Let me tell you a little about my life in my early 40s. I had a successful career making a good income, a large comfortable home, position of respect in the community and my church. It looked as though I had it all together on the outside. But inside; not so much.
As I became painfully aware of just how much my life was out of control, I began a journey towards recovery. Along the way I was given many gifts in the form of a Christ-centered recovery program, others on their journeys and many helpful books. In the book “Facing Codependency” by Pia Melody et.al. is a pure gold nugget, the Five Natural Characteristics of an Authentic Human Being or the Overview of Codependent Development. Please come along as we explore these powerful insights that have been essential on my journey to wholeness. They were taken and rearranged to form a subtitle of this story is How to Live a VIVID Life.
Let me begin with several bold assertions. God created us to live a VIVID life as we recognize how and who created us and for what purpose were, we created. So let’s start at the beginning. The acronym VIVID stands for Valuable, Imperfect, Vulnerable, Immature and Dependent. These are the five natural characteristics of the authentic human being.
Let’s take each one, one by one, look at it, define it and see how it applies to us.
Valuable – precious, unique
In the beginning God created us, He created us unique and precious. After forming us from the dust He breathed life into us, this is different from the way He created all other living creatures. He set us apart for a unique purpose that only we can fulfill. He created us precious and unique in our relationship with Him and with others. We are told in scripture that before the foundations of the universe were established God thought of us, each of us, knew our names and thought we were a good idea. All along the timeline of history and specifically our history He continued to think of us as a good idea, the moment of our conception, birth, and development and even now He thinks of us as a good idea. We are “on purpose”. When we begin to understand our value in relationship to God we have a better chance of reclaiming our authenticity, without pride but in humility and strength
Imperfect – perfectly imperfect
The first “I” stands for Imperfect. We are created perfectly imperfect. This sounds like an oxymoron, a contradiction but clearly points us to the fact that we are perfectly created with a need for Him in a special part of us. Some refer to this as “The God Hole” that guides us to desire a relationship with Him, our creator. This also allows us the ability to make mistakes and even sometimes we do the wrong thing on purpose knowing what we are doing which leads to guilt feelings that can cause us to rectify the situation and ask forgiveness, make amends. If we were created perfect we would have no need for God nor anyone else for that matter. We could be an island unto ourselves and we know that that is not the natural state of man.
Vulnerable – we can protect ourselves, we get to decide who and what is safe for us
When we are born, of all creation we are vulnerable and helpless the longest. Although most teenagers would argue, the human child needs nurture and care for at least 15 years! During that time our parents and caregivers make decisions for us to keep us alive and developing towards a healthy human being. Obviously we know children that are in situations that call for them to grow up too fast and they seem to be able to pull it off but that is not natural. That is survival and even sometimes subsistence. Adults that grew up that way develop problems in later life that left unattended can produce adults with problems big and small. So as we become adults we need to know that we can protect ourselves, we have a right and a duty to protect ourselves. We also get to decide for ourselves who and what is safe for us to let in to our lives; what information, what people, what situations get past our boundaries.
Immature – we grow daily, I will be more mature tomorrow than I am today
Our natural authentic self is designed to grow. From the time we became a new life from two cells, one from mom and one from dad, we grew. Finally after 9 months we come out fully formed able to live outside the womb but the real growth takes off from there until we reach our adult size. But even then we continue to grow in knowledge and skills we need to survive and thrive. We become more mature each day, that is the natural authentic self and if it doesn’t then we know there is something wrong. Research indicates that by the time we are 4 years old we will have learned 40% of all we will ever know and that by 8 we will have learned 80% of all we will ever know! That is why we push children to learn and with their natural curiosity we prepare a safe, healthy, welcoming stimulus rich environment that leads to a balanced engaged adult. We also know that we have the ability to grow and put things together, form wisdom and insights until the last breath leaves our lips, the last heartbeat fades, that is the way God created us to be.
Dependent – I have needs and wants and know the difference
Many of us grow up to become independent adults, capable of leaping great buildings, faster than the speed of light and living life completely on our own terms. That is not natural, we need to grow up to be interdependent on others we trust and are worthy of our trust as well as a healthy dependence on God. One of the main concepts in this area is the recognition that we have both needs and wants and that they are both acceptable and ok. The natural attribute is to know the difference between them.