Don’t Make Me Open Up a Can of This…

can o' resolution

Resolution is a big deal in the counseling business.  People come for counseling to get resolution for interpersonal conflicts…resolution for depression…resolution for marital struggles…resolution for anxiety…resolution for grief… resolution for financial struggles…resolution for past hurts…resolution for anger problems…resolution for sexual concerns.  If I could put resolution in a can and sell it, I would be rich.  Just a quick bite of resolution and you’re on your way.  Unfortunately, in the real world, resolution unfolds in a process.  And that process can be long and painful.

What exactly is this destination called resolution?  How do you know when you get there?   I believe the answer begins with the word itself:  resolution.  At the most elementary level, resolution is simply a re-solving of something that was formerly solved.  Resolution becomes necessary when our former solution no longer works or becomes invalid.  For example, let’s say my son brings home with a less than stellar grade report.  He and I would definitely have an issue that needed resolution.  The former solution for grade achievement was obviously no longer working.  He and I would enter into a process that would lead to a new solution.  The re-solving might include tutoring, increased study time, reduced recreational time, and more accountability.  Even though the old solution wasn’t a total failure, the new one would take into account the present realities of his academic situation.  After processing the variables, dynamics and possibilities, Bud and I would reach a re-solution that featured a new plan or strategy.  More resolutions on the grade issue may be appropriate as subsequent results come in.  Sounds pretty simple, huh?  Unfortunately, what seems like pretty straight forward problem solving becomes complicated when applied to the more abstract issues of life.  The resolution process is actually similar for those deeper transitions but the time frame and intensity is different.

For years the counseling profession emphasized people processing feelings as the primary road to resolution.  During the 1960’s and 70’s the idea of freely venting one’s emotions was popular.  Intuitively, “getting your feelings out” seemed positive and healing.  However, exploring and expressing emotions rarely guaranteed new solutions and often led to damaged relationships caught in the explosion of brutal honesty.  Without a doubt, processing feelings is an important aspect of resolution but by itself is not adequate.  Life altering transitions necessitate extensive re-solving of our life plan.  For example, arguably one of the most powerful and devastating life events is the loss of a loved one.  We know that the grieving process always involves the expression of complicated and often contradictory emotions.  The feelings of sadness, guilt, anger, regret and hopelessness can be overwhelming.  The beliefs and strategies that once gave life meaning and a sense of safety become obsolete in an instant.  Grief resolution involves the gradual discovery and experience of new ways of being in the world.  The grieving process minimally takes a year and typically longer as people move toward re-solving life without the loved one.  Small wonder the grief journey is not brief.  It involves answering questions as profound as “Who am I?” and as mundane as “How do I pay my bills?”  Grief resolutions go all the way to the core of one’s existence.

Facing our broken solutions requires courage and humility as we trust Christ for new life paradigms.  Don’t forget:  Working through the process involves relationship.  The journey toward resolution is never a solitary exercise.  If it could be done alone in the privacy of your home the can o’ resolution would selling like hotcakes at your nearest Wal-Mart.  Until that product becomes available, we absolutely need each other.

But hey…it’s fortnight.  Go out there and be resolved to make this an awesome one….

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