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The Spiritual Roots of Perfectionism

We all want our brain surgeon (or car mechanic) to do a perfect job but when he (or she)  comes home to control, manipulate, dominate or hassle human beings, the trouble begins.

The Bible refers to this behavior as “witchcraft.”  It is the attempt to manage a situation by calling on someone other than God to be in charge.  The quotation is from I Samuel 15.

So Samuel said:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Stubbornness is as witchcraft.  The Old Testament is full of references to seeking other gods for guidance, to idols for spells and witches’ brews as one finds even today in modern societies. You may not get involved with potions and spells and simply become the witch yourself! Control freaks are usually unpopular.

Perfectionism is wrongly believed to be an action; in fact, it is a reaction to a situation when someone loses control.  No one begins life as a control freak but in the course of human life all men learn that they are not perfect and they can’t control many events and persons around them.

Lack of gratitude

It starts with dissatisfaction.  Romans 1 begins the descent into depravity as not being grateful followed by dissatisfaction and complaining. Adults were surprised when the international women’s soccer champions were expected to rejoice in their victory and instead complained about being victims. They wanted more money.  https://www.theepochtimes.com/c-sports They are not likely to get it. When you show disrespect for the fans who pay the bills you degrade yourself and your sport.  And victims they are not.

The snake proposed ingratitude and blame

In the garden the snake intimated that God was not being fair with the First Pair, that they needed to seek more information.  The snake said God was hiding the truth, and in fact God was, a truth about evil that He had hoped they could avoid.  And when the fruit was consumed, their reaction tells it all.  ONE denial, TWO blame.

Men’s reactions have not changed.  Here is the passage to refresh your mind.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  (Make no mistake. God absolutely knows where everyone is.”)

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Eve blamed the devil and Adam blamed both God and the woman.  Yes, nothing has changed.

These days it may be dissatisfaction with relationships, with our own inability, or the constant harping of someone else.  There are “men pleasers” who seek acceptance from other people over everything else;  God is supposed to define who you are not other people.  One reason is that other people will often get it wrong!

Comparing yourself to others is foolish

If we allow other people to mold our personality we spend a lifetime looking for favor outside of ourselves,  but you’ll find these mentors are never satisfied either; they are insecure and your imperfections will only convince them more that you are wrong because you don’t make them feel right.   Multiple marriages can result.

At fault is our comparing ourselves to other people.  It happens anyway – “Why can’t you be a good student like your older sister?”  Many a poor teacher has said that to a child.   And children may believe they will be adopted out if they are not perfect.  Or sent away.  God is not in this, period!

God has a plan for your life

God has a plan for your life and he is not comparing you to anyone or anything beyond His very own plan.  Wise is he who finds it.

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

If God called you to be a singer why are you trying so hard to be a tennis champion? Finding your call is important and keeps you from futile actions. Some of the most interesting biographies are of people who had to leave home and never see their families again because their parents wanted them in a job where they were not called or unsuitable.  John Denver is just such as person. After he became famous he was able to rejoin his family that expected him to be a soldier.

Dissatisfaction with one’s life can lead to three actions:

1.  Permanent depression and focus on regrets and failures of the past

2.  Incremental changes in one’s own life rejecting the control of others and acceptance of ones self.

3.  Ever-increasing attempts to control one’s environment and the people, things and events in it.  These are the difficult people.

Symptoms:

1.  Every item in their possession or dwelling is in the exact same place and in perfect order Sleeping with the Enemy is a movie about a man gone berserk to the point of psychosis.

2.  Nothing that produces contradiction or disorder is permitted.  You’re free to leave if you don’t like it.

3.  God’s will and occasionally even simple truth is not allowed.

4.  Self-will is on the throne of that person’s life.

5. Everyone and everything else is to blame. We’re back to the Garden now.

So to review the spiritual issues here.  I BOLDED them all in the text above.

  • dissatisfaction
  • hiding from God, behind the church or deeds
  • fear
  • self-will
  • avoidance or refusal to hear truth
  • seek praise of others
  • stubbornness, refusal to change
  • blame
  • over emphasis on things
  • denial of a problem, of having sinned or disobeyed
  • substituting good deeds for obedience
  • occasionally obsession with cleanliness

Perfectionists are wonderful, competent people who do well and are valuable members of any community.  But we don’t save ourselves, and ultimately perfectionists are seeking for their outside to change first and then make perfect their inside.  When they burden others with their demands is when they become odious.

