

  2. Praise the Lord, you are doing well!

  3. Sounds like you are involved in a great Bible study. It is easy to focus on yourself as I learned through my cancer journey and during times of crisis. This is our natural default. However, I was once told that self-absorption is one of the fastest ways to lose contentment. Why? Because when we think of ourselves, we lose sight of God. I have self-prescribed a dose of praying and seeking out others’ needs especially when I become pre-occupied with my own life’s circumstances. It works every time! Somehow through the process God meets my needs as well as me helping to meet someone else’s.

    Oh, and as far as going back and forth in your healing process – keep sight of what is at the end of the road. I produced a ministry CD entitled “The Comfort of His Holiness – Reassurance in Times of Crisis” that musically depicts the baby steps we go through to ultimately come into full recognition of the comfort only God can bring. I used it as a gauge for myself as I slowly moved back and forth through the steps knowing that at the end there would be glorious praise and thanksgiving. The last song? Give Thanks. I will send you a CD free if you like.

  4. This is so great. Athena, you’re ministering to so many of us while trying to fix yourself. That tells me you’re not very far from where you think you need to be in loving people. Maybe there’s a thin layer you have to peel, but not much more. I see a person who wants to help others even though you’re one of the most beaten down refugees. Thank you much for this great post. Although, I do see a lot of toddlers and infants in my life I need to put up for adoption!

    • Hey Cindy, thanks. I am hopeful that my process speaks to others. At least something good will come out of the tragedy.Learning to grow up at this stage of the game (I’m 59 for Pete’s sake!) is a trip, but well worth the effort. Love you lots!

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