Emotions & Memories: Healing Our Broken Past

A HIGHER DEGREE OF AWARENESS

In this article, I’d like to cover how the formation of our memories and the substance of sentiment behind them drastically changes the way we perceive the reality in front of us. Additionally, by writing this, I hope—by the grace of God—to open our spiritual eyes by explaining the way our physical senses are but a subtle facet of our more intuitive perceptions—that through heightened spiritual awareness, we can live more fully by understanding the powerful substance of faith. By adding the dimension of faith to our perspectives, I would like to shine a hopeful light on the way we perceive our memories, influencing the impact our sentiment associates to them, consequently reshaping our view of our past. In turn, we can re-estimate the power of hope for our futures through Christ.

THE FORMATION OF SENTIMENT

The scent of freshly cut summer grass has sentimental value to me. After mowing my parents’ lawns (there were two to mow after their divorce) and spending hours upon hours of thinking as I listened to blaring rock music on my CD player (yes, back when we didn’t have iPods yet—and yes, I risked using a CD player while on a ridable lawn-mower) while heavily considering my life, the person I was, and the man I wanted to be but wasn’t—the scent of freshly cut summer grass gradually took on the form of a memory and gained the substance of sentiment.

A SERIOUS DISPOSITION & RENEWED PERSPECTIVE

Over the course of several years in my teens, many people expressed recognition of my serious demeanor. Given the circumstances I was experiencing at the time, I was very serious. There was a lot of emotional baggage weighing on me inside; such as the pain, disappointment, anger, bitterness, and shock of my parents’ divorce. Adding ferocious velocity to my racing thoughts was the shock of the sudden death of my dad’s parents just weeks before my eleventh Christmas. Needless to say, hard rock music took off the edge like a drug. This is why I would play music on the lawn mower while I tuned out into my private world of rumination.

Today, I remember the scent of freshly cut grass, and the times I spent sitting on the mower and riding back and forth, left and right, round and round again for hours on end—daydreaming and thinking about everything in my life. Clearly, years later in hindsight, the scent has a different impact on me than it did back when I was younger and still in pain. More specifically, I’m not living with the heart I abused back then. In the very least, faith in Jesus has given me a renewed appreciation for the scent of freshly cut grass by replacing a rather poignant reminder of the past with something positive and beautiful. Instead of the reminder of a painful phase in my life, cut grass is a reminder of a good, loving, infinitely powerful God who is on my side and wanting what is best for me. This is an example of how faith interacts with our negative memories, forming new associations by distilling hope inside the substance of sentiment. 

SAFE MEMORIES

During the formation of memories, we associate emotional depth to them; this is sentimentality. All our memories have this, but they are not permanent. The reason why is so there can be made room for healing, growth, and change. There is also space and room for further damage, which is why, with the more mature we get, our experiences refine our discernment and enable us to know who is safe to make memories with. This is so we are less likely to form memories we will later regret. Memories can be fragile; the people we make them with—when the memories are damaged with hurt and pain—are untrustworthy. Our memories with harmful people fluctuate in terms of sentimentality, swaying into confusion, worry, and fear.

THE PIVOTAL DIFFERENCE OF SENTIMENTALITY

When we make a child with our spouse, for example, we form the precious memory of emotional and physical intimacy, and how that can lead to new life. This is an extremely sensitive layer of sentiment which, when cut through with the excruciating pains of divorce or death, causes us to heavily reconsider our decision to have committed ourselves to that person, which in turn alters the sentiment previously associated with our memories with that person.

With regards to faith, Jesus works into the sentiment of both: He renews our ability to gauge sentimentality by refining the way we develop the forming of emotional bonds. Basically, Jesus reminds us of the importance of emotions, that we were created to feel these emotions, but that He created us to love; not to live in misery or deprecation. Alike the way we cannot fail in Christ, we also have the ability to form healthy associations with memories by understanding the way Jesus’s love for all people impacts the way we view regret, pain, change, and failure. 

SETTLING FOR LESS THAN GOD

The cost of settling for human affections, expecting them to replace our intrinsic need for an “invisible God”—is the loss of fulfillment, ultimate joy, eternal hope, and a meaningful purpose in dark world. If we can grasp the truth behind these words and the weight of their testimony, then as humans, we may have taken our first step away from agnosticism and the cynicism of Christianity, and towards the hope of an improved, renewed, reframed tomorrow.

