Turning the Page

God, will it always be like this? Being a slave to despair

January 2, 2020

God, will it always be like this? That was what their heart was wanting to know. The answer lay in knowing their slave master of despair. Hope is the dance partner of Faith and Love.

Every day felt the same, in fact, every week and every month. Do the job, make a meal, go to sleep: repeat, repeat, repeat — monotonous drudgery.

It wasn’t just the repetitive nature of the grind that got to you., it was the slow wearing down of the soul.

It was like something beautiful and purposeful was being scraped off a ‘Mona Lisa,’ dropped on the floor, trampled on, and ground into dust.

They sensed they were losing themselves. Who they were, who they were meant to be — all at the hands of a slavemaster tyrant.

 

Your slave master

What keeps you stuck? What keeps you in the same Mental Health timezone?

That hole of depression. That tightrope of anxiety.

For a nation of people, it was the oppression of an Egyptian slavemaster. They were building a man’s glory while destroying their own.

That was the lot of the nation of Israel. Slaves to Pharoah. Brickmakers day in, day out.

So they [the Egyptians] organized them into work-gangs and put them to hard labor under gang-foremen.
They built the storage cities Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the harder the Egyptians worked them, the more children the Israelites had—children everywhere!
The Egyptians got so they couldn’t stand the Israelites and treated them worse than ever, crushing them with slave labor.
They made them miserable with hard labor—making bricks and mortar and back-breaking work in the fields.
They piled on the work, crushing them under the cruel workload. Exodus 1:11-14

It’s easy to identify an external slavemaster.

It’s their fault. They are the ones to blame. They are the ones who are making my life miserable. So easy to give others more power than God ever wanted them to have.

Yes, some people are controllers; they like to be slave masters, dominating, and oppressing. They, too, are trapped in their fears.

Locus of control

There is an interesting psychological concept called Locus of control

Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control. Understanding of the concept was developed by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, and has since become an aspect of personality studies.
A person’s “locus” (plural “loci,” Latin for “place” or “location”) is conceptualized as internal (a belief that one can control one’s own life) or external (a belief that life is controlled by outside factors which the person cannot influence, or that chance or fate controls their lives).[1]

Individuals with a strong internal locus of control believe events in their life derive primarily from their own actions: for example, when receiving exam results, people with an internal locus of control tend to praise or blame themselves and their abilities. People with a strong external locus of control tend to praise or blame external factors such as the teacher or the exam. Wikipedia Locus of control

What does your focus tell you about your locus?

I have found in myself and others that focusing on how other people treat you (external locus) takes away a sense of personal power. You give the other more power than they need to have.

We even can do this with God. Blaming God for our circumstances instead of taking healthy responsibility for our own choices.

Oh, yes, and we can blame the devil. ‘The devil made me buy this dress’ by Flip Wilson springs to mind (must listen!).

There has to be a time where you come to an internal locus of control. What can I do? What do I have control over?

The crying out of the slave

There comes a time when you have had enough of being a slave.

The slavery of a belief you have held in your brain. A Pharoah sized belief is keeping you in captivity. You recognize that there is some internal thinking work you need to do.

No one else can do this for you. It’s your brain, your responsibility, 100%.

You cry out in prayer because you realize that this is too big for you to do it by yourself.  

Supernatural goals need supernatural resources. Larry Crabb

 

You sense yourself as being like those Israelites.

The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God:

God listened to their groanings.

God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

God saw what was going on with Israel.

God understood. Exodus 2: 23-25 (The Message)

Then, in the male aspect of God’s divine nature, God moves (Exodus 3).

Your Moses

God moves to a man on the run. A man also trapped and enslaved by his beliefs. Moses had been living in the desert for 40 years. He had killed an Egyptian slavemaster and had fled.

Forty years of being shaped by both the harshness and the beauty of the wilderness.

Forty years in the wilderness getting to know the beast
Projected and reflected on the greatest and the least
Forty years of days and nights — angels hovering near
Kept me moving forward though the way was far from clear
Bruce Cockburn

We all need a Moses. Someone who will speak healing truth to our lies, the concoctions we have created in our minds that keep us enslaved.

It will be Spirit (Holy) nudging, poking, prodding, alluring us to face the falsity.

I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth.  Jesus John 14:16-17

The words of encouragement will come through others. People who have a compelling vision for you that things can be different. Silence will be involved where you have to both wrestle and dance with your own beliefs.

I, Barry, may also be involved. If I can, at the very least, pray for you, then it would be a great privilege. Send me an email via the contact form.

Will it always be like this? I don’t think so. History tells me that change happens. Hope is the dance partner of Faith and Love, so let’s keep seeing where this leads.

Quotes to consider

  • Despair is what happens when there is a lack of new creation. When things are just are what they are and there is a deep sense of impotence that there is nothing you can do about it. Rob Bell Episode 219 | Jesus H. Christ – Part 9 – Is That His Last Name?
  • Despair is a spiritual condition. Despair is when you fall under the belief and conviction that tomorrow will simply be a repeat of today. Rob Bell 
  • Without the inner discipline of faith, most lives end in negativity, blaming, or deep cynicism—without even knowing it. Richard Rohr Page: 24 Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi 
  • Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart. Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • When you are no longer able to change, what will God do with you, if you have not yet become what He wants?  D. Riddell
  • God does not love you if and when you change. God loves you so that you can change. Richard Rohr
  • Don’t judge the future by the past – the future will be different when new insights and understandings restore hope. David Riddell

Questions to answer

  1. What beliefs are keeping you, enslaved?
  2. What’s it like to know God listens to your groans, remembers the promises, sees your plight, and understands?
  3. What would ‘God moving’ into your situation look like? Would you like an ‘on the run’ convict to be your advocate/ rescuer?

Further reading

Barry Pearman

Image cc: Nagy Arnold

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