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Introduction For a lot of people, life seems to be simply a string of frustrations, broken promises, and disappointments. Somehow, people are looking for something better outside of themselves. This results to dangerous behaviors such as alcoholism, substance abuse and depression. The root behind this is the fear of looking inside oneself. This fear may be born out of frustrations strengthened by negative experiences in childhood and even in adulthood. In spite of these fears and these frustrations, most people desire change for themselves.
They want to feel that they are truly alive and that they are empowered to do the things that they are passionate about. They want to get over the helplessness and the feeling that they are trapped in something they do not want to be in. The problem is most people do not know where to start. They start to plan to change and implement. However, after a few days, they go back to where they started from.
For people who truly desire to change, what is needed is a change of perspective and a good understanding of their struggles, their personalities and their character.
After all, self-analysis will only work if a set of criteria has been determined at the outset. The first step to change is to know exactly where one is located. Looking Inside Dr. Larry Crabb’s Inside Out is an attempt to guide people to look at themselves and help them evaluate their situation, their background, and how they can change for the better.
Dr. Crabb’s outlook is hopeful and he seeks to help individuals find the courage to change and improve their lives and their overall person. Although the book is addressed to anyone who wants to change.
Dr.Crabb specifically directed his book to those who want to follow the commands of God written in the Bible, but for one reason or another, they fail to do so. As such, Dr. Crabb’s main goal is to promote obedience to the Word of God. Inside Out is divided into four parts. The first part deals with the importance of looking beneath the surface. In the busyness and crazy schedule of today’s world, Dr. Crabb invites individuals to take a moment and take a look inside oneself. His initial salvo is the call to look beyond the surface and the importance of looking inside in order to effect change.
However, looking inside oneself, especially if one is honest about it, is frustrating. We discover that what we think about ourselves is not the complete picture and that we are still miles away from what we want to become. Looking inside, however, will not be successful without knowledge of what to look for. In this regard, Dr. Crabb provides a criteria and a set of factors that one should look for The second part deals with the needs of people since deep down inside we are thirsty people. We do not always realize the nature of this thirst and that is why it is being slaked by things that do not really satisfy.
Dr. Crabb also wrote about the source of living waters, which is Christ. Christ’s invitation to himself as the living water so that humans “would not thirst again” is clear. Yet, there is still a lot of pain in the world and lack of maturity because individuals are not able to partake of this living water. More than that, however, the urges and desires are mistaken for what they truly are—they are the manifestations of thirst and of the needs of individuals. If people would realize their thirst, they would have a better understanding of themselves and of their needs.
The next part of the book deals with the process of looking into the different solutions and alternatives that people seek to fill their thirst with. There are a lot of wrong directions and wrong decisions that people make in order to quench their thirst. Yet, before long, they will realize that these alternatives are but broken wells that could not really satisfy their thirst. These broken wells are uncovered in Part III and in the last part of the book, Dr. Crabb describes the principles and the steps needed in changing from the inside out. Dr. Crabb said that defining the true problem is the first step in solving the problem.
In this regard, he used psychological steps and techniques in order to help individuals in assessing their condition and helping them in solving their problems. He does not stop at psychology, however. He highlighted the power of the gospel in bringing about change to individuals. The good thing about his strategy is that he integrates psychology into biblical principles and practices to achieve maximum effect. Changing for the better is not only for pre-Christian individuals. Rather, Christians also need to change for the better in order for them to be in step with the will of God for their lives.
As such, psychological tools and strategies in counseling and analyzing personal situations can also be used by Christians in addressing their personal issues. Although this integration may not sit well with other Christians across the spectrum, psychological strategies recognize that as humans, we do have a role in improving ourselves and seeking the will of God. The Holy Spirit ultimately helps us with our struggles and with our issues. However, without our willing participation, the work of the Holy Spirit will be limited. Conclusion
A lot of people have their struggles, past hurts, past sins and other issues that undermine their quest for wholeness and sense of being. People want to change and enjoy the best that life has to offer. Too often, however, they are looking in the wrong places and they quench their thirst with what does not truly satisfy. Even Christians are not spared from this. There are a lot of issues in obeying Christ and in viewing Christian life as a duty and not as journey to enjoy. Dr. Crabb’s book integrates psychology, theology, and biblical principles in helping people deal with their issues and struggles.
This he did in a comprehensive and helpful way throughout Inside Out. Perhaps the most contentious part of his book is his integration of psychological concepts and ideas, which for some Christians is not acceptable. The counter-argument to this line of thinking is that God ordained humans as His partners in working out his will on earth. Through the sacrifice of Christ, humans have been ushered into a relationship of friendship with Him. As such, this relationship, which is at the heart of Christianity, makes it possible for humans to also endeavor for best practices and strategies in enabling the Holy Spirit to work.
After all, human wisdom and activities should be evaluated in light of God’s Word and as long as they do not contradict Scriptures, then using such techniques and strategies, as long as they are helpful and not inimical to the process of change, would be beneficial. Jesus, himself, said that “whoever is not against us is with us. ” Perhaps, this does not only apply to people but also to ideas, concepts, and practices that could enhance our spirituality and well-being.
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