Life on the River: Part 3

The Third Project: Revisit the past in new ways

Life On The RiverAt times we need to pause and re-visit painful stories of the past. But the primary purpose for doing so is not to beat up on ourselves or on each other but to understand the stories differently. We do it to navigate the river. Without new understanding, there is no growth or healing, and we will continue to bump into the same obstacles.

Our bad memories and negative feelings are stored in the part of the brain where the “fight or flight” feeling originates: the amygdala. It’s a primitive part of the brain and plays a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. When left in charge, our decisions are controlled by fear.

To reach healing, we have to understand our stories through the logical, rational, clearer-thinking part of the brain: the cortex. And we further understand them through the Holy Spirit whose Radical Love conquers fear.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Which bad memories still control my emotions today?
  2. What emotional reactions of my beloved are really not about me, deep down, but could be better understood as an unhealed memory?

Strengthen your relationship:
Write a story of healing. (Tip: writing requires the cortex.) Start by describing a recent painful feeling, and then write what fear is telling you about it. Then prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit for a truth that counters this message of fear, jotting down whatever comes to mind.

Note: We are all on the river that is life. We do not control the river – Almighty God does! … At times the river can be challenging and frustrating. At times it can be difficult and painful, sometimes frightening and discouraging. And yet, the river also provides us with comfort and joy, solace and hope – strength! Our purpose is to go with the flow of the river and, with God’s help, gracefully respond to whatever it presents us on the journey. (Quoted from Frederick Lue, M.Ed., L.M.F.T., Marriage and Family Therapist)

When we see our relationships this way, we can gain new perspectives. This post is Part 3 of a 4-part series based on Dr. Lue’s four projects on the river for improving our lives and relationships.

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© 2016 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries

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