101 Magic Bullet Prayer

Many times in our lives we hope for “magic bullet” prayers which guarantee God would grant our requests. For example, we cry, “Papa, please help my car to start.” You know I need to get to work on time. You command me to work, and where You guide, You provide, so make it start right now! I claim victory in Jesus’ name!” If we could just say the right words and have deep enough faith He would give us what we want.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   II Corinthians 12:8-9

If God always said, “Yes,” to our magic bullet prayers, we would feel compelled to pray over every difficulty we hear until we found the “magic bullet” that would finally convince God to solve every problem to our satisfaction. The responsibility for the problems of family, friends and even the world would weigh on us. Intense pressure would obligate us to find those just right prayers to achieve our view of “success”.

This sounds like perfectionism.

If we could persuade God to always say “Yes,” then we could manipulate God. To think we have this power over Him involves great pride. Continuing for some time in this thought, we would find ourselves trying to manage the whole world. That job is already taken.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” If we knew that with just the right prayer we could get a “Yes,” we would continually feel guilty for not spending all our time looking for “magic bullet” prayers. We would feel a severe demand to find that “magic bullet.”

God reigns over the universe, and He is not giving His job away. He will decide how to answer our prayers. Thank God for that! We are not in charge, He is. It would be “Heaven” in our view if we could get all our desires fulfilled. Heaven will be here—in God’s timing.

I thank God for the times He has denied my requests. That reminds me that I am not responsible for everything. God is in charge and that for our good.

Many of us have prayed hard and long for our hearts’ desires. We use every prayer we can think to apply to these situations. We claim God’s goodness and His power, and still, “No,” or, “Not yet,” is the answer. We cannot rush God. Any, “No,” except those with a time element, could be a, “Not yet.”

In His word, God says, “I will…” He will cause it to happen. We do not have the power to make God change the world. When we let God be the One in charge, we relieve ourselves of a burden that is not ours to bear. We give responsibility back to God by praying relinquishment. It may sound like this, “Father, I give this issue over to You, trusting in You to work Your will in this situation.”

Learning to accept my limitations in humility,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching/Shepherding Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.

We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline at: http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

73 Boasting

The fifth secret to finding humility is:  Learning not to boast.

Now, brothers and sisters, I’ve applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”  Then you will not be a puffed up follower of one of us over against the other.  For who makes you different from anyone else?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?  I Corinthians 4:7

Our hearts may feel empty and alone.  We try to fill ourselves with positive thoughts, but they don’t make us feel better.  We proceed to compare ourselves with others.  We may feel a little better, but comparison leads to pride and an inflated view of self.  Pride, at least, feels better than its flip side, shame.  We have learned to boast to keep ourselves in this “up” state.  This pride truly locks us into shame.  Humility helps us find genuine freedom.

We can so easily fall back into boasting.  Shouldn’t we get credit for the good we do?  We try to combat our shame by feeling good about our accomplishments but to no avail.  Instead, we need to take the path of humility so as to find relief from our shame.  If we humble ourselves before God, He will lift us up. (I Pet. 5:6)  We need to trust Him. (Prov. 29: 25)

We don’t even realize when we boast because it has become a habit.  It comes naturally.  We don’t think about our boastful thoughts as we constantly compare ourselves to others.  We rate ourselves based on these comparisons.

Alternatively, we can commend others.  We need to avoid our tendency to laud ourselves.  We need to look for the contributions others bring, tell them how they have enhanced the world around them and thank them for these contributions.  Instead of craving accolades let’s give them.  “Love your neighbor as yourself…and in humility value others above yourselves.” (Matthew 22:39…Philippians 2:3 emphasis mine)  Keep in mind, if no one repays the favor, great!  We then have an opportunity to humble ourselves.

Above all, we need to give the highest tribute to God.  He is the Author of everything good. (James 1:17)  Giving God worship, praise and thanksgiving will go against our tendency to credit ourselves.  Any qualities we possess (intelligence, attractiveness, athletic prowess, musicality and other talents), we received as gifts from God.

Acknowledging my tendency to boast,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME:  Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; reflecting the light we have received so that others can better see. We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to outline  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

49 Self Acceptance Curveball

Dear friends,  if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”
I John 3:21

Seeking self-acceptance is a useless battle. Emotional healing does not come through accepting ourselves. Healing comes from accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. We cannot heal ourselves. To try to do so would be wasted effort. Seeking self acceptance becomes a self-defeating trap. When we spend time and energy trying to accept ourselves, we frustrate, rather than heal, ourselves. Instead of striving to accept self, we need to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior—His will and His way. We may find partial success with self-acceptance initially, which encourages us to keep going, but we can never find it fully. Seeking to accept things about ourselves that we don’t like also leads to circular thinking.

