8 Life transforming questions to ask yourself in Episode 15

8 Life transforming questions to ask yourself 

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Tuesday, February 28th, 2023

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Podcast link: https://open.spotify.com/episode/05epQGSorW0CqWg7HYQlkM?si=o-0mVIHsQxSsV7t5T8ZYeQ

Blog post: https://www.otakada.org/8-life-transforming-questions-to-ask-yourself-in-episode-15/

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Series – Perfect Relationship24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships.

Episode 15 – Wounded Parents Overcoming Discouragement – Action Points for Deep Personal Healing for Parents with true life stories – 8 Life transforming questions to ask yourself 

8 Life transforming questions to ask yourself 

Friends, last week, in our series on perfect relationship, we explored –Episode 14 – You’re the Problem, Not Me! – How to Stop the Pain – Externalist – Comparing and Playing the Blame Game  – True Stories 

True stories and lessons on The Pains of Comparing ourselves with ourselves, Blaming others and Danger of Driving forward with Rear View Mirror in our Relationships – Charles, and Marilyn Martin and their three (3) adult children failing Marriages ;

And stories on Looking Back-What Went Wrong?And What If… ? Robin,  Jack Stevens and Son, Richard; Arthur, Betsy Wallace, and Susan; Phil, Constance Fisher and Jeff 

Find the link below – https://www.otakada.org/episode-14-youre-the-problem-not-me-how-to-stop-the-pain-externalist-comparing-and-playing-the-blame-game-true-stories/

Today, we are looking at Episode 15 – Wounded Parents Overcoming Discouragement – Action Points for Deep Personal Healing for Parents with true life stories – 8 Life transforming questions to ask yourself 

Overcoming Discouragement

In time, a wounded parent becomes a discourage parent: one “deprived of confidence, hope, or spirit,” as the dictionary says. The word discouragement literally means “the state of having one’s courage reversed.” One wounded parent told me that when his son was arrested by the police the experience was like having the wind knocked out of him.

Another, when she discovered that her daughter was engaging in premarital sex, described her feeling as a deep sense of disappointment, wherein her hopes, desires, and expectations for her daughter were totally frustrated.

Instead of continuing to sink into discouragement or disappointment, these parents were blessed with the will to overcome their sense of despair over the actions of their children. The fact that you are still following this series on 24 Tools for building bridges of harmony and taking down walls of relationships means that you, too, have the will, the desire to work to overcome parental Discouragement.

The Search for Healing – Action Points for Deep Personal Healing for Parents with true life stories

Most wounded parents want answers for questions as, “How did this happen? We did the best we could as

parents, so what went wrong? Why did God allow this to happen? Why didn’t God keep this from happening?” In reality, wounded parents do not need answers to such questions, if in fact there are answers. This information would not be helpful with regard to the future.

If you did have all the information as to why your child went astray, what would you do? Avoid a repeat performance with the next child? Possibly, but given the uniqueness of every child, it is not likely that information would make that much difference.

Wounded parents do not need information as much as they need healing.

What do I mean by healing? First of all, we need to understand the nature of the wounds. The wounded parent’s injuries are emotional: discouragement, disappointment, depression, despair, a sense of failure, anger, frustration, grief, guilt, a feeling of rejection, and self-pity.

We discussed this in earlier episodes.

How is a physical wound treated? A diagnosis is made: location, size, type (for example, knife or bullet), depth, and the extent of damage. The wound is usually cleaned with antiseptic. If it is large, it may need stitches, then proper bandaging. Finally, time and considerable dependence on the body’s restorative powers complete the process.

Emotional wounds need to be assessed also. This means that you begin with yourself: a deep, serious, and honest self-examination. This is a good biblical idea, as Paul once suggested (see I Cor. 11:28, 31). Many of us have never taken the time to look at ourselves closely.

Jesus alluded to self examination in Mathew 7:1-5, were He told us not to judge but to remove the log from our eyes so we can see clearly to remove the splinter in our brothers eyes. Jesus was saying we should judge ourselves and not others you see.

