Some of this will be obvious to you all, but I’m sure some folks here will connect with this. Feel free to skip the preamble and go to the questions below.
It’s always been my quest to let God shape me and to become the man He would have me be. Tonight it kinda clicked for me that all the setbacks I’ve had and most of the real sources of pain in my life* are from some unholy thing taking residence in my mind right where God should be. I realized I can identify many of the struggles in my life by a tic or crutch I used.
Here are some examples:
When I was young I was afraid to make myself vulnerable (I still am), so instead of asking out girls I liked I sat on my hands. My tic was retreating into myself. Puberty + other problems had me in a lot of inner pain and it was unbearable, so I’d repeat in my mind “mercy, mercy, mercy God” all the time. In college I was stressed and lonely, and my crutch was eating rich foods and drinking alcohol. When I’ve craved intimacy (including nonsexual intimacy) my crutch has been porn and masturbation. When I think about how I possibly embarrassed myself or wronged somebody my tic is a physical tic. When I developed anxiety and I was tormented by doubt and guilt and the thought that I wasn’t saved, I didn’t have a tic because nothing helped. I did however reassert my faith in spite of my feelings. That’s one example I have of relying on God over a crutch.
*Note: I have been blessed not to suffer much personal tragedy so forgive me if my issues seem small.
I think this all has a lot to do with the chemistry of the brain. When something is off (loneliness, fear, hunger, etc.) our brains make us (perhaps via pain) correct it. This video has the basics (yes it’s TedX but it’s fine):
For me the loneliness was a constant in all these things. And along with my crutches, I would further isolate myself when feeling these pains. And that just fed into it. The brightest times in my life were ones where I had fulfilling and steady relationships. The biggest strides I’ve made were accompanied by less loneliness regardless of how I related to others.
So basically what I wanted to discuss was this:
How do we replace our crutches with God?
Can we overcome chronic loneliness through a relationship with Christ?
How do you break yourself out of the cycle of loneliness? How do you connect to people meaningfully?
How do you guys pray in times of pain and/or sinful urges?