For example, we do not like feeling emotional pain. We seek to stop feeling pain, don’t want to feel pain, and yet we do feel pain. We don’t like that we feel pain and do not like that we are so sensitive. People may not intend to hurt us, but we sometimes feel hurt by what they say. We may not like this about ourselves; we want to become less sensitive. However, in embracing the desire to not be so sensitive, we find ourselves rejecting our sensitivity and so not accepting self.

Alternatively, we choose to accept our pain and sensitivity and then we don’t accept the part of us that does not like pain and sensitivity, the part of us that wants change. We could try to be all-accepting of our own self, to try to embrace all of who we are, we could seek to accept that we feel pain, as well as not wanting to feel pain, but this solution does not feel possible. Intrinsic in feeling pain is the desire to not feel it. On an intellectual level we accept that we feel pain but in the feeling of pain we find the desire to not feel it! These two paragraphs demonstrate circular thinking.

The goal of self-acceptance is self-contradictory. The dictionary defines ‘self’ as “One’s total being” and ‘accept’ as “To receive willingly.” We feel pain, but not willingly. We definitely don’t want to get stuck in pain. On an intellectual level, we willingly understand that pain is a part of life. But on an emotional level, we feel the drive to rid self of pain. Internal conflict leads to feelings of pain, shame and other negative emotions which we seek to eliminate to obtain a state of inner peace. Negative emotions reveal problems.

Actually, I feel more self-accepting when I let go of striving to accept myself!

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. John 14: 27 (emphasis mine)

Learning to rest in His peace,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

45 Frozen Emotions

When we rest we find awareness of our deep thoughts and feelings.  When we have pain and unresolved issues, we often stay busy to numb ourselves from them.  Busyness wars against our spiritual life.  As we allow thoughts and feelings about our pain and issues to surface, we need to open ourselves to hear from God.  We need to invite Him into the deep places of our hearts.  In the place of being still, we cry out to God and receive His Spirit.

Surely, You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  …Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Psalm 51:6, 10-12

When we shut down our emotions, we block the Holy Spirit.  Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, is a Gentleman.  He knocks at the door of our hearts, but doesn’t enter unless invited. (Rev. 3:20)  When we invite the Holy Spirit to go into the recesses of our hearts, we need to be open to experiencing His comfort and attending emotions.  We may want to numb or ignore our emotions.  These emotions can become “frozen” when we choose to barricade them from our awareness.  As children we learned this strategy to cope with the unruliness of our emotions.  The barricades led us to numb or disregard our emotions.  However, God has given us our emotions to work through problems.  Ignoring emotions does not make them go away.  Our emotions are a part of us and not separable from the rest of our being.

When we become aware or present to our emotions we give God access to them.  We cannot heal ourselves, but we can block healing.  We want to experience joy, but we need to work through pain to get to joy.  At times we will experience pain followed by times of joy and release.  God does not hold us in pain.  We might hold ourselves in pain.  He wants to heal us.  We find support from God as we cry out to Him.  Moreover, we can find people who support us.  They can help us discover new ways to break through our barricades, experience our emotions and then manage them.  We need support from safe people.  We cannot heal alone.  We trust and depend on God alone and receive people only as servants from His hand.

As an example, after years of opening myself to God’s healing, I still had frozen emotions.  I acted in anger without feeling it.  With encouragement, I attended an anger management class led by a safe teacher (a safe person and servant from God’s hand).  In an exercise from the class (STOP exercise, a helpful tool), I found that I did have anger!  Over the years, I continued the exercise and discovered other deep emotions and their roots.  As I heard God speaking His love over me, He worked a deeper healing within my heart.

Warmed by His embrace,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

42 Lawlessness

As we let go of rules and learn to trust God instead of our own performance, we can go from legalism to lawlessness. Even in legalism we can be rigid about some things and very lax about other things. We need to find moderation, letting go of overly high expectations while listening to God and obeying Him.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that He appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him. 1 John 3:4-6

“Continues to sin” in the Greek implies a constant and habitual practice of sin, seeking to sin rather than avoiding it. Yet, even in our avoiding sin we can fall into another trap. This trap is struggling against sin and seeking to become free in our own power. We need God’s power (next blog) to be free.

We practice lawlessness when we misuse freedom and put ourselves above the law, thus giving our legalistic enemy the right to hold our sin against us. This leaves us open and vulnerable. He is a beguiler and wants “to steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10) He will take advantage of our every vulnerability. We delude and put ourselves at the mercy of the father of lies when we say, “Oh, I can get away with it this one time.” When we sin, we give inroads to the enemy’s condemnation. For example, an apartment complex may have a walking path which says for residents only. Non-residents may rationalize walking it, but they make themselves trespassers. Rationalizing opens us to the enemy’s arrows. We need to be aware of his wiles.

