“A human being does not grow beyond a problem that has deep emotional significance for him until he comes to terms with that problem: until he understands it: accommodates it in his life arrangements; if possible, resolves it entirely…A man cannot control what he hasn’t named…Their effect is felt in the reactions/patterns of life he now follows.” (from When Men Think Private Thoughts)
Problems come at us regularly like a wasp at a picnic. We can swat at them and try to keep eating like nothing is wrong, or we can determine if we can continue with such a major distraction to our peace. Very rarely do people want to address their problems; they hope those things will magically go away by ignoring them. Meanwhile, unhealthy/dysfunctional life-patterns and reactions in relationships begin to develop to cope with that avoidance. That person receives consequences for avoidance, and the people around him/her get hurt at some level. All the other people that love that person can “see” what is broken, and unless they are assertive in nature, silently hope/pray that their friend will someday “get it” and get healed from it so that their life will brighten.
So, how do we determine if we have an unresolved issue? Ask someone you deeply trust to tell you the “last 5%”, which is a nice way of saying, “Shoot straight with me: What am I doing that you see is unhealthy or that I’m blind to?”. Pray to the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you gently so that no 2-by-4’s are needed to get your attention. Then determine with hightened resolve, that you will wrestle the problem to the ground and do the right thing. The world will rejoice and you will have removed some barbells you’ve been carrying around, allowing you to experience more peace–and to potentially help someone else on their journey.