God has given us a savior,  Yeshua aka Jesus, and He alone can do the job.  It is a lesson for us all to learn.

The Book of Mormon (stage show) and Demonic Attack

I was innocently changing channels when I heard this song -the words, curses and demons -met my ear.  Since this is something I know about, I stopped to listen. A man is singing about how demons are attacking his mind – guilt, fear, anger, revenge, homosexuality, regret, confusion, lying, for starts. He is told to turn it off by his Mormon leader.

It doesn’t work, and it is not supposed to work.  Mental disciple is important but getting rid of demons is not only deliberate mind control.  Demons are spirit beings and must be dealt with by the Spirit of man through the Spirit of God. The answer is not in the Book of Mormon or any other man-made book.

Here are the lyrics of this song.

ELDER MCKINLEY
I got a feelin’ that you could be feelin’
A whole lot better than you feel today
You say you got a problem…well, that’s no problem!
It’s super easy not to feel that way
When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head –
Don’t feel those feelings – hold them in instead!

Turn it off!
Like a light switch
Just go ‘click’!
It’s a cool little Mormon trick
We do it all the time

When you’re feeling certain feelings that just don’t seem right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light –

And turn ’em off!
Like a light switch
Just go ‘bap’!
Really, what’s so hard about that?
Turn it off!
Turn it off!

ELDER CHURCH
When I was young, my Dad would treat my Mom real bad
Every time the Utah Jazz would lose
He’d start a-drinkin’, and I’d start a-thinkin’
How’m I gonna keep my Mom from getting abused?
I’d see her all scared and my soul was dyin’!
My Dad would say to me, ‘Now don’t you dare start crying!’

Turn it off!
Like a light switch
Just go ‘flick’!
It’s our nifty little Mormon trick!
Turn it off!
Turn. It. Off!

ELDER THOMAS
My sister was a dancer, but she got cancer
The doctor said she still had two months more
I thought she had time, so I got in line
For the new iPhone at the Apple Store
She laid there dying with my Father and Mother
Her very last words were, “Where is my brother?”

Turn it off! (Yeah!)
Bid those sad feelings adieu!
The fear that I might get cancer too…

[laughter]

ELDER MCKINLEY
When I was in fifth grade, I had a friend Steve Blade (Oooh, Steve Blade…)
He and I were close as two friends could be (We could be close…)
One thing led to another, and soon I would discover (Wow!)
I was having really strange feelings for Steve…
I thought about us on a deserted island (We’re all alone…)
We’d swim naked in the sea, and then he’d try and –

Woah! Turn it off!
Like a light switch
There it’s gone! (Good for you!)
My hetero side just won!
I’m all better now
Boys should be with girls – that’s Heavenly Father’s plan
So, if you ever feel you’d rather be with a man –
Turn it off!

ELDER PRICE
Well, Elder McKinley, I think it’s okay that you’re having gay thoughts. Just so long as you never act upon them.

ELDER MCKINLEY
No, ’cause then you’re just keepin’ it down
Like a dimmer switch on “low”… (On “low”…)
Thinking nobody needs to know (Uh oh…)
But that’s not true!
Being gay is bad, but lying is worse
So just realize you have a curable curse –
And turn it off! (Turn it off!)
Turn it off!

Turn it off!

Now, how do you feel?

ELDER PRICE
The same.

ELDER MCKINLEY
Then you’ve only got yourself to blame
You didn’t pretend hard enough
Imagine that your brain is made of tiny boxes
Then find the box that’s gay and CRUSH IT!
Okay?

ELDER PRICE
No, no…I’m not having gay thoughts!

ELDER CUNNINGHAM
Alright! It worked! (Yay!)

He turned it off…
Turn it off…
Turn it off!
Turn it off! (Turn it off!)
Like a light switch
Just go ‘click’! (Click click!)
What a cool little Mormon trick (Trick trick!)
We do it all the time!

When you’re feelin’ certain feelings that just don’t seem right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light
And turn it off!
Like a light switch on a cord
And now he isn’t gay any –

Turn it, turn it, turn it, turn it…
Turn it, turn it, turn it, turn it…
Tuuuuuurn it…
Turn it off!
…Off!!!

First, feelings have nothing to do with it.  Demons create the negative feelings of lust, or envy, rage, the list goes on.  The devil’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy you with evil thoughts and emotions.

