“What’s causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” – James 4:1 NLT
As a coach I am faced daily with people who want to change. It’s my job to help people get from where they are to where they want to be. The biggest challenge for me as a Christian coach is trying to help people understand that “where they are” is not “who they are”. As a coach, I can help you change. But the first thing we have to do together is examine who you think you are and why that doesn’t work for you anymore.
I’ve seen personal coaches get down and dirty with clients to pull out that true identity. In my opinion, that’s just a mean-spirited display of brokenness looking for an outlet. True healing and wholeness come from love. Sometimes the love is tough when you have to face harsh truths about yourself. But it should always be defined by 1 Corinthians 13; patient, kind, not jealous or boastful, not proud or rude. It’s not irritable and it keeps no record of wrongs.
The passage in James 4:1 above basically says, “You’re just mad at me because you’re mad at you.” It’s a truth that is hard to get to and even more difficult to fix. I help train my clients to pay attention to the body’s response in situations that lead to conflict. If someone says something that offends you it’s either because: 1) it goes against who you believe you are and you resent it 2) it’s an accurate truth and it’s painful. In either case, you lash out at the other person because of “the war within you” not because of what was said or done.
Enough! Let’s call a cease fire. Here’s why you’re mad and what you can do to change it.
Problem: You Hate Your Past
Solution: Accept your past This is the biggest obstacle to wholeness. Own your story without judgment. Accept it for what it is, a history. You can’t change it. You can’t cover it up for long, either. Move forward from this point of acceptance. This is critically important for dealing with childhood trauma and abuse. You can’t erase it. You have to accept it and move forward.
Problem: Your Present is Phony
Solution: Call Yourself Out Just keep it real with God (and yourself) about who you are and what you are feeling. Because you hate your past you’ve created a phony present, a mask to cover what you think is ugly. However, this mask keeps you in the dark so you’re angry, especially at people who breath clean air with the sun on their faces. Check yourself when you begin to overcompensate or create a faux identity to impress people. Call yourself out on the mask.
Problem: You Don’t Get It
Solution: Ask Why When you are angry or afraid search deep for the reason and don’t give up until the answer is from inside you and not about someone else. Pray and ask God to help you understand why you feel the way you do. Read your Bible for insight. Go to therapy to work it out.
Problem: Your Environment is Polluted
Solution: Watch Your Terrain Surround yourself with people who exude love and acceptance. Stop talking about people. Excuse yourself when the conversation gets negative. Choose to read, watch, and listen to things that empower you to move forward one good decision at a time. Take this thing seriously and be intentional about the change you want for your life.
Problem: You’re a Perfectionist
Solution: Just Be Human. We build our identities from the circumstances and situations in our lives, rather than from who we are on the inside. You’re human. You make mistakes, learn hard lessons, and have days that just need a big eraser. Don’t let them define you. Let them inspire you to lean into God. The human experience is full of ups and downs. It’s normal. Be okay with that.
You are a human being, created by God for a purpose–big purpose, little purpose, broad purpose, narrow purpose –purpose nonetheless. Your identity is defined for you by The Creator. You are not a “failure” because you failed at something and you are not a “winner” because you won something. These are things that happen to us and though they shape who we are, they do not provide the definition for our identity. God does.
James 4: 8 says “Come close to God, and he will come close to you.” Go ahead. I dare you to admit to God right now that you hate, resent, or secretly fear who you are . Now admit that this self-hate makes you hate, resent, and fear certain people. You should know that fighting with those people will never stop the war inside of you. You need a special weapon on the inside. 2 Corinthians 10:4 tells me that the weapons I use for war are not standard human weapons like name-calling, gossiping, and criticism. You will only win this thing with love — accepting God’s love, embracing self-love and extending love to the very people who spark that tiny war inside of you.