Having a discussion about the problem – no – MY problem (I notice I do that a lot – distance certain things by not using possessive pronouns or trying to reject the ownership. Often I even omit the personal pronouns as a means of self- effacement and minimizing myself. And I promised someone I would not do that anymore. I am finding it REALLY hard. ) I was discussing MY problem of feeling unworthy, disqualified, unforgiven, unacceptable, etc. to God. And I said that I know that – theoretically, objectively, theologically speaking – that is not true. I know that I AM forgiven and accepted by God - and though NOT worthy or qualified in myself, I can vicariously possess those attributes through faith in the completed work of Christ. So God sees me AS IF I am perfect – just like Jesus.
BUT – the problem - MY problem – is that I don’t FEEL forgiven or worthy or any of those other good things – just bad, dirty, rejected, etc. I know that the abuse was not my fault and i don't have to feel guilty for it. I know that the acting out that i did later was my own responsibility and i have repented of that and i know that I have been forgiven by God. But i still feel like crap! I KNOW that is not true but I want to EXPERIENCE and ENJOY that truth – not just mentally assent to the fact.
And then we talked about the unreliability of emotions and how they are not trustworthy. They have been lying to me my whole life! And I KNOW that, too. And I also know the old illustration about FACT-FAITH-FEELING – the train engine, coal car and caboose. There seems to be a common assumption from people who use this illustration that feelings are not important. They say that the train can run without the feelings caboose and it can’t power the movement of the train but has to be last if it is there at all. OK – I get that!
But I am working so hard to get back the use and connection and awareness of my emotions. They were dead and are supposed to be revived and brought back to life. I thought that was what healing means? I don’t understand why I can’t expect the good ones and positive ones to be restored as well as the negative and painful ones. Isn’t that what healthy, normal, functional people have?
So then somehow it came out that I KNOW some things but that is not the same as believing them. So I apparently don’t BELIEVE them. My T says that if I DID believe them, the feelings would more likely come along, too. I guess I am stuck at this point: how do I start to BELIEVE the things that I KNOW? Is that what is missing? Really – I am not relying on feelings – but it would be so great if all 3 – fact/knowing, faith/believing, & feeling/emotions could all be working together – all on the same page, saying the same thing. Is that too much to ask? Am I being presumptuous or too demanding of God? Isn’t that sort of what faith is – an expectation?
"the scariest thing about abuse of any shape or form, is, in my opinion, not the abuse itself, but that if it continues it can begin to feel commonplace and eventually acceptable."
- Alan Cumming, "Not My Father's Son"