February 21, 2015

Standing Down


This post is by no means an easy one to type. It reveals painful truths about my past that I still battle with and at times, I lose. Some days it is a full-scale war. If I allow it, my past can still negatively effect my present and future because of latent sin. I cannot allow this so I type this to show others in similar situations...they are not alone in their struggle.

Growing up in a dysfunctional (and abusive) home, I've always had distrust issues even long after leaving youth behind. Unfortunately for my wife, she always gotten the brunt of them even when she was undeserving. It's a burden I've carried around all of my life. If you can relate, you've have the same mantra as I: "No one is trustworthy but God." Sadly I have found that even this trust comes under fire when I’ve been in entrenched and prolonged periods of trial and distress (like now). Although this mantra has merit and is basically truthful in many cases, at its heart...it is unbiblical. It is purely a lack of faith and trust in God. We might not be able to fully trust people because they are sinners but we are called to love them and to love them...requires that we trust them. Why? It is because God is in charge even over the untrustworthy sinners. It is not the sinner we are really distrusting, it is God we are slapping in the face with disdainful hand of distrust.

Besides attempting to control people, I have always used the withholding of trust as a form of protecting myself. That is until I realized that by withholding trust, I was actually unprotecting myself from spiritual/emotional attack and causing more harm than good. Withholding it was hurting me much more than giving grace freely would’ve done good for me. Until I realized this was the Devil helping to dump acid in an already painful wound, I did not let God in to heal the wounds of past abuses.

I unbiblically and detrimentally learned to live in a state of distrust and heightened state of acuity or defensiveness. It was a self-protective measure due to the abuses in my past. As I said, this distrust even bleeds over to my relationship with God. This is a dead-end and is ruinous to a man’s life and relationships. In this way I was reacting more to the way I didn’t want life to be (which hadn’t really happened) than reacting to the way life really was. I was prepping for disaster knowing full well that the disaster I was prepping for may possibly never happen. I was reacting to the proverbial worst-case scenario in nearly every circumstance that looked as if it was a threat. In so doing I was blowing up my own emplacements and defenses, the enemy didn't have to.

At the point of failure in my trust in God...the place where I broke, I found the level of my spiritual immaturity. I find/found it is a woefully low cut-off point. Because of a lack of trust in others (therefore God), I always lived my life in a state of DEFCON 1 or 2. This is not a way to live…it is a way to die from both sin and stress brought on by the burden of that sin.

How does one get off of DEFCON 1 and decompress? How does one come down from a constant state of heightened readiness that one has been programmed with since they were a abused child? No man can live in this state forever or even for prolonged periods without damage, breakdown or total failure. If you don't believe me go out and drive your car with the throttle pegged to the floor and see what happens to the engine in you car. DEFCON 1 in perpetuity leads to a terminal event. At some point everyone needs to stand down. The only thing I have found that depressurizes these states is to turn it over to God in trust and to walk away. To be still even when everything in me screams that I should move or react.

The Bible is replete with statements about trust and above all is a trust and faith in God. Without this faith/trust in God, none of the other trusts will hold up under severe trial. Without solid faith there can be no perseverance of a saint. If we trust in God, the trust that other people will work in our best interests follows suit. The bottom line is simple. Trusting is believing in the promises of God in all circumstances, even in those where the evidence seems to be to the contrary. We cannot trust in ourselves because our understanding is temporal, finite, and tainted by our sin natures.

Some of the passages about trust are as follows:
1 Peter 5:7 ~ “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

Jeremiah 17:7 ~ “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.”

Jeremiah 17:5 ~ “Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.”

Proverbs 3:5 ~ “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Psalm 56:3-4 ~ “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?”

Psalm 40:4 ~ “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!”

Mark 11:24 ~ “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Psalm 112:7 ~ “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.”

James 1:12 ~ “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

When the Bible speaks of trust it is a trust that always invokes or stimulates further trust in God, not less. It is a progressive trust. If it lessens your trust in God or others…it isn’t really trust you are experiencing. It is a wiles of the Devil, nothing more. Whatever you are experiencing is therefore demonic and/or sinful.  Although a man of God never stops trusting in God completely, there will be times that it will wane and falter because of our sin. "Oh, ye of little faith" is how Jesus addressed it with the disciples. A believer will falter, yes, but they will not fail.

Psalm 37-23-24 ~ “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”

In the end the man of God must realize that, that even though trials will plague his life, his trust in God should not waiver because that trust is not based on his own ability to have trust but rather it is the faith in the promises of God and that strength to persevere is given by God Himself. God actually promised the believer this will eventually work in their favor (but not necessarily in this life).

1 Peter 1:4 ~ “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you…”

The start of a turnaround is to pray and solicit prayer. At first I was horribly ashamed to do so because I felt I had lost control of life. It turns out I never really had control to begin with. This of course then drove me in humility to supplicate before the throne of God. The shame dissipated because I realized I just could not do this on my own. I was a sick man and needed a cure, I needed deliverance. The mind can become ill just like the body. In the end a rectification of the problem(s) is to God’s glory. Bad thinking or sinful thinking is diseased thinking and diseases need prayer and a cure to be overcome.

James 5:14 ~ “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.”

