Category Archives: Pain and Fear

Symptoms of Rebellion – Part I

In some ways, animals are way smarter than we are. When it comes to rebellion, there are quite a number of things we can learn from them. Take a horse for example. Once a horse is ‘broken’, it will comply with it’s master and will be obedient. Not so with us humans, no matter how many times we are broken, we have this knack to stray back into our wild and rebellious state.

While we have the free will to be wild and free, and it may seem like fun to be a rebel and to decide our own fate, the problem is that we are terrible masters of our own lives. I remember when I decided to do my own thing – be the master of my domain as it were – it ended up with me eventually crying to God for help for I had made a mess of my domain.

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: When we decide to do our own thing instead of the God thing is when we find that life will do us dirty

While God will not stop us from taking the reigns of our lives, He does want us to know the kind of life we are signing up for when we decide to rebel against His lordship. Here are three common symptoms of rebellion.

Symptom A: Faint Heart (Isaiah 1:5)

Heart beat signifies the presence of life. The fading of a heart beat represents that a person’s life is slipping away from them. So it is with us spiritually!! Since it is the Spirit of God that gives life, the fading of our heart beat spiritually means that the Holy Spirit is losing its influence over our life.

Just as a fading heart beat indicates that we are slipping from life to death, the loss of the influence of the Holy Spirit over our lives represents the slippage from light to darkness; from the kingdom of God to the kingdom of the world!

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: A person with a faint heart is a person who has begun to lose the experience of the treasures of God’s kingdom – Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control

Instead of the wonders of the Kingdom, rebellion causes us to experience the blunders of the world – this includes jealousies, contentions, wrath, hatred, and all manner of undesirable traits.

Question to Ponder: Is my heart beat strong or has the beat of the Holy Spirit within me become faint?

Symptom B: Sick Head (Isaiah 1:5)

Our head is our thinker. For our head to be sick means that our thinking has become warped. It our thinking becomes warped, our behavior and actions will follow suit. If there is one major symptom of a sick head, it is paranoia.

Once in the throes of paranoia, the head makes up fantastic stories, delusions, and conspiracy theories that all make sense in the person whose head is sick. Perhaps no finer example of someone who had a sick head exists than that of King Herod the Great.

Another major symptom of a sick head is anxiety. I once heard someone say ‘everyone worries’. Well, i say just because everyone worries does not mean that everyone should. Both Jesus and Apostle Paul tells us not be anxious. Anxiety comes when our thinker is not being led by faith but is being influenced by fear. Hence, we see that fear, insecurities, and anxiety are symptoms of a sick head

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: While faith makes one heal, fear makes one sick

Question to Ponder: Am I anxious because I have rebelled against the truth of God’s word

Symptom C: Body full of untreated wounds, bruises, and sores (Isaiah 1:6)

Imagine a person who is covered in bruises, wounds, and sores. Such a person is in constant pain and would not like to be touched. So it is with spiritually with a rebellious person. Such a person is wounded, carried around pains from the past, and does not allow others to get close to them lest those people touch their sore spots. And because there is no part of them that is sound, such people are very easily offended and hurt.

Now, nobody goes through life without having some bumps and scrapes along the way. But for the whole body to be covered in untreated bruises, wounds, and sores as Isiah 1:6 puts it is a different matter! For the whole body to be covered means insinuates that the person continues to make the same mistakes time and again. For these wounds, bruises, and sores to remain untreated insinuates that the person has not bothered paying a visit to the physician – Jesus is the physician (Luke 5:31)

304px-light_bulb_icon_tips-svgLight-bulb moment: Life has enough vicissitudes of its own; why add to the troubles of life by adding our own rebellion

Question to Ponder: Why am I further wounding myself when I can submit to the One who can heal my wounds?

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10 Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Depressed – Part III

Living in Disguise, having a sense of Entitlement, being Prideful and Rebellious, Envious, Selfish, Stubborn, Insolent, taking too much ownership, and Narcissism are character traits that spell D.E.P.R.E.S.S.I.O.N. These traits lead to depression because they destroy relationships and tend to rob us of our need to be loved and accepted.

