Monthly Archives: November, 2011

Feeling at War with Yourself and Moving Toward Peace by Courtney Slater, Ph.D.

Have you ever experienced a disagreement within yourself?  You may feel like you are moving in two opposite directions at the same time or having two opposing feelings. Common examples of this include advancing in your job, while longing for a different kind of life or loving your family, but also feeling angry with them. Or you may feel ashamed of part of yourself and you work to keep it a secret, because it seems at odds with your sense of self.  An example of this could be developing a relationship with your partner, while secretly feeling attracted to another person.

This kind of internal conflict—experiencing two seemingly opposite emotions, thoughts, or behaviors—creates distress.  This can cause anxiety, depression, or emotional pain that can translate into problems at work or home and in your relationships with your loved ones. You might notice that when you try to silence or deny part of yourself you end up feeling irritable, tired, or argumentative.

If you experience this kind of internal conflict, I want you to know that there is help.

Modern psychology recognizes how painful internal conflict can be for an individual, but far before the birth of modern psychology, ancient scriptures discussed these issues. Psychology recommends the same things that we’ve heard from God since the beginning: come out into the light, receive grace and love, and experience new and transformative life.  It is through relationships that we heal.

We often hide ourselves because we fear condemnation or invalidation, but Jesus offers grace and new life through his resurrection.  He says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  And Paul wrote:

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(Romans 8:34-39)

If you feel divided against yourself and in need of clarity, freedom, and renewal, I encourage you to share your story with someone who is safe and supportive. By talking about it, in the presence of another person who offers grace and mercy, you can begin to sort through the issues, receive rest and healing, and gain a sense of strength and freedom. What is more, when we do this with each other we fulfill God’s call for us to love one another as he has loved us (John 13:34).  If you’re feeling nervous about sharing or you want the help of a professional, please call Pike Creek Psychological Center. We would be happy to listen to your story, offer grace, and work with you to form an integrated and renewed life.


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