Do you ever act like Jesus is dysfunctional?
When you think about a dysfunctional relationship in your life, what comes to mind?
Dysfunctional relationships impact how we function and relate to others. When these dysfunctional relationships are significant and involve trauma, it can cause us to develop unhealthy patterns in our thinking and actions to cope. For example, we may spend a tremendous amount of energy playing scenarios in our minds to avoid being caught off guard. If we have already predicted a particular outcome or imagined the worst, then it won’t surprise us if it happens.
Some other thoughts may include:
“If I am not in control, bad things will happen.”
“I can’t fully trust others because they will hurt me.”
“I have to look out for myself because no one else will.”
These coping mechanisms bleed into other areas of our lives, such as work, friendships, marriage, and parenting. It can also fracture our identity in Christ and how we relate to God.
Surviving and coping with childhood trauma puts you on high alert and makes you feel extra vulnerable and defensive.
Singing the hymn, “I surrender all,” may feel more like “I surrender some” because it feels impossible and painful to surrender all. It doesn’t feel safe to surrender.
Ask me how I know?
As much as I have healed from the devastation of childhood sexual abuse, I noticed recently how much my need for control, safety, and security still makes it hard for me to trust God at times.
And then, it hit me like a ton of bricks – Jesus isn’t dysfunctional.
Yes, I know this on an intellectual level. I know the truth. But, sometimes, it feels like I am preparing myself to expect Jesus to be something different. The Jekyll/Hyde of dysfunction can cast its shadow on my relationship with Christ. It’s so subtle and occasional that I might even miss it at times. I know who God is, and I know the truth, so what is happening?
Something triggers it, and then anxiety and panic bubble to the surface. The silent alarm of “DANGER” screams in my mind, and the cycle begins. In desperation, I frantically attempt to “fix” or “prevent” or “manage” my circumstances even though I know God is with me.
What can I do about it?
Here are three truths that I turn to when I need to remind myself that Jesus isn’t dysfunctional.
1) Jesus never changes. What you see in public is what you see behind closed doors.
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind. (1 Samuel 15:29 NIV)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)
2) Jesus doesn’t blame me or make me feel guilty.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 NIV)
3) His love never ends, and He never leaves me.
Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39 NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV)
Friend, you may find yourself surrounded by dysfunction, but that does not have to bleed into your relationship with Jesus. He is your strong tower, your defender, provider, and Abba Father. There is no dysfunction in Jesus!
When you are struggling, what promises help you to remember that Jesus is not dysfunctional?