(9) OWNERSHIP: Taking ownership is usually a positive trait as it usually means we are taking responsibility for our lives. Yet this positive trait can lead to unintended negative consequences when we take ownership for those things that we have no business owning. Taking ownership of something we cannot reverse such as past mistakes is a losing battle since we cannot go back in time to fix them. It only leads to frustration and the propensity not to forgive ourselves.

The craziest things about taking ownership of your past sins is this: You are taking ownership of that which no longer exists. In Christ, your past sins have not simply being covered, they have been remitted. Another word for remitted is dispatched.

See, one of the many wonderful things about having a relationship with Jesus is that he has taken ownership for our sins. Every sin you have every committed or could ever commit has been placed on him. So please, do not take ownership of something that you no longer own. And please don’t mistake the consequences of your sin with having ownership of it.

All of us have to take ownership of the worldly consequence of our sins but the sins is no longer something that the Lord imputes to us. All sin is imputed onto Jesus once we accept Him in our lives

 

(10) NARCISSISM: Are you hypersensitive to less than glowing feedback? Do you tend to blame everyone else for your failures? Are you always looking to take credit for everything good around you. Does it always have to be your way or the highway? Is it all about how you feel and how it affects you? Do you lack empathy for the plight of others? If you answered yes to these questions, then you have some of the character traits of a narcissist.

If you have the traits of a narcissist, then your key words  are ‘let go and let God’.

Submitting ALL of your pain, your past, your hurts to God is the only way the fears, insecurities and trauma that leads you to want to control everything will ever be eradicated. Instead of comparing yourself to other people, a simple comparison of yourself to the holiness of God will lead to surrender. If you do not know what is in your heart that you need to submit to God, just ask the one’s that know you the most. Ask for their brutal honesty and listen with an open mind and heart.

Remember that the wounds of a friend are faithful but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Proverbs 27:6). I don’t know about you but I would rather be wounded now and heal than be trapped in the cage of self-deceit.

Acknowledging (confessing) that there is a problem is the first step to solving it. When you confess your faults instead of trying to defend them (and so deceiving yourself), you leave room for God to do His best work in your life.

Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you – Hosea 10:12

It is time to break up the fallow ground of our hearts so we can enjoy the best God has for us.

 

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10 Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Depressed – Part I

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), roughly 18% of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. The contributing factors that may promote depression are many. They include abuse, certain medications, conflict, death or loss, genetics, substance abuse, major events, and other personal problems. Additionally, factors such as our upbringing, our coping strategies, and our general view and outlook on life impact the possibility of us developing anxiety disorders.

Being a proponent of the “Prevention is Better than Cure” principle, I wonder how many cases of depression can be prevented if we learn the right copying strategies, have the right perspective on life, and perhaps avoid the character pitfalls that have the ability to drag is unto the dark pit of depression.

Just as an unhealthy lifestyle promotes many cases of obesity and cancer, there are some things that we should avoid if we want to reduce the likelihood of falling into depression. Here are 5 of 10 things we should avoid that promote D.E.P.R.E.S.S.I.O.N.

(1) DISGUISE: In masquerade parties, we wear masks and pretend to be people we are not. In real life, we tend to wear masks to hide who we truly are. Many times, it is because we are afraid of being a disappointment or are afraid of being rejected by people. Hence, fear is the main reason people where masks. For most of us, mask wearing is only meant for a particular audience – perhaps in our workplace or when around certain caliber of people. The problem comes when we are so deeply fearful that we no longer take off our mask – regardless of company, situation, or circumstance. We are in dangerous territory when no one around us really knows who we are. When this happens, we do not have real relationships but have developed illusions of relationships. We feel deep loneliness because no one know who we truly are though we may be surrounded by people. Many comedians wear masks and so suffer from depression.

A key to stop our mask wearing is to know that we have been accepted. Our acceptance does not come from who we are or what we do but from who God is and what He has done! So let us take off our mask and allow people to see the real us. We must leave the place that tells us we have to behave before we belong; we must go to the place where we first belong well before we behave. That place is at the feet of Jesus!

(2) ENTITLEMENT: When we feel entitled to something, we not only feel disappointed when we do not get it, we feel robbed and angered. We feel as if some grave injustice has been done against us. We feel the world is unfair and against us when we can do nothing about our perceived injustice. So we go around gloomy and sad with the weight of the world on our shoulders. A weight that we have placed there ourselves.

Perspective is what breaks the yoke of entitlement. From a biblical perspective, the only thing we are entitled to or deserve in this life is death! We know this because the bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; it says that the wages of sin is death! We must let go of whatever we feel entitled. We must learn to be glad for those things that we do have and are in the process of attaining. Only by living with a heart of gratitude will we see the little miracles that God places in our lives on a daily basis.

(3) PRIDE: I feel like cringing everything I hear someone say “My pride is all I have left“. I want to reply, “You pride is likely the reason you have nothing but pride left“. See, the bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Why is pride so bad? It is because pride does not seek help from others. Pride says we can go it alone and ostracize people. Pride never admits any wrong-doing. Pride refuses to pardon but drinks the poison of unforgiveness. Pride convinces us we are the stud-muffin but then fails to pick us up when we fall. Pride cannot stand failure and is hard on us. Pride never wants to change course even if the course is leading us straight to the pit. Pride is the friend the betrays us in the end. Pride causes conflicts in our world and leads us to live the stressed life instead of the blessed life.

When we make it about pride, we make it about is. When we make it about humility, we make it about the greater good.

(4) REBELLION: We will never find the tree rebelling against the sun. No tree has ever decided not to bends itself towards the sun. Similarly, you will never find the fish rebelling against the water. Likewise, we should not rebel against the truth. A truth is something that remains unchanged regardless of time and circumstance. A truth about human beings is that we are relational beings – we were made to be in relationship with one another in love. The moment we lock ourselves away from all people in our hearts is the moment we begin to rebel against our need for companionship.

Just as it is hazardous for us to rebel against the law of gravity, we must not rebel against the spiritual laws governing faith, hope, and love. Rebelling against these spiritual law’s will lead to spiritual starvation and depravity and deep state of anxiety.

(5) ENVY: Nothing saps satisfaction faster than envy. We not only become dissatisfied with what we have, we become dissatisfied with God. Envy causes us to question how much God loves us. This is turn causes us to cheapen every blessing God has bestowed on us. Envy causes us to take our eyes off God and place is on other people; it is what causes us to keep up with the “Jones”. It leads to unhealthy competition with people who are not competing against us. In other words, it causes us to put undue pressure on ourselves to perform.

Instead of being envious, we must make a conscious decision to be happy with where we are and what we have. Even if our current situation is not the best, it does not have to stay that way. Remember that Joseph was not always in the pit but made it to the palace. Remember that David was not always running away from Saul but became a king. Instead of being envious, we must embrace our season of character development while awaiting our promotion in life. Moreover, we must make it a point to be happy for others. We must remember that God is no respecter of person’s. If he has done it for our neighbor, He can do it for us as well as we trust and follow Him.

 

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4 Things the story of Judah teaches us to keep in mind when dealing with pain and fear

The story of Judah (Joseph’s brother) and his family in the book of Genesis interrupts the telling of the saga of Joseph. In Genesis 38, we read how Judah got married and then gave birth to three sons. How his first born, Er, was killed because of his wickedness – thereby making his wife, Tamar, a widow. It also tells how Judah’s second son, Onan, perished because he did not want to give his brother an heir through Tamar, whom he had married after Er’s death.  

It is at this juncture in the story that Judah sends his daughter in-law away until his third son was adequately grown (Genesis 38:11). This is how he dealt with his pain!

Then Judah said to Tamar his daughter-in-law, “Remain a widow in your father’s house till my son Shelah is grown.” For he said, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house – Genesis 38:11

 As we would later find out, Judah never planned on giving his third son, Shelah to Tamar as a husband but simply wanted to be rid of her! Why? Genesis 38:11 tells reveals that he was afraid for the life of Shelah – his third and last remaining offspring.

Of the many things that can be drawn out from the interesting incidents that occurred in the family of Judah (read Genesis 38), here are four key lessons this passage of scripture teaches us about pain and fear.

Pain has a tendency to blame

Just like any of us would be, Judah was grieved with the loss of his first son. Seeing Tamar’s pain and wanting to do right by her, he decided to give her as a wife to his second son, Onan. When Onan died, Judah – who did not understand why his sons died – started to search for answers.

Without any clear cut answers, all he could manage to do in his hurt was make the connection that his two sons’ had been with the same woman (Tamar) prior their death. As a result, he erroneously blamed her for their deaths and shamed her by sending her away! His pain turned Tamar into a monster! Here is what we can learn from this:

No lasting decision should be made when we are hot, hurt, and emotional

Pain leads us to think the worst about people

Hurt people end up hurting other people (especially the ones closest to them)

 

Pain turns coincidence into root cause

James Whitcomb Riley famously said ‘When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck’. While deductive reasoning is powerful, it can lead to the wrong conclusion if the base assumption behind the reasoning is wrong.

For example, the assumption we are making about James Riley is that he has studied birds and that he knows exactly what a duck walks like, swims like, and quacks like. If he does not know exactly what a duck walks like nor knows exactly how a duck swims, then what he thought sounded like a duck may have been someone using a duck caller!

Back to the story, just because Tamar was the wife of both of Judah’s son’s when they died does not mean she caused the deaths. What did Judah think – that Tamar had some sin that held her responsible for his son’s death? Hmm!

Here are some things to consider prior to assigning a root cause when dealing with pain:

Just because something is factual does not mean it is truthful.

Logic will always lead to the wrong assumption if the starting assumption behind the logic is not true

Correlations does NOT prove causation

Fear always leads to deceitfulness

Judah was afraid for the life of his third son. As a result, he lied to Tamar about his intentions to give him to her in marriage. I am sure Judah justified his deceitfulness by convincing himself that what he was doing was what any other parent would do. He was trying to protect his son, right? Wrong!

In truth, all he was doing was trying to protect himself from the pain of losing another son. He never asked his son what he wanted, even after his son had grown up. In truth, his actions were ‘self’ motivated; what he was trying to do was protect himself – not his son.

Unfortunately for him, what he did not know was that he was protecting himself from the wrong problem. The problem was not Tamar, but was the unrighteousness of his sons. But fear blinded all of that away and led him to make a promise to Tamar that he never had any intentions of keeping.

A person who cannot keep his/her promise is a person who is looking out for his/her own self-interest

A person who cannot seem to tell the truth is a person who is fearful. Get to the source of the fear and deal with it, and you would have dealt with the habit of lying

 

Fear leads to having double-standards

Judah’s response of ‘bring her out and let her be burned’ when he was told of Tamar’s immorality smacks of having double-standards. While he was perfectly okay with his unrighteousness, her unrighteousness deserved nothing short of death. ‘How dare she shame me like this’, he must have thought to himself! He forgot about the time he had shamed her by sending her away from his house and from her family!

This attitude of ‘burn her for what she did, but never mind what I did’ is rampant in people living with fear. Why? It is because fear loves to the take the focus off itself and put it on other things. Fear loves to remain hidden and will out forward any distraction so it is not discovered. It loves to quickly point the finger of blame without ever finding fault.

A person living in fear considers others only for as long as it benefits them

Fearfulness will always lead to selfishness; selfishness will always lead to broken relationships

Has pain and fear caused you to become someone you are not? If this is you, there is freedom in God today. Refuse to allow pain and hurt to control your life today. Instead give it to Jesus – the one who took away all our pains and fear and made freedom and love available to you – and allow His Spirit to control your life through His word.

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