Why are my idols so strong?
I now suspect it’s because of suppressed excruciating pain from childhood, that I evidently have not wanted to face, experience. What is the pain? I’ve concluded that it’s my feeling unloved by my parents, and my being ignored, criticized and ridiculed by my dad, causing me to suppress feelings of worthlessness, shame, of being a loser. Even though I remember my dad treating me this way, I never remember thinking I was a loser, worthless, as a child, or as an adult, but the analysis makes so much sense today as I look at my life.
To compensate, I’ve unconsciously been trying all my adult life to prove myself worthy: to myself, and to others. Feeling good about myself. Worthy, I now think, of being loved/enjoyed/cherished. But I would never have guessed, until recently, that as a child, I stuffed wanting my dad’s love. As an adult, I’ve been consciously indifferent to my dad’s unlove, but now I see, I must have wanted it badly all along. Denial is powerful.
So how do I attempt to prove myself worthy? By striving for excellence in my areas of idolatry/addiction, such as ministry, health management, investments, bargains, brilliant decisions that never produce regrets, and walking, driving, working, more rapidly and with more excellence, than others. Hyper-competitive, but also highly loss-avoidant: I’ve noticed I avoid competition/debate unless risk of losing is extremely low, and even then, I’m uncomfortable. Performance gives me relief from the suppressed pain of feeling worthless/unloved, like alcohol provides relief from the suppressed pain of an alcoholic. Performance addiction has nurtured me into a control-freak perfectionist and my poor body has paid the price for a lifetime of self-abuse.
Cognitively, intellectually, I’ve known for thirty years that Jesus’ righteousness and love, is all I need, but my idols have been so strong/addictive, the suppressed pain so huge and excruciating I now suspect, that His imputed righteousness, even His love, and the love of other humans, have seemed unsatisfying to me, most of the time, unless I’ve been freshly convicted of my dissatisfaction, my wanting to feel worthy by having some righteousness/performance of my own. But over the past six months, and especially the past week, Jesus has been inviting me to look inside, get in touch with my suppressed feelings, experience my painful father-wound, so I can begin to heal. And He’s been healing me, little by little. With increasing self-awareness, my idols are beginning to lose their intensity, their grip on my life, their addictive nature, and I’m amazed at the difference it’s ma king in me. The joy and the peace are priceless. It’s so much easier to fix my eyes and thoughts on Jesus when big idols aren’t in the way. And I’m finding this self-absorbed control-freak-perfectionist better able to enjoy those around him, extending grace/compassion to them, instead of robbing them of grace by judging them, looking for their areas of inferiority to JudgeDave, so he can feel worthy, by comparison.
–WeakDave, the beneficiary of the prayers of God’s people (please keep praying and please pray now)
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