Examine, judge, discern, and evaluate the nature of your hurting. Whether it is self-pity, guilt, anger, or an honest anxiety for the welfare of the wayward son or daughter, at least identify the nature of the wound.

How do you do this?

I suggest two methods.

Primarily, you need to talk about your feelings so you can get a clear and objective look at them. This means you need to find one or more sets of willing to learn ears that will be understanding, objective, accepting, supportive, and reflective.

In addition, you can determine to use this experience
as an opportunity for your own spiritual growth.

Therefore, I am suggesting both an individual and a group-oriented approach to healing. This is a program of working on yourself both in private and in a supportive group.

You may need to begin with individual counseling, if you have access to a qualified person. Consider your pastor: does he have the training and experience to help you? Some pastors do and others do not. At least consider the possibility of giving him the opportunity to help you. If he is not a good choice for counseling, there may be other possibilities:
another pastor who is qualified by training and experience; a full-time clinical pastoral counselor in a counseling center; or a Christian professional counselor (psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist, or marriage and family counselor).

Moreover, you can find another wounded parent who has experienced healing from God. In your church, there are probably several. Such a person might be willing to be your sounding board. Remember that he or she has walked where you now walk and has something to offer you out of that experience. Such a search for experienced ears may well result in the discovery of a group of wounded parents.

The most important method of identifying your wounds and beginning the healing process will be your personal examination (although not entirely separate from your spouse).

8 life transforming questions to ask yourself 

Action Points: Personal Questions and Authentic Answers about yourself as parents – 8 life transforming questions to ask yourself 

The examination I have in mind will seek to answer basic questions

such as,

1) “Who am I?

2) What motivates my behavior?

3) How do I feel about myself?

4) What are my life goals?

5) What kind of person am I?

6) How do other people see me?

7) How do I relate to those about me?

8) In all honesty, what basic changes could I make in my attitudes and behavior that would improve the atmosphere in my home and the relationships I have with those nearest to me?”

The Birth of Hope

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If you can discover some answers to the questions just listed, you will be on your way to change and growth. You will begin to experience the birth of hope. You may not be able to do much to change the attitudes and behavior of a rebellious son or daughter (at least it seems that way for the present), but you can do something about yourself.

When you get to the point where you can say, “I cannot change either the circumstances that surround my family and me or the course of events that have already transpired, but I can change me,” then hope will have been born in your life. Please realize that I am not leaving God out in saying this. Actually, any deep desire on your part to change yourself will itself be a gift from God. God is not the God of stagnation.

How do you change yourself? You change by growing. But in this you are not alone. Growth is an act of God, because God is the creator of the life you have, and a vital part of that creative process is the process of growth. Your responsibility is to put yourself in a position where growth can be stimulated and encouraged.

When Harold and Connie Morris realized that Melissa might run away again at any time, they agreed that something had to change. Since they were virtually powerless to change Melissa, it occurred to them in counseling with their pastor that they could possibly do something about themselves. After all, why would Melissa want to run away from them? Why would she reject them? What were her peers offering her that her parents were not providing? Both Harold and Connie agreed with their pastor that they needed a serious re-examination of family priorities.

For the Morrises, their re-examination began with each of them as a parent. They decided to spend thirty minutes each morning in private, Harold in their bedroom and Connie in the kitchen before breakfast, in a systematic plan of

Bible reading and prayer, seeking specific ways to change themselves. Starting this simple endeavor brought a birth of hope into this family. This is not all they did or all that happened to them. I’m only pointing out how they started the process of growth in overcoming their parental discouragement.

Spiritual Growth: A New Strategy

What is spiritual growth? A clear definition is needed.

There is a lot of confusion and narrow thinking about what these words mean. As I see it, spiritual growth is a process of developing one’s relationship with God, who is revealed in Jesus Christ, and allowing God (with your active cooperation) to produce in you the personality and character He intended, which will reflect through your personal uniqueness something of the likeness of Jesus Christ.

