I’m a very introspective person so I’ve always been interested in understanding myself and in my journey to self-knowledge, I came across the idea of the”empath.”As I looked further into this, I noticed I identified with most of the key empathic qualities: “dislike of crowds, easily overwhelmed/drained, boundary issues, isolation, hyper-vigilance to conflict, people-pleasing, and high sensitivity.” The last three traits are especially accurate for me. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a people-pleaser and I’ve always been afraid of conflict–painfully afraid, actually. Being able to read a room pretty quickly makes it easier to avoid either potential or further upset, though. I noticed that these traits also align with the passive temperament that you describe on this site and your post helped me to understand myself more instead of just beating myself over the head for having traits that God designed me to have. The thing is, I’m still stuck at the point where I’m too afraid to start a relationship with anyone…mostly because unhealthy passives like myself seem to draw abusers. I’m starting to think that “empaths” is just a euphemism for a person who can’t overcome certain traumas.
A good principle to bear in mind is that all fears are learned. First you have an experience, then your mind and soul analyze that experience. The conclusions they draw after performing those analyses is what determines 1) how you will feel when you think about the experience you just went through (happy, neutral, sad, fearful, etc.), and 2) how you will feel about going through a similar kind of experience in the future. Since your expectations about the future are so heavily influenced by the way you currently view your own past, you can tell how well you’ve processed your past by how you react to your future. Take this intense fear you have about experiencing future conflicts. You clearly have very strong fears about this–so much so that you are constantly maintaining strong defense strategies. When you try to “read the room” for example, you’re doing so in a biased way, looking only for signs of danger instead of appreciating the wide variety of mechanics that are happening around you. Trying to avoid any personal relationships is another extreme attempt to protect yourself. I say “extreme” because by avoiding relationships, you are also cutting yourself off from the many benefits relationships offer. Many of those benefits are things you really need to satisfy some of your core needs. Extreme defense strategies always come with a high personal cost, which is why people don’t use them unless they feel a certain degree of desperation. In your case, the desperation is linked to a need to avoid being harmed. No human wants to be harmed (unless they have certain kinds of trauma), yet all around you people are pursuing relationships. So why is your fear of being harmed by others stopping you from engaging? The issue here is your core beliefs.
Pain is an inevitable part of any long-term relationship. How much your relationship partner can hurt you depends partly on how well they know you. This is why the potential to be hurt badly increases as the level of intimacy increases between two people. For someone like you, that statement alone will feel like justification for you to hide out from people forever. Yet the problem with that conclusion is that you are ignoring many other important facts. Yes, relationships involve some degree of pain. Yes, getting close to someone increases their ability and likeliness to hurt you severely at some point. But to define a relationship solely by pain is like saying a tree is just a bunch of leaves. There is a lot more to a tree than its leaves. It also has a trunk, branches, and a very complex root system. These things aren’t just side details, they are critical elements which make a tree what it is. If you focus so much on the leaves that you no longer see the rest of the tree, then you’re not really seeing a tree at all. When you reject the leaves, you’re not rejecting the actual tree, you’re rejecting your own warped definition of a “tree” which isn’t accurate at all. In the same way, when you only see relationships as a potential source of pain, you’re not longer seeing an actual relationship. Instead, you’re focusing on a self-produced image of something that you are calling a “relationship” even though that is a false term. It’s rather like Facebook attaching the term friends to any person who you happen to link accounts with on their site. Calling a total stranger your friend doesn’t make them your actual friend. Instead, you just confuse yourself by constantly misapplying the term.
If I ask if you want a sandwich, then hand you a pizza, that would be rather ridiculous, right? If you and I are going to communicate, we have to get on the same page about what our words mean. The same is true for you and other people. A functional person does not define a relationship as a dangerous source of pain. If a functional person tries to start a relationship with you, they are going to be trying to start their definition of a “relationship,” and their definition will be a positive thing. Functional people recognize the risks involved in relationships, but they also see the benefits, and they rightly conclude that the benefits outweigh the risks When you refuse to relate to functional person because you assume they are just out to hurt you, you are not only reading them wrong, but you are also falling into the common human error of assuming that the whole world thinks like you do.
Now when we form our own false beliefs, those beliefs feel very true to us. Yet it’s vital to understand that there is such a thing as absolute truth. This means that there is a