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Q: What do you mean by “unresolved childhood loss” issues?

A: In my own counseling practice, I do a lot of what I call "unresolved childhood loss issue" work. What this means is, most of us have at least some degree of spiritual woundedness from our pasts. Some of it may be remembered, and some of it not. But we all experience various manifestations of abuse and abandonment (see “abandonment” Q&A). For some of us, it's obvious and easy to spot. For others, the abuse or abandonment might be more subtle. Either way, though, if left untreated, the hurt that lingers can cause us to seek a variety of ways in which to "medicate" the discomfort. For many of us, it's drugs and alcohol. For others, it might be relationships, or sex, food, adrenaline-creating activities like gambling or extreme sports, etc. We do all of these things in order to numb the lingering pain caused by the false "truths" that we had implanted in our spirits long ago. I call this “kneeling at the false altars,” and am currently working on a new book that goes into greater detail about the concept of “addiction as idolatry.”

If you’re seeing a counselor, I would ask him or her about these things, and see if together you can explore some of the ways in which your inner child might have been damaged, intentionally or otherwise. Once we determine the ways in which we were hurt, we can ask God to lead us into healing, and find through His love that He can replace whatever parts of ourselves we might have lost.

Whether or not you choose to seek healing in a group or one-on-one environment, make sure that the setting is one in which you feel safe to share your inner self. Ask God to grant you over time strength and courage beyond your own as you venture into these frightening places of your past. It's our secrets that kill us. Christ knows our secrets already, of course, but by sharing with others we can discover His love through them.

Helpful resources:

New Life Ministries – 1.800.NEW.LIFE (for counseling referrals)

Prodigal Song: A Memoir tells my story, including my own childhood loss issues, and how Christ has healed--and continues to heal--the wounds.



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