As a process, growth takes time. As long as there is life growth is taking place. Consequently, we never “arrive.” The Christian is always in the process of becoming. The Christian life is a journey. Christians are pilgrims, not settlers. Recall that the basic invitation of Jesus to become one of His disciples was, “Follow me!” (John 21:22).

It is certainly possible for one’s relationship to God to become stagnant, retarded, or arrested. I know.
My greatest growth as a Christian of over 25 years or more was in the past five years and the growth process is still ongoing. I have not arrived yet and I am not where God intended for me to be, character wise. Remember, the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit as depicted in Galatians 5:21-22 have to do with difficulty in relationships and especially with others. It’s about handling our emotions. As long as our emotions are still screwed up in some ways or many ways, we are still some serious work in progress. Grinding, pruning, the cutting off will continue and it is a very painful process. God does not schedule it, He permits it for His overall work in transforming you and I into the image and likeness of His dear Son, Jesus Christ

The sad thing about it was that for so long I was not aware of it. It took a crisis to expose my lack of growth in so many areas in my life, especially in relationship with others. Many of us think that because we go to church regularly, participate in various church activities, hold certain offices in the church (even be the pastor!), have some familiarity with the Bible, and know how to offer a prayer, that we are spiritually mature. Such reasoning is shallow thinking.

Spiritual growth is a process in which one’s relationship with God is maturing. The maturing process involves the several facets of one’s total being: body, mind, spirit, life (or soul), and will. It includes becoming increasingly sensitive to the reality of the presence of God in my life. It includes expanding my awareness of God’s plan and will for my life, including both the overall blueprint and the particular and daily details. It involves becoming increasingly responsive to the will of God for my life in both trust and obedience.

The maturing process, in other words, involves a sensitizing of the inner person (see Eph. 3:16) to the presence and will of Jesus Christ in and for my life and for my family.

Moreover, spiritual growth is a process in which one’s various social roles also mature. As a human being, you live out several roles in relation to others: husband or wife, father or mother, son or daughter, friend, neighbor, work associate, employer or employee, citizen, church member, member of a racial group, member of a profession or vocation (businessman or woman, pastor, mayor, senator, schoolteacher, principal, soldier, store manager, physician, attorney), aunt or uncle, nephew or niece. The list seems endless for each person. You see, as a human being you are not an isolated individual. You are a social being related in some way or another to other social beings. A maturing Christian life includes the way we live out all of these social roles. I cannot be a Christian person devoid of my responsibilities as a Christian parent. One automatically entails the other.

Therefore, the maturing process involves a sensitizing of the way I relate to others through all of my social roles as a follower of Jesus Christ. Love for God, for example, requires an effort to love others also (see I John 4:7-21). This is one reason why spiritual growth is so vital for improving our relationships with other people, including parent-child relationships.

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Consequently, spiritual growth becomes a new strategy for overcoming parental discouragement. This was true for me and for several other wounded parents with whom we have worked. However, keep in mind that although wounded parents may feel driven to new experiences in spiritual growth because of their problems with their children, all of us have discovered that God was simply using (although not causing) our tragedies to bring us to a new and more meaningful relationship with Him, which helped us to become stronger Christian parents and persons than we had been.

Spiritual Growth: A Healing Process

In every instance, the wounded parents mentioned thus far discovered that spiritual growth, in time, was also a healing process. When Phil and Constance Fisher discovered Jeff’s involvement with drugs, they were thoroughly confused as to why Jeff would do such a thing. They could not understand why the influence of their Christian home had not served as a better deterrent than it had. They truly felt that they had done the best they could to provide Jeff with the environment of a God-centered, Christ-honoring home. They not only were disappointed in Jeff; they also were shaken about their Christian faith as they had understood and practiced it. They felt that something vital must have been missing. Their hurt was aimed not only at Jeff, but also toward their relationship with God.

