“Our problems do not really harm us……problems are solvable. But PATTERNS will DESTROY. A pattern is a problem that recurs. Look for those.” ~ Dr. Henry Cloud.
I love this quote and have found it to be so true as I have applied it to my life. We all sin and for sure patterns of sin are a problem we all face. As a Christian our desire should be to sin less. In order to do that we have to look at our lives and realize there can be patterns of repetitive sins that can become so engrained and familiar to us that we don’t even recognize them as sin. They can become an accepted part of who we are such that we are blind to, not just the problem but, the pattern.
Henry Cloud is a psychologist, a Ph.D. The most impressive thing to me though is that he is a Christian and a very gifted writer and speaker. He has a gift for teaching and applying Scripture to our every day lives and issues. He is most famous for the book he co-authored, “Boundaries”. He has studied human behavior and how we respond (our human nature which is a sinful nature). He is superb at bringing natural human patterns WE ALL can develop to light. He points out their HARM and how applying the “POWER OF GOD’S WORD” enables us to have victory over the habit forming patterns (sin) in our lives.
Dr. Cloud has written many books. In the front of one of my favorite books he has written, “The Secret Things of God”, he shares his personal testimony. The written version in the front of the book is so much better than I can tell it but I want to share just a little. He became a Christian as a sophomore in college. He was a college golfer (side note: I had read 5 of his books and was on to the 6th one before I knew he was a college golfer. All three of my kids have played college golf. Point being–I loved his books and wisdom way before I knew that!) On with the story.
As a sophomore he experienced an injury that took him out of golf and was heartbroken over a girl. To say the least, he was extremely depressed and at his wit’s end. He was sitting in his dorm room and saw his Bible which he hadn’t opened since he had been at college. He decided to read it. He was desperate for ENCOURAGEMENT. He opened it and read, “But seek ye first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Then he read, “Therefore, do not WORRY about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” These verses are found in Acts and Corinthians. He decided to do just that. With his limited understanding, he decided to find the SMU chapel and go there and pray. While he was by himself at the chapel he invited Jesus into his heart. He tells that nothing really happened except that he felt different. He notes it was way better and different than how he had been feeling. He went back to the dorm room only to have the phone ring. [this is so God!!!!!] It was a guy he barely knew calling to invite him to a Bible study! WOW! WOW! WOW!!! The guy didn’t know what he had just done, only God did!!
Do you see how God works????? I love testimonies of how God brings people to Himself and then provides ENCOURAGEMENT!!! He then fast forwards his story to tell how God orchestrated the events of his life to come to a life committed to helping thousands of people who find their lives in the “ditch” and using God’s profound word to help them out!!!!
You may not be a psychology fan or believe in counseling. It is my belief that if you read his books you may feel differently. Dr. Cloud goes on to say in his book, “The Secret Things of God”, that the secret things are NOT REALLY MEANT TO BE A SECRET. He teaches that most people get and accept the WRONG IDEA about God and believe it. Therefore, the things of God remain a secret to them.
I highly recommend his books. I even got to hear him speak this past May at a Leadership Conference on “Boundaries for Leaders”. God’s word applies to all areas of our lives. God has gifted many people such as Dr. Cloud with an ability and desire to communicate how to connect the dots of life to God as our Creator and Provider.
I encourage you, if you are in a valley or difficult time, turn to God. Seek Him and his righteousness as Henry did in college. When we are stuck or experiencing difficulty, we are usually doing the same thing but expecting different results. We want God to do something new but we keep doing the same things. WE have to decide to do something different. The only way to predict the future is to create it and why not seek your Creator? Delete the regrets, learn from the past and lean into the arms of God. It is not what you know or think as much as it is about taking a step of faith to trust. Some people don’t do that until they are in extreme emotional or physical pain and discomfort…….
Understand God is there for you, not just Henry Cloud or me. I encourage you again, if you are in a difficult place, trust Christ and read His word. Read some helpful books such as the ones Dr. Cloud has written. His books are helpful in giving insight on how to apply God’s word to your life and your circumstances. As Dr. Cloud points out, the things of God are NOT a SECRET, we Just have to SEEK THEM!