FEARLESS

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FEARLESS | FEARLESS Preface & Intro. Many years ago, I noticed that healthy connections to God, self, and others are the foundation of peace and fulfillment in life. Without these connections, we perpetuate lies in our minds that become the basis for our self-talk and how we relate to others | #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #FEARLESS #fearlessFEARLESS

Preface

FEARLESS Preface & Intro. Many years ago, I noticed that healthy connections to God, self, and others are the foundation of peace and fulfillment in life. Without these connections, we perpetuate lies in our minds that become the basis for our self-talk and how we relate to others. These lies chip away at our ability to perceive and receive the truth of God’s love for us and leave us feeling like he is far away. With a faith rendered full of holes, we are anxiety-ridden and depressed; we find ourselves perpetuating a cycle of disconnection within ourselves and with those around us.  The remedy is simple. Four scripture-based essentials (respect for boundaries, inherent value as God’s children, recognition of the goodness with which he made us, and openness) are all that is necessary for healthy relating to God, self, and others.  These essentials lead to the abundant life Jesus came to give us. This revelation led me to write this book. I encourage you to pray through it and allow the Lord to minister the truth of his love to you.

Introduction

I’m writing this in the time of lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. We are being bombarded daily with dire forecasts about the connectedness of humanity.  If we carry the virus, we are told we risk making others sick. Social media is plastered with posts and memes that speak of people longing to once again relate closely. Post after post gives people tips on how to cope with the loss of social contact.  We long for connection. The pandemic of disconnection is far more deadly and far less recognized in our world than any virus.

As a licensed professional clinical counselor and trauma therapist, I’ve practiced intensive trauma therapy with clients of all ages for the past 14+ years. Time and again, I’ve witnessed that the deepest and most damaging human experiences come from fractures in connection.   These fractures leave people isolated, their ability to relate to themselves and others, broken. I’ve been blessed to practice and further develop a highly effective method of treatment. The approach treats the traumas first.   After the trauma is healed, the need for healthy connection invariably comes to the forefront, but knowing how to build these connections is not always a given.  I have watched people expend great fear-based energy trying to control rather than to truly connect, exacerbating their own suffering and the suffering of those around them.

For more than a decade of providing therapy, the most profoundly positive and healing experiences people have shared with me are times they felt connected to God, to others, or to themselves. Over and over again regardless of age, gender, socio-economic background, cognitive level, or any other factor, connection, true, authentic, healthy connection, is the antithesis of trauma. Connection is what we are made for and the climate in which we all flourish.

Real communion, I came to understand, is consistently fostered by boundaries, recognition of value and acceptance, and being seen and heard as a unique and precious individual. These form the core of connection.  They flow throughout sacred scripture and synergistically provide the sense of safety necessary for vulnerability and trust. When these ways of being are operating, people are truly able to perceive and receive each other in love, peace, and joy. These same factors are necessary for a healthy relationship to self and to the Lord, as well. When we know the four elements of healthy connection and why and how they fit and work together, we are able to build on solid ground and to navigate compassionately when relationships become challenging.  Without this knowledge, we can easily lose peace and focus.

Accepting the intimacy of the Blessed Trinity residing in us, we start from a place of fullness with our connection needs met to overflowing.  We are perfectly known, valued, and protected by our all-loving, omnipotent God. His perfect love dispels and replaces our fear. (1 John 4:18) It is essential, and commonly most difficult, for us to accept and imitate such love as we relate to ourselves. The healthier our self-talk and integration of his love, the safer we feel, the less others are viewed as threat or competition, and the more his love flows through us to others. That unshakeable assurance we have in God’s love, transforms our hearts and minds. Such fearlessness flows outward into every aspect of our lives. It is the superabundance of God’s infinite compassion for us that is the truest way to find both sanity and sanctity. This is that same Deep Well from which the saints drank. He is no less available to us when we make ourselves available to him. Much of the focus of therapy is often about identifying lies we believe about ourselves which stem from painful experiences. While this can be a crucial step to healing from the past, it’s imperative for us to adopt a new way of relating for the future. We must begin to relate to ourselves, God, and others the way the Lord does for the truth of his love to transform our minds and lead us into his abundant life.

Jesus’ identity was firmly rooted in being the beloved Son of the Father (Connection to God). He thoroughly internalized that identity (Connection to Self) and he related to others in a way that allowed the love of his Father to flow through himself to them in deep compassion (Connection to Others).  Connection to God, to self, and to others is the ever-deepening work of a lifetime. It is not bad news that we haven’t arrived, but rather something to embrace. It’s not that we aren’t good enough or are still broken if we have room for formation in these areas. Rather, it’s the profound reality that God is infinite and being permeated by his all-loving presence is a process. There is always more of him – more love, more peace, more joy. This is really good news!

As I dug into writing this book and was looking for scriptures for each section, scales fell from my eyes. I had previously seen the four connection principles of boundaries, valued, being known, and openness as a ubiquitous pattern, and mentally and spiritually sound. What struck me was that all of scripture is bursting with these concepts, too. I called a friend and told her my find.  Without missing a beat she responded, “That makes sense.  Scripture is all relationship”.  My jaw dropped. That’s it! These connection principles are how the Lord relates to us and how he teaches us to relate, as well. Is it any wonder that they lead to wholeness and freedom?

May the Lord give you peace.

Margaret

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