When the Fishers reached the bottom of despair, they refused to acknowledge defeat as Christians. Instead, they determined to find out what was possibly missing in their relationship to God. Later, they decided that it wasn’t any missing element in their Christian home that caused Jeff to do what he did. Several factors played a part in his choices.

But the Fishers did discover a vital relationship with God as they chose to engage in a definite program of spiritual growth. As a by-product, spiritual growth became for them as wounded parents a healing process. Specifically, what did the Fishers do? First of all, they both decided that as a result of their experience with Jeff they wanted to grow spiritually.

Phil and Constance both believed that they could not afford to let this experience go by and not come out of it as stronger Christians, parents, and persons than they had been. Second, they committed themselves to a special private worship time with God each morning. A systematic program of Bible reading chosen, along with prayer, meditation, and diary-keeping for recording prayer requests, impressions, and insights gained during this time.

The initial fifteen-minute time block gradually grew to thirty or more minutes.

Third, the Fishers began a program of reading carefully selected books by Christian writers. Several good suggestions came from their minister, the church librarian, and a local Christian bookstore manager. From time to time, Phil and Constance would discuss with each other what they were learning from their reading. They found that by reserving an hour for such reading before retiring to bed, they could read several books a year.

Fourth, the Fishers sought out other wounded parents, and with the help of their minister began meeting with three other couples on a regular basis in the homes of the group members. For two hours, one evening a week for several weeks, these couples shared their common struggles, offering each other insight, support, and encouragement. The Fishers discovered that by combining their private spiritual
growth disciplines with a sharing-group experience, they not only received considerable stimulus for growth but also contributed to the growth of other parents who had been through similar experiences.

After several months, the Fishers realized that a healing process had been taking place in their lives and that their feelings of discouragement had turned into an exciting adventure of discovering levels of living never known before.

This is not to imply that all of Jeff’s problems evaporated.
Phil and Constance continued to go through some difficult times with their son. However, it wasn’t long before Jeff realized that something unusual was happening to his parents

1. A suggested resource is Peter Lord, The 2959 Plan: A Guide to Communion with God 

and the changes taking place in their lives, in time,became the stimulus for change in Jeff’s behavior and attitudes.

Spiritual Growth: A New Goal

The Fishers discovered a new goal for their family: spiritual growth. This is not to suggest that spiritual growth should become an end in itself. Quite the contrary. The Fishers’ growth became the means for God to become a vital life-changing force in their lives. Instead of being consumed by self-pity, discouragement, anger, depression, and despair, Phil and Constance released Jeff to God’s care and did something about themselves.

As their relationship with God deepened, the Fishers learned that Jeff was not simply their problem. He was God’s problem, too; and God had His own special way of dealing with Jeff. They learned to release Jeff into God’s keeping each morning. This was a tremendous relief. Spiritual growth brought an awareness of God’s control of their unique situation.

By concentrating daily on the nature and depth of our relationship with God, we are less likely to become sidetracked by anxiety, worry, and fear over what’s happening or could happen to our children.

Moreover, healthy spiritual growth (not the egocentric, “Jesus and I,” self-absorbed kind) motivates us to reach out to others who are experiencing similar problems and pain and offer our healing support.

The God who turned a cross into a resurrection can work similar wonders in your family, although maybe not in the way you desire or expect. In a few years hence you can look back and see that God knew what He was doing and did the best thing for everyone involved.

The Strength of a Support Group – Accountability Partners 

Wounded parents tend to feel cut off and alone in their dilemma. It is normal to want to withdraw from others when your son or daughter behaves in a way that you feel reflects badly on your parenting and Christian faith. You are embarrassed. You feel like a failure. You don’t know what to say when people ask what happened or how it happened. This is doubly difficult if you are a respected leader in a church. Imagine how a pastor feels when he recalls the words of I Timothy 3:5, “for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s church?” It doesn’t help much to remember that “the sons of Eli [the priest] were worthless men; they had no regard for the LORD” (I Sam. 2:12), or that Samuel’s sons went astray (I Sam. 8:3).

