Connections are the greatest coping skill no matter what you are dealing with, whether daily do’s or death. There are many situations that require connections and many ways to connect. These links make life endurable and enjoyable. There may be times you are barely hanging on. You want to escape from reality so you don’t have to realize the pain that is present. So you sleep, and don’t want to get out of bed in the morning or you self-medicate in your attempt to curb the chaos that is disrupting your existence.
I know someone who lost a daughter in a tragedy. It was a long journey with the illness and she was overwhelmed when the child died. She was having painful thoughts and images which kept her awake when all she wanted was to escape in sleep. When this happens counseling is an immediate need. A professional counselor can help you cope and give meds or insight as needed to aid recovery. She said she tried counseling but it didn’t help because she stuffs things. If you stuff your stuff it will build up layer after layer until you have a mountain of issues that you have to scale everyday and it is exhausting. No wonder she wants to sleep all the time.
Group counseling may work better for some. You may find a kindred spirit from someone who is going through a similar situation. They may understand what you’re going through on the heart level, not just head knowledge. In the “Despicable Me” movie Gru had light bulb moments where he had a revelation. This may happen when you share with someone who has had similar experiences and you realize you are not the only one feeling that way, or not feeling because you are numb. You may have a light bulb moment that you are not crazy after all! Stuffing your stuff will inhibit this process of moving from hurting to healing.
Let’s look at the many aspects of connection that provide stability and the ability to function fully as God intended. There are three ways to get and give support according to Matthew 22:37 which says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
1. Love God:
- Link to God: A connection to Him is crucial, He is Love and He loves you with an everlasting love. Trust Him and He will give wisdom, direction and joy. (Proverbs 3:5-8) Sometimes that is all you can do for this world and your circumstances may make no sense. But, He has the eternal perspective.
- No link to God: If you don’t want to talk to God, consider how He loves you whether you love him back or not. You have to talk to someone you can trust. We are built for community. Keeping alone or stuffing your situation will bring a whole new set of problems such as fear, anxiety or depression. The more you stuff the greater the pressure, the bigger the explosion.
- God loves us: It’s all about a relationship, not religion. A knowing which indicates intimacy. He knew us before we were born, “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,…” (Jeremiah 1:5a NIV) He knew us when we made bad decisions. He knew us when we called out to him. Like the prodigal son, God sees you, has compassion on you, runs to greet you and celebrates you. He wraps His arms around you. (Luke 15:11-32) Imagine the God of the Universe wrapping His arms around you! Leave the past behind, run to Him and fall full into His warm embrace. You will find unconditional love beyond human comprehension and the best relationship ever for now and all eternity. “For God so loved the world, that the gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)
2. Love Your Neighbor:
- Links to others: Like a chain link fence that keeps out harm, these links of connection will keep out unwanted intruders. Whether emotional, physical or spiritual areas, you will be protected and able to keep the good stuff in (not stuffed) and the bad stuff out.
- Stand strong with others: How do the towering redwood trees survive with such shallow roots? They are only six feet deep but their roots go out 100 feet to the side and intertwine with the roots of other redwood trees. With this root system they can survive strong winds and storms and are able to tower, not topple. They won’t survive alone, they need a tribe to thrive. This speaks to us about how we need each other in the strong storms and even in the summer breezes of life.
- Choose: You may not feel like being positive or social. Be determined and choose to smile, to validate the people around you. Greet them with enthusiasm and they will feel special and a link will begin to form between you. Then you will look forward to seeing that person again because there is a bond. At work I may be tired or discouraged, but when I greet others like I’m excited to be there, I smile and feel energized inside, glad to be there. And of course there are my Grandkids. They are special and I validate them in the morning by an enthusiastic greeting, a smile, a hug and “Good morning Sunshine!” They think somethings wrong if I don’t give them this excited greeting.
- Negative ties: There may be unhealthy connections from your past. Abuse, addictions, or neglect. Maybe you were the one who was addicted to the addict. I was. I enabled my son many times, I just wanted him to succeed in life. After I went to counseling and realized I had to let him go on his own for his success to be achieved, then I felt the negative tie to him break and the relationship was more positive. If you need inner healing, seek someone who can help with those wounds that go deep. You need healing for those traumatic memories so you can have effective and healthy relationships with those around you.
3. Love Yourself:
- Care: Take care of yourself every way and everyday: physically, mentally and spiritually. This is not just an occasional spa day. Kindness cares, therefore be kind to yourself and then you can be kind to others you live life with; your kids, grandkids, family, friends or even a stranger that longs for kindness and care. Like mama always said, eat right, get plenty of sleep and be sure to brush your teeth!
- Identity: Know you are a beloved child of God.”See what great love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1John 3:1a NIV) Called indicates not just our name, but our purpose, our calling. Realize you are loved by the Father who is your creator. You are special beyond your comprehension.
- Share your stuff: This opens the door for who you are sharing with to share their stuff. You are being there for each other. Make sure it’s someone you can trust. I have a dear friend that I have shared many life experiences with. This connection has become a bond that cements our sisterhood.
- Journal: If you voice your frustrations one hundred miles / hour, you may forget what you have said. Taking the time to write gets your concerns out there and before you know it you realize a resolution has been manifested in ink and in your Spirit. You may not want to share some things with even your best friend. It makes you feel vulnerable, but God will never reject you, so don’t think so. “…all who come to me, I will embrace and will never turn them away.” (John 6:37b TPT) I have written some things and wadded them up and thrown them away. Sometimes the sharing stops with you and God.
When we were kids we played connect the dots. Aa we progressed there was a change from a partial picture to a completed image. As you share your stuff instead of stuffing it, you are moving to the next dot. Connection is a journey to completion. As you connect these three commandments they converge to bring completeness, giving you the most beautiful, balanced and beneficial life!
Stuffing creates darkness, not connections. Don’t let your stuff weigh you down with discouragement, despair, darkness or depression. Bring it to the light where stuff will be lighter and lighter, until it’s not weighing you down and you are lifted by the lightness in life you now experience.
Sharing stuff, Debbie
Sam is a businessman, writer, entertainer, speaker, husband, father to six children, grandfather and great grandfather. Sam graduated from Huntington University with a B.A. in phychology and drama and pursued a degree in Broadcasting from Illinois Central College with graduate level studies at Christian Leadership University. Sam is the creator of Granpa Cratchet, one of the most successful touring shows in the history of the live events industry. Millions of people see Granpa every year all across the United States at fairs and festivals. His characters have appeared on every major network: Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show (4 times). Sam and his characters have made over 500 local appearances and on all the major networks; NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, PBN, The LeSea Network, The PTL Network and Praise the Lord. They currently appear all around the world every week on YouTube and Facebook, and on several satellite networks via the Kidz Television Network and The Captain Hook (children's) Show.