Even small temptations can lead to lawlessness. In all the above keep in mind, conviction comes from the Holy Spirit and condemnation comes from the devil. “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.” (Romans 6:20-22) God wants to forgive us and to give us His peace! “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:7-8, emphasis mine) God made a way for us. We need to live in Christ and walk in the works He prepared for us in advance to do.

Learning to submit to the Master,

Noah & Marguex Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

40 How Did We Get Here?

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in My Name welcomes Me.  But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  Matthew 18:5-6

Past e-letters have talked about some of the signs and effects of perfectionism and ideas for healing from perfectionism.  How did we get here in the first place?  Why are we so perfectionistic?

The simple answer…shame.  Shame drives us to perfectionism because we strive to rid ourselves of the selfsame shame through performance.  Shame feels like guilt, and so we conclude that we can deal with shame as we deal with guilt.  This does not work because shame has a completely different source than guilt.  We deal with our shame by trying to atone for the bad feelings in our souls.  We think that if we act in new and “right” (in other words, self-righteous) ways, our shame will go away.  When the shame does not go away, we conclude that we did not find the right way.  We then seek even more diligently to find ways that will work in ridding us from this internal feeling of badness.

How did we come by these feelings of badness or shame?  We perceive shame subjectively.  Much of it came from our childhood.  We experienced shame when others sinned against us; examples are physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, excessive punishment, harsh words, lack of love and affection, which all scar a child’s soul.  We also experienced shame through our own sin.  Even though we confess and receive forgiveness the Accuser still condemns us for past sins.

I give you the following example from my adult life.  When I am with people and they laugh, I sometimes personalize it and think they are laughing at me.  When I do something goofy and someone laughs, I feel shame.  My wife and I have talked about this extensively.  I appreciate her perspective.  When she is with me and laughs at my goofiness, she wants to laugh with me.  She is celebrating me.  She has a loving attitude towards me.  Laughter for me can be a trigger by reminding me of others laughing at me when I was a child.

What triggers our shame?  Knowing our triggers helps us deal with our shame.  Understanding triggers gives us insight into the source of our shame.  The presence of these triggers indicates unresolved issues.

We want to run away from our shame, hide it or push it away.  None of these tactics work.  We need to deal with the roots of our shame.  Ultimately, we need to forgive those who hurt us.  Keep in mind that forgiveness is a process and can take much time, especially for those of us who experience horrendous abuse and neglect in childhood.

We have much to learn about the roots of our shame.  The above is only an introduction.

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

37 The Monster

Perfectionism is a monster. Extreme words, yet well deserved. Perfectionism saps our life. Perfectionism kills hopes and dreams. It tears down faith, replacing it with doubt and fear. Perfectionism promises to help us yet leads us to hesitate at every decision. It demands us to agonize and worrying over small things only to find later they weren’t such a big deal.

Perfectionism tells us we can earn the love and approval we so desperately crave. If we follow the right rules we will be successful. It entices us with an illusion of control. It deceives us into believing; if we just come up with the right plan and work hard enough our future will be bright and glorious. It then it robs us of time and energy without delivering on its promises. Perfectionism promises order and an illusion of peace and delivers frustration and regret. Perfectionism says if we live right, do what we are supposed to do when we are supposed to do it, then we be rewarded. When we aren’t we conclude that we did something wrong.

The truth is we cannot ever live “right enough”. The standard will keep on rising. In our striving and competition we will keep finding others who are better, stronger and faster than we are. We find ourselves outperformed. We feel defeated.

I lived with perfectionism most of my life. In childhood, I did not have a grasp that Jesus was my Savior while I was trying to make Him Lord. I sought to serve Him with no apparent success. I craved joy and peace of which I experienced very little. I figured that was because I didn’t love God and others as I should. I would try really hard but ended up feeling angry at others and then at myself for being angry at others. I couldn’t measure up. I felt like a failure.

Fast forward three decades. When I would feel sick, my wife encouraged me to take a day off so as to recuperate. “But I’m not that sick,” I would say while wondering if I was sick enough to take the day off. She would plead with me saying, “You need to take the day off so you can get better.” I would go to work anyway, coughing and sneezing, with a dripping nose and say, “I don’t feel so bad.” I took three handkerchiefs with me and found I needed another. Upon waking up one morning I was so sick that I worried I wouldn’t make it through a workday. I didn’t even want to get up to go to the restroom, much less go to work! I made the call. My boss said, “Hope you get to feeling better.” I hung up the phone. Relief swept through my body! I actually took the day off! I thought, “How bad do I need to feel to call in sick?”

Life does not need to be like this. We can find freedom from perfectionism, stop agreeing with its lies and let go of it. We need not to be so harsh on ourselves and learn that new ways of thinking and acting take time. Jesus offers authentic hope. Ask God for help and He’ll show the way

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Being rescued from the maws of the Monster,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com