This is the time when you need other people, especially those who have walked where you walk and have strength to offer. My experience with wounded parents has taught me that involvement in a small support group is invaluable.

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You will learn that you are not alone. Most every church has several wounded parents. Ask your pastor to help you arrange for a group to meet together to discuss the possibility of becoming a supporting ministry to each other. Several books about small groups could be consulted for getting started. We will share , “Books about Small Groups,” later for suggested titles.

A support group can offer a sounding board for your feelings, helping you to understand them. A support group can give you a sense of a larger family of concern. The typical nuclear family (father, mother, children) lives at a great distance from other relatives, for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins. This extended family once functioned to provide considerable support and encouragement during times of crisis. A support group can help to make up for that loss. A support group can offer the knowledge of wider experience, helpful suggestions, ideas for coping, and evaluations of your opinions that could prove beneficial as you try to relate to a wayward child.

A support group can in several ways become a type of life-support system for an unstable family situation, without which that family would disintegrate.

A wayward son or daughter can create a strain on the marriage of the parents.
On how to create a support group, we will share that later in the episodes.. standby

The Pain and the Gain of Growth

At first, spiritual growth can be painful. Many active church people have great difficulty admitting to themselves or to others that they need to change. They mistakenly believe that after twenty, thirty, or forty years in the church they have “arrived,” that they represent the epitome of what Christianity is about, that there is little if anything left to learn or discover.
Why is this? Pride is the answer for some.
They prefer to live in the illusion that theirs is normal Christianity. The answer for others is that they truly believe that they have done all that is expected of them, that there is nothing else to learn, and that God has revealed in their experiences everything He has to offer.

It is not easy to look at your spouse and say, “I have made more than my share of mistakes; this crisis in our home is driving me to my knees to pray as I’ve never prayed before; I am not the Christian I ought to be; my relationship to God is cool and distant (or, I’m confused about why God allowed this to happen); and I am going to do something about it.
Will you join me?” For some, it will be the most difficult thing they have ever done.

Moreover, the thought of exposing your fears, failures, frustrations, and doubts, even to a group of fellow Christians you can trust and who truly love and accept you, can be intimidating to some people. Actually to do so, at first, can be painful. The pain is real. But the gain makes it worthwhile.

The pain of humiliation, confession, and repentance is replaced by the gain of growth: strength, forgiveness, joy, discovery, encouragement, renewal, reconciliation, not to speak of the new adventures in living that God will open to you. If you want to overcome your parental discouragement, you will have to get involved in the rigors and discipline of spiritual growth. Your wayward son or daughter may not come back as did the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) in the way or the time you desire, but a new beginning will have begun in you. And that’s a start worth starting!

Questions for Discussion

1. What word describes your present feeling toward your wayward son or daughter?

2. Do you identify with the idea of a need for healing? If so, what is the nature of your emotional wounds?

3. What basic changes can you make in your attitudes and behavior that would improve the atmosphere in your home?

4. What does the phrase spiritual growth mean to you? Are you presently experiencing any? Describe this growth.

5. How can spiritual growth be a healing process?

This brings us to the end of Episode 15 – Wounded Parents Overcoming Discouragement – Action Points for Deep Personal Healing for Parents with true life stories – 8 Life transforming questions to ask yourself on our

Series – Perfect Relationship24 Tools for Building BRIDGES to Harmony and Taking Down WALLS of Conflict in our Relationships.

P.S. – Question for you:
In reading and meditating on our post today, have you noticed similar patterns in your own relationship that you would want us to discuss with the hope of dealing with this negative patterns? Please let us know. We will be eager to help out! Info@otakada.org, both Whatsapp and sms numbers are USA,  +12407287276, and Nigeria,+2348032835348
You can do a voice recording or video recording and send to us via those numbers.
 Shalom to you and your entire household..
Stay out of pain and suffering by Staying out of Judgement for judgement belongs to God!
Ambassador Monday Ogwuojo Oreojo Ogbe
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