By constantly being in a state of DEFCON 1 I was not believing the best about other people and loving them, nor God. I was unloving them and this is the same as hating them. I was (and am) disobeying the greatest commandments to love God with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself. I am doing so by either not trusting my wife or others to do things in my best interest or I am implicating God Himself by showing that I believe He is not in control and doing things in my best interest. This isn’t just a lack of faith, it is an overt condemnation of God's intentions by my actions. This flirts dangerously close to apostasy. That is a scary proposition.

1 Corinthians 13:7 ~ “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Finally, I have learned to try not to dwell in the past and stew in toxic memories and feelings. I struggle to forgive some people but I forgive regardless. I try and often fail to let go of the memories and bad side effects of the past but even when I cannot fully do this, if I can't let go of the memories that make trust difficult for me, I try to remember what the Apostle Paul said when he was joyful and in prison.

Philippians 3:13-14 ~ "But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…"


We all need to forgive (not forget) past hurt. Yes, our past can continue to harm us even if we’ve distanced ourselves from it in time and physicality. I admit outright that I am still a work-in-progress as is every husband, father and son (if they are honest).  Our Father in Heaven is good at grinding away rough edges to make beautiful gems but it is a long process and it takes effort. The more hardened by sin and abuse we are the longer the grinding process will take. God, love and time can eventually soften what we are made of. It can turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. It can also solidify a soft and weak faith into something as hard and sure as a diamond in a Kings Crown.

We need to stand down and drop our distrust like its scorching hot. Hot just like the piece of Hell's brimstone that it is. It serves no good purpose and it shows in reality that we are not trusting God. We need to disengage from an alert state or a state of readiness and allow God to be our sentinel. Relationships with God and others is no place for the practices of war. We should be saving that energy for the real war being waged in the spiritual realm against all the Christian brothers and sisters.

Addendum:

Just so I am perfectly clear with my readership...I am in no way beyond theses issues I speak of. I am very much right in the middle of them. I just need to get these pieces of information out there in a way that might help others see the nature of their struggles in a clearer light also. As I walk this path I slowly gain insight and tidbits to how my life has become a train wreck. I have also begun to see how God incrementally reveals these things piece by piece so not do destroy me outright. It is a tangled web of sin that I have created in my life. I see some of the answers but often times am at a loss on how to implement them to allow healing to take place. Every step is uphill not only for me...but also those around me that are the closest. For this I am ashamed.

7 comments:

Sherri Painter said...

I know what it is like to let past hurt and abuse define a lifetime of regret. I was 30 years old before I found a relationship with God. And now, I am 51. It has never been easy. I have had to remove most of my family from my life just to keep my sanity. But God has shown me why things happened the way they did...and I realize that I cannot blame Him because in reality, He is the only reason I am still alive.

Thank you for your honesty in this post. I know it was difficult, but necessary. Not only for you, but for those of us who read and relate.

Sherri

Andy Pierson said...

Thanks for you comment Sherri. I didn't even know you read the blog. Until I realize that Jesus is the only One that matters...I will continue to stumble. My father told me this before he passed on but I just can't seem to take hold of that statement and run with it. Sin, depravity and my flesh continue to trip me up. SO I pray and submit every minute of every day hoping for a change.

velodaman said...

Andy, Have you read The Power of Now. Having recently been thru the ringer myself it was an immense help. I hung on for over 50 years and was able to forgive and move on. There is so much peace now. Thank you for all your well written blog posts.

Shawn said...

Ok,
You must be me...that's the only way I can explain the eerie similarities between what you've been writing lately and what needs changing in my life. (j/k, unfortunately this seems to be God's way of having me hear the truth about myself... this is a very hard teaching)

Thanks for this, something to dwell on..pray for me please.
Shawn

Andy Pierson said...

Hey Shawn. I struggle with putting these posts up. Often times I am still in the heat of battle with these sins when I post and I want to get the ideas down in writing so I do not forget them or brush them aside. Many realizations about myself are hard won victories that have cause casualties along the way. Those closest to me are the ones that suffer the most and not only isn't it fair to them, it is sin that has consequences in the end. I will pray for you as I continue to pray for God to aid us both to remove these afflictions from our families. It wasn't meant to be this way and it is not the way God wants it. He is refining us even in these sins that we so tenaciously cling to. Hopefully it doesn't kill everything else meaningful in the process....but I guess that then becomes and issue of faith.

Anonymous said...

John 2:24 says, "But Jesus did not commit himself [entrust] unto them, because he knew all men..." I do not trust people, but I do trust God (albeit imperfectly). And so I must also trust that God permitted all the painful history of my past for my good, and for His glory. A great saint of God once told me, in response to my complaints about man's inhumanity to man (me), said,"Well, isn't that just like people?" -julia

Andy Pierson said...

Obedience to God makes me do the right thing. Love helps me be accepting of it even when everything in me screams to run away and not trust someone. If I Love the Lord with all my heart soul and mind the loving of a neighbor(s) follows suit. As you said, a sovereign God allowed whatever happened in the past so trusting the person becomes almost irrelevant...almost secondary. The relationship with others (good or bad) is almost a residual effect from the relationship with the Lord Himself. Good comment and good insight Julia.

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