Tomorrow only comes with the fallen debris of the past when we carry ours with us like excess baggage. When we let the past go into Jesus’s hands, all that’s left is the hope that if a God like Jesus is powerful enough to keep our world from imploding or exploding in the universe, dying and rising from dead, and carrying our past for us—He certainly can carry us (proceeding, of course, our choice to follow Him obediently in faith) through the rest of our lives—adversity, pain, confusion and all.

We have hope because of Jesus, and when we place that hope in our lust for any one or more things under the umbrella of this attention-seeking, status-grasping, entertainment/social media-addicted world, we forget the importance of understanding the true meaning of whose image we are created in. We intentionally set aside the eternal purpose for which we are called into, and we settle for the desires of our body rather than the needs of our soul. If we cannot see the world beyond that which the world advertises to our lust, we will not understand our need for a hope Jesus was already prepared to share with us from the beginning. 

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE?

My hope is that we will choose to see the world through the eyes of Jesus, and that in so doing, we will give Him our baggage by realizing its redundancy in our futures. Additionally, I hope with recognition of His love and grace, we will come to see the importance of living for God instead of ourselves. A life of selfishness leads to a future of disappointment; a life of giving for the sake of reward leads to future of loneliness, bitterness, and resentment; a life of spiritual denial leads to a life of feeling let down, unfulfilled, and ultimately pointless—as if viewing ourselves as a spec in a universe we aren’t sure why we were invited to experience in the first place. But we weren’t created to feel like disappointments or failures or specs; we were created to feel close to one another and most importantly to God. Because of this, we don’t have to associate the hopelessness of pain and misunderstanding to our memories. Instead, we can associate hope, curiosity, understanding, mercy, forgiveness, and maturity to each memory. Because of Jesus, we don’t have to settle for despair or deprecation, we can live into the hope of a better tomorrow, a better relationship, and a promising eternity. This is the most important association to make with every memory we make: LIFE IS A BLESSING—can we see it?

LET’S CONNECT

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Shared at: Grace and Truth

Letting God be God: The Eternal Soul Vs. Awareness

If we reach deep down into empathy, we understand pain.

When we understand pain, we seek healing at its root cause. When pain is physical, we know to locate the damage and address the wound with bandages or stitches, aiding the body’s recovery process; when the pain is intangible, such as spiritual, mental, or emotional, however—the nature of bandaging the wound changes. Once we understand the difference between physical and mental/spiritual/emotional damage, we can better understand the different nuances of healing. Taking a step further, once we understand the different nuances of healing, we can explicate the depths of human life which expose us to the veracity of the soul. And, finally, if we can understand the significance of the soul, we can shift our perspective about the concepts of pain, loss, and healing.

One of my fondest memories is that of pain. We’ve all gotten to know pain all too well. It’s a friend of ours that we didn’t ask to be introduced to, but inevitably were brought face-to-face with, regardless. 

I’ve experienced all kinds of pain: Depression, anxiety, heartache, weakness of body, soreness of muscles, and energy loss. I’m sure you have a list as well. When we look at our lists, we tend to look at them through the lens that we have suffered, and we desire restoration in place of detriment, inconvenience, hardship, and stress. We view loss of life as extremely painful because we desire to make fond memories with those we love for as long as they’re alive; when they pass, our memory-making ends, and a void is left which we fills our hearts with sorrow and pain. After so much loss, we just about crave any perfected formula to find healing from the pain.

Scientists have been studying the human design for a long time, and one of the most recent studies cover the science of human consciousness. What I find to be marveled through these findings is the way scientific technology has allowed the ability to understand consciousness so well as to be able to construct consciousness from ingredients; the liking of concocting a gourmet meal from multifarious ingredients—but with science, we’re referring to enzymes and the substances which give life the process it needs to develop. What not all scientists study, on the other hand, is the difference between the consciousness and the soul. Let’s say they create consciousness, since we’ve advanced so heavily in our technological generation—but then we come to realize our consciousness is limited. How so? Well, what is consciousness? If you break it down a little, consciousness is basically awareness of the self and its surroundings. What is the soul then, you ask?

In the most basic terms, the soul is the spiritual and immaterial being inside of each of us. If consciousness is awareness, then our soul is our lifeline. Putting it into a picture, even if our heart stops beating, our soul moves on into another dimension of existence. If you are a pantheist, you believe the soul becomes one with everything, since you believe the entire universe is equivalent to God. If you’re a Christ-follower, then you believe our souls go to Heaven or Hell, depending on the state of faith of the person’s soul. If you are an atheist or agnostic, you’re either unsure of where we go or what happens, because you can’t make up your mind with a definitive answer; or, you believe when we die, we just die, and that’s it. End of story. Personally, as a Christian, I believe there is a Heaven and Hell to go to when we die, and the only factor that makes any difference in where we go is whether or not we’ve accepted Jesus Christ into our heart. So, what does this have to do with consciousness?

