If you are being controlled by an unwanted behavior, one of the first things you will have to do in order to get control of it is tell someone. You, of course, will immediately want to evaluate what kind of person you want to share the less than wonderful parts of yourself to. That's what we are going to discuss here. There are many characteristics to look at in this person you are going to disclose your undesirable behavior to. I will share a few important qualities this person should be equipped with.
I will warn you that some people give all their effort evaluating these less than perfect people to the point that they continue to stay controlled by whatever is controlling their life because they find no one worthy to disclose to. They peer out of their soul's window and can see the flaws in everyone else pretty quickly. In their mind this justifies why they shouldn't be honest with someone else. Let me remind you of the Scripture in James 5:16 and that it does not say confess your faults to "perfect people." The author didn't qualify the other person in any way except they also were human and had Christ in them.
A valuable characteristic of someone to whom you would confess anything to especially an area that has control of you is honesty. Why did I choose honesty first?
It's in my personal and clinical experience that an honest person seems to have already looked at their flawed self. He or she has minimal denial about who they are. This characteristic of honesty usually comes hand in hand that they have accepted themselves the way they are. If they can accept themselves, they will be more likely to accept you, even the flawed you.
Honest people, in my experience, are able to see both ends in life as opposed to those who think in either/or categories. For example, they can hear you discuss about your out-of-control food, work, sex, entertainment, hobbies or other things that are controlling you and be able to see the many good things in you as well.
- Keep Confidence
This is a critical characteristic to have of anyone you are going to share your "buried treasure" with. By buried treasure, I mean the thing that's controlling you but is buried below a bunch of other stuff.
Nobody likes to be betrayed especially when he or she is being vulnerable. Let's face it, many of us grew up in a home where if you brought up something vulnerable, it could come up in future conversations as assaults or jokes.
Listen to the Spirit of God and your intuition of the person you choose to share yourself with and be sure that they can keep confidences.
When you choose to involve someone to help you get control of what is controlling you, it is very important that they are available to you. If a person is the most godly, wonderful person you know, but they live in another state or country, their availability will be limited.
If a person is in the middle of personal or family crisis also consider that they may not be as available to you. You will need someone available to hear you as you start to get control over what is controlling you.
What I mean by accepting is that the person you open up to is not judgmental. We all know the type of rigid Christians who judge everyone but themselves. This is the last thing you need as you open up to someone.
There is a great difference between the religious heart and the spiritual heart. The religious heart will give you judgments. The "you shoulds" and "you should know betters" and "I told you so" are very fluid for the judgment. These Christian types tend to build walls from people, not bridges.
Accepting people are generally more fun to be with on any journey. They can laugh freely at life, themselves and even your jokes. I travel regularly and if I could choose I would much rather have an authentic, accepting person rather than someone who's trying to be an image.
- Not Family
When you are going through the process of getting control over what is controlling you it is best if family is not your main support. Family is family. They may or may not be able to keep confidences. Family is for life. What seems smooth sailing now may be stormy when one spouse makes different choices with their life.
Even in the best of families, I strongly recommend that when you are thinking of sharing what is controlling you that you go outside of the family. Family can be a great support, and they may even have an idea of what is going on but it's best that they are not your primary person who you connect with about these behaviors.
Another reason a friend is better than family is when there comes a moment when you might need to be care-fronted or confronted; you will generally take it better from a friend than a family member. If a family member gave you the same correction as a friend, you may not be able to hear it with the same clarity as you would a friend.
- Spiritually Mature
The issue of spiritual maturity is a great idea for someone you are going to open up to. Now don't go looking for Jesus with skin on him. Even the most spiritually mature person has quirks, flaws and even some less than great ideas.
Does the person regularly seek God? Do they let God in their life to improve them? Do they regularly reference their walk with God throughout regular conversation? Does the way they communicate change when they are not around church people?
If they are spiritual and stable, you can probably take a risk. As you share your heart, even those things that are confusing you, a spiritual person will meet this with compassion.
As you begin to grow, the spiritual person will most often feed your encouragement. The fruit of encouragement nourishes your soul to walk in the grace that God has given you.
Many pastors, priests and spiritual leaders have some training in counseling which may be really helpful to you as you open up. A trained counselor has spent anywhere from four to 10 years training themselves in the spiritual, psychological and biological issues that can be impacting you and impeding your ability to get control over what is controlling you.
One option of talking to a professional is the licensed counselor. It does cost money, but they are worth it. I have 10 counselors who work alongside me at my counseling center in Colorado Springs. The wisdom God has given them through His Word, His spirit, their training and life and professional experience is absolutely worth their hourly rate. So if you need that extra safety net, I would say go for it! You are worth whatever it takes or costs to get control over what is controlling you.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Get A Grip. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at [email protected].
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