Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Changes that Heal!

The next few posts will deal with how to bring about change in our lives that  is healthy and staying. I'll be using an outline from the book CHANGES THAT HEAL: How to Understand Your Past to Ensure a Healthier Future by Dr. Henry Cloud.

Let me start with a brief introduction of Dr. Henry Cloud, I was first introduced to Dr. Cloud's books while studying for my master's degree at LBC. I found his wisdom and insight into human behavior fresh and totally biblical.

Here is a little biographical sketch taken from Dr. Cloud's website Cloud-Townsend Resources: Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist with a unique ability to connect with his audiences. Drawing upon his broad range of experiences in private practice, leadership consulting, and media, he simplifies life’s issues and gives easy-to-understand, practical advice. It is Dr. Cloud’s humor, compassion, and “in the moment” confrontation that make his approach to psychology and spirituality such a success.
Dr. Cloud has written or co-written twenty-five books, including the million-seller Boundaries. His most recent books are Necessary Endings and The Law of Happiness. He has earned three Gold Medallion awards, and was awarded the distinguished Retailers Choice award for God Will Make A Way. http://www.cloudtownsend.com/about/dr-henry-cloud/

This first post will cover the introduction to the book and give a overview of the books scope. Dr. Cloud tells us that the purpose of the book is to show that there are biblical solutions for our struggles with depression, anxiety, panic, addictions, and guilt, and that these solutions lie in our understanding of certain basic developmental tasks---tasks that we failed to complete when we were growing up---tasks that bring about changes that heal.

Let me say this, I don't believe that the Bible is in anyway a "self-help book," no, the Bible is the revelation of God's redemptive plan for fallen man with Christ being at the pinnacle of that plan. That being said, I do believe that the Scriptures are God breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and useful for training in righteousness ( 2 Tim. 3;16; 2 Peter 1:3).

The developmental tasks described by Dr. Cloud can be summed up in what I call his thesis statement of the book:

"These tasks involve growing up and into the "likeness" of the one who created you."

Dr. Cloud tells us that "all of our problems stem from our failure to reflect the image of God," the Bible says that we were "created in the image of God " (Gen. 1:27). We are fallen and God's image has been marred and disfigured in us, but God's purpose in redemption is to restore that marred and disfigured image---the Apostle Paul writes that God calls us to be "predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son" (Rom. 8:29).

As I thought through this idea or concept of change and how change is tied to the image of God, and that we are to grow up into the likeness of "the one who created us, it would be impossible to do this unless we know what the image of God looks like so that we can emulate that image.

In order for this to happen we need to study God---his love, compassion, righteousness, holiness, justness, and his faithfulness. Let me offer one book that explores the idea of knowing God---it is by J.I. Packer, the book is called "Knowing God."

Dr, Cloud identifies four aspects of the personality of God that we need to cultivate in our lives that would greatly improve our day-to-day living. Cloud notes: "God is able to do four things that we, his children, have difficulty doing:

1. Bond with others.
2. Separate from others.
3. Sort out issues of good and bad.
4. Take charge as an adult.

Over the next few posts we'll unpack these four aspects of God's personality and try to cultivate them into our own lives---for His glory and honor

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