Turning back to the point about scientists’ most recent studies of consciousness, or awareness, we can remark with pride that the steps we’ve taken on the scale of evolution have certainly gone to great heights. That said, evolution—as may be where we think the credit is earned—completely sidesteps a significant point that no evolutionary advantage could ever evince: the soul. Scientists may have found the way to create human consciousness, but consciousness is not spiritual material, and therefore it does not have what provides human life its fullest measure of existence. Put simply, we cannot claim to have reached a monumental achievement in science’s ability to create life when the life it creates is soulless.  

Only God creates the soul; we have not the skill nor the creativity to innovate such a complex, intricate, and eternal entity. No operating machine could create that which is intangible and without formula; science needs a method, an equation for experimentation—but the human soul is a gift from God: He creates souls, and He makes the ingredients. He may have been generous enough to allow scientists the discovery of what it takes to generate organic consciousness, but perhaps there’s a reason He keeps the blueprint of soul creation out of human reach. History tells us what happens when humans try to play God. All we see is the aftershock of human pride, greed, and duplicity; man wants to create a being as intelligent and sentient as a human while reluctantly categorizing it as artificial: artificial intelligence—or AI—isn’t anywhere near humanity without a soul.

The soul is the home of morality; consciousness does not know morality—consciousness only knows awareness, remember? When we intermix consciousness with morality, we don’t set up the equation properly, and the end result is inhuman. If we somehow pursue the notion that consciousness knows between right and wrong, we’ve misplaced awareness and intuition for the spiritual discernment between good and bad—right and wrong. When we confuse these two, we think ourselves genius in celebrating the creation of artificial life, when the life form created isn’t alive at all—but only conscious; aware.

As deeply tangible as we want to dig, we will not discover the depths of the origins of the soul while here on Earth. And when we try to recreate parts of humanity, believing we can achieve clones, for instance—the closest we’ll ever get is replicas of limbs; hands, feet, ears, noses, etc.—but never a living, sentient, moral, whole-hearted human being. We may get a brain and a body, but absent the personality— the glow of the soul within. Any personality concocted within a soulless brain would be created from formulas induced by the same science behind AI; they would be predictable, short-sighted, incomplete, and limited to a number of processes within a computer template. God’s creation of the soul, on the other hand, is without bounds or limits; that is why we are eternal after we die. To try to give a body life would only be to give it awareness of its existence, but not fear of lack of purpose, for it would desire none. 

If we are created by God, the source of all spiritual matter, then only from God can a soul with a life come. Humans, try as we may, might have uncovered some of the complex mysteries to a certain extent of what may be referred to as scientific evolution, but we are not meant to achieve more than that. My hope in writing this post is that we will heavily consider how every pain we experience in this life can, will, and should encourage us back to the receiving the love of Jesus—the healer of all pain and the God of restoration, through personal relationship and constant communication with our best friend and Savior. 

I’d like you to ponder the idea that though we may find some healing in this life for our bodies, and only by the grace of God—the only healing we should ever seek for our souls is from God; not from science, evolution, or any other such study or concept. Let our curiosities land on the love, admiration, and awe of the wonders of Christ, and not the fallacy that humans should play God in some way. This will drive us to live off of pride, closing our hearts from living in the hope of a painless eternal future with our Creator. Jesus came to rescue our souls, and when we focus more on our bodies than our spirits, we lose sight of the significance of our purpose which derives from Him, and that forfeits the reason for us to need His love; our one and only reason to exist at all. 

With this said, I will close this article by praying for you that these thoughts and ideas will give you food for thought, and complex ideas for reconsideration about life, healing, pain, and God’s promise to renew our hearts and souls. Science will never emulate God, but we can use it to improve our lives in the ways God divulges—one miracle at a time. If you have any thoughts, questions, concerns, or other remarks you would like to share, I would appreciate hearing them. Please leave a comment below, or fill out a contact form above, and I’ll gladly respond to you. God bless you, and may He meet you in your place of need today. I pray you would feel His love for you, that you would come to know Him more through His love and ubiquitous presence in your life. Lift your face in hope that He is coming for those who have faith in Him! You are not alone today, He is right beside you. May you feel and receive this truth, in Jesus name.

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