We are puppets on a string, jerked around by other people. “No way,” you say. “Nobody controls me. I am the master of my fate.” Really? Be honest. What happens when someone pushes your buttons? Think of the last time you were upset or did something you regretted. What triggered those feelings or your behavior? Was it something that someone else said or did? Now reconsider how much of your life, thoughts, feelings, and activity are a reaction to what other people say or do.
We often try to assert our independence claiming, “Of course I react to other people and the changing circumstances of my life. Everyone does. But I control my reaction.” Are you so sure? Why did you react the way you did? Why did it even matter what someone else said or did? Why did it upset you? Was it because you were not respected? Did you feel embarrassed, abandoned, rejected, or betrayed? Was someone trying to control or manipulate you? If so, then you are not as independent as you think. The genesis of these feelings is our separation from God, and our ultimate independence is only found in and through our union with God through his grace. Let me explain.
One of the biggest obstacles to enjoying life is our reticence to acknowledge how much our lives are actually controlled by fear. In reality, much of our behavior revolves around our subconscious insecurities. Until we recognize these fears and confront them, they will remain the undercurrent in our lives that carries us down paths of frustration and sorrow. Much of our anxiety is a byproduct of our separation from God and the loss of feeling His love, which creates core uncertainties and fears.
Every child born into this world is full of joy and a sense of wonderment about life. Their natural state is to be happy. Sure, they are miserable at times, but once their basic needs are met, it usually does not take much time before they are smiling and beaming with joy. However, because they are born into a world full of evil, over time, they may lose this zest for life and become hardened by their disappointments. This creates basic insecurities that influence their behavior. So, as they grow up, sin enters their hearts, and they taste the bitter that they may know to prize the sweet. From their experiences, they learn to distinguish good from evil and exercise their free will more wisely.
However, living in this world of pain and sorrow, over time, all of us become prisoners of our insecurities and the dysfunctional behavior that naturally follows. It becomes the natural state of all mankind. However, this is not our true innate identity or our ultimate destiny. God has devised a plan for our escape. Christ has come to heal the brokenhearted and set the captive free. (Luke 4:17-21). Even our vulnerability created by our separation from God, serves as the catalyst to facilitate our conversion into a new creature in Christ.
Weakness comes from our separation from the Almighty. Humility and faith in God open the door for us to enter back into His presence and feel His love, which empowers us to overcome our weaknesses and, in the process, become stronger. All fear is associated with loss. Feeling fear is tied to a concern of losing something. Even the fear of success is associated with a fear of losing something else in the process, such as friends or esteem because of potential future failure (loss) based on higher expectations.
Our innate fear of abandonment and rejection comes from not having the love and attention we need while young and from disappointments in other close relationships. The fear of losing esteem (whether self-esteem or being valued by others) is evidenced by our concern about not measuring up and not being valued. A fear of not being valued is often more acute in those who have been put down or pressured to excel. A fear of losing control or not being in charge of things often occurs when one subconsciously feels that the lack of love in their childhood resulted from their inability to control their environment.
We all experience varying degrees of these three primal fears that influence our actions. These subconscious fears are the genesis of most of the dysfunctional and inappropriate behavior that keeps us from realizing our divine destiny as a son or daughter of God. We need to sever these emotional puppeteer strings so we can discover our true identity and realize our full potential.
As we analyze the deeper reasons why we become upset, we can usually tie it to one of these three primal fears. If we repeat this exercise whenever we get upset, we will soon see patterns in our behavior and the source of our feelings and actions. Identifying the real reason we become upset helps us learn how to better handle life’s challenges.
Reconnecting with God eviscerates these obstacles, liberating us to live a more fulfilling life free from the effects of sin. The primary obstacle keeping us from seeking God’s will is fear. The reason the unprofitable servant in the parable of the talents failed to do anything was because he was afraid. (Matthew 25:14-30). Fear is debilitating while faith is invigorating. Our acceptance of God’s grace creates the faith necessary to overcome our fear, which then frees us to realize our divine destiny.
The fear of losing love can lead to a fear of loss of control, so some individuals and religions gravitate to a more works-based theology because they want more control of their destiny. Taken to an extreme, it destroys trust and faith in God, which is the solution. On the other hand, people who suffer from the of fear rejection tends to gravitate to a grace-based theology, which taken to an extreme, destroys personal responsibility. Reality is found in a marriage of both grace and works where they function in harmony. Finding this balance helps us overcome our three innate fears so we can experience greater joy and security in this tumultuous life.