Grace, Truth, and Changes That Heal
Book review by Jenni Weatherly, Communications & Administrative Manager
What does it really take to become a mature adult? How does we live out our relationships in a truly loving way?
Changes That Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud is a sharply insightful and eye-opening book that answers these questions by describing four specific changes we can make to our lives in order to improve our relationships and, ultimately, to become ourselves. It’s a bestseller, as well as something of a classic in the arena of personal growth and development, and rightfully so. That’s in large part because of how readily it simplifies these changes, as well as the reasons why many of us need to make them later in life.
These changes in question are:
- Bonding to others,
- Creating healthy boundaries,
- Separating good and bad, and
- Achieving adulthood.
When we miss these steps of relational growth in childhood, we need to find ways to pursue them in adulthood, as well as in our adult relationships. And it’s crucial that we do so, because these changes reflect an ability to live as a separate person who sees one’s own innate value, while still being connected to others, because we are created for both.
That is to say: we’re meant to uniquely be ourselves and reflect the light of God, as well as live in close relationship to one another.
Perhaps most effective in making this point is Dr. Cloud’s use of case studies, which serve as helpful mirrors to one’s own tendencies and personal situations in life. Multiple times I found myself underlining epiphanies people realized in these case studies, as they were so astutely stated and similar to thoughts I’d recently had myself.
Although Dr. Cloud is expert at simplifying these concepts, it’s important to realize that putting these changes into place in life is not always so simple. Old habits are potent: we have to invest a much higher level of attention into our actions, words and interactions in order to be self-aware and do something different. That ties into one of the key points that Dr. Cloud makes: that is, our need for safe people—and spaces—in order for us to be kept accountable while making these changes.
This book can hit close to home while one is reading it. It inspires a strange vulnerability that allows one to step out of denial, which is necessary to finding healing and growth, but also quite difficult. But again, that’s another reason to pay attention to the safe relationships and groups in our lives: that’s where we can work through these changes free of fear and steeped in a sense of forgiveness, as well as grace and truth.
That’s the real core of this book, too: that is, that grace and truth are in equal measure necessary to healthy relationships—with God, others, and oneself. And when we come to recognize that we are God’s, and reflections of Him, we can begin to look at ourselves with grace, truth, and love, and be the fullest, healthiest expressions of who we were created to be.
Interested in exploring these changes in a small group setting? We’re offering a 5-week Changes That Heal small group for men starting Monday, Jan. 29, 2018! Led by Grant Berger, it promises to be an encouraging time of study, conversation, and exploration. To learn more and register, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit sunodia.org/events.