To get better, we need to have a place in which to process. The best place to learn to do that is in small group. We have only one rule to protect you, and that is confidentiality. Nothing leaves the room. Depending on the small group leader and his style, we also have several strong suggestions that most enforce as well. They are: don’t interrupt when some is speaking, no advice, no fixing, no church words, and no Bible bandaid horizontal fix-it prayers.
What we learn in group, we take into life and make it a lifestyle. We get good at processing and letting others do the same. The rules and the strong suggestions still apply in life. They work. It is a code we live by and expect from others. It’s healing.
Processing is messy, but we need it. We have to do it. We gotta have a place we can lay our stuff out there, get it in the light, and look at. We come alive when we are able to share openly, without judgment, with men that we feel accepted by. We start talking about things we have never talked about before. We get ideas, find answers. We become known, we get to know others, we correct behaviors, we feel loved, we heal, we get better together.
What I say from the pulpit are things I have already processed. What I say up front is true, its who I am, it’s solid. What I say during my share in small group is often messy, imperfect, and my thinking isn’t always spot on. It doesn’t have to be. I’m working through things, I’m listening to myself talk, I’m getting my thoughts out there. I’m purging, cleansing, organizing, feeling. When I’m done, if I’m doing it right, I feel better. I feel loved. I feel accepted. I recognize what isn’t true, I see my faulty thinking, I make adjustments. I redefine my goals, I plan my week, I get prayer, we hug, I’m good, I’m ready to go. It’s just what I needed.
The night before Jesus’ execution, He processed with His Father. He was working through things that He didn’t want to be working through. It was tough, painful, extremely uncomfortable. But He had to put it into words, He let his emotions flow, He let His words speak honestly, and it got Him to the place He needed to be. He processed so that He could save us.
In 2 Kings 5, Naaman had to to dunk himself in dirty water to get healed. Not just once, but many times. Get over the pride of perfection. Know that the mess that comes with processing is temporary. The result is a better you.