How do you react?  Immediately you eliminate contact with the problem source.  If you are watching porn, then make a covenant with your eyes, a term from the book of Job, and never watch again.  You can set your compute to warn you or eliminate that.

More importantly you must recognize that the devil, the enemy of your soul, is out there looking for ways to destroy you at any point where you let evil take over your mind.  If it is music stop that too.  If you have unsavory friends, get better friends.

But the best warfare is to say out loud (the bathroom is a good place for this as others might not think this is cool) and say the following as loudly as you can.

“Satan get off my back and out of my life.  I know who you are and what you are doing in Jesus name flee from me and never come back.”  Then announce the troubles he is causing,

People ask me, why the loud voice?  Because demons will pretend to be deaf.  And if you shout, you sound mad  If you whisper a rebuke no one will take you seriously.

My daughter had a terrible stomach ache when she was in elementary school.  She went to the girls room and shouted just as I have instructed you.  You do not need to be 12 to do this; you can be any age.  The authority of Jesus’ name does not depend on your age or status.  Be aggressive.  What about “steal, kill and destroy” sounds passive to you?

Tell the devil off whenever you need and this will clean up your mind and your life.  But turning something off simply won’t work.  If it did work it would be in the Bible.

Dealing with Shame God’s Way

tolerance-gaysIt’s tempting to think of shame as a bad thing.  To understand how to deal with it, let’s look at our First Pair, Adam and Eve, the prototype of human action, inaction and reaction.  In Genesis 3  right after the eating of the forbidden fruit, both Adam and Eve hid themselves.  Hiding is a symbol of shame as well as fear.

God says to them, “Where are you?”  Not because He didn’t know where they were.  But did they?  Shame tells us where we are.  We are the ones who need the information.  All revelation, all change, all improvement starts with knowing who and where we are. The Bible specifically says they were hiding from God.

People can do the “hiding thing” very well- beards and makeup are inner symbols of shame, piles of workload, behind other people (and blaming them), behind bad leaders in government or in business, and the best hiding people do is behind a lot of money.  The Bible says money is a defense. (Ecclesiastes 7:12)

That helps to explain the hiding phenomenon of atheism/agnosticism which has become so prevalent in today’s society. If you have the option of saying that God does not exist, you also have no reason to hide.  But Romans 12:3 says God has already given to each person a measure of faith, a large enough measure to know at the very least that He exists.  So it takes a deliberate act of the will to say God does not exist. (2 Peter 3:5) The results is a “defiled conscience” )Titus 1:15.)

But our First Pair respond by saying they are naked. The very fact that Adam and Eve knew they were naked and hid indicates that their conscience is active.  Interestingly enough, they reacted on the basis of the outside, being naked, but what had happened was that they had changed on the inside.  They now were no longer covered with the glory of God, sin had taken over and their eternal condition and future was in jeopardy.

The very opposite are the actions of Gay Pride Days and public displays of sexual deviance, of street prostitutes whose clothing if nothing else gives away their profession, and of criminals who flaunt their hatred of authority and kill police and other officials at will. This applies also to the Islamist extremists who rape, murder, steal and vandalize mostly in foreign countries like Germany, England, Italy, Greece, France especially, Finland and Sweden.  They have in addition promised to bring it to America. The Bible says to have nothing to do with evil like this (2 Timothy 3:5) so the smart nations are closing their borders. The Bible tells us to turn them away.

Shamelessness is visual proof that these people have rejected God in their lives.  Muslims are right in calling Islam a religion; it is an anti-God religion by its very beliefs and actions. The Bible warned that we would see the fruit of men’s evil minds in their persons and now it is coming to public pass on TV and every other medium.

But what if you feel shame? Rejoice, it means your conscience is still alive and in tact. Don’t do what Adam and Eve did; they both blamed something else.  Adam blamed God and Eve; Eve blamed the snake.  The snake didn’t blame anyone because he (it) was pretty pleased with what he had done.  Evil always rejoices when it wins a point.

Fortunately evil does not win the war.  God has made it clear that He will win this fight against evil both inside man and inside societies.  For you personally He does it through forgiveness.  Forgive everyone you know who has harmed you. Then ask God to forgive you, and go the extra mile and forgive yourself.  No, no excuses.  Just say I did it. Then ask God to show you in your heart that you are forgiven.

Other people may not forgive you, but never mind, you are on the right side of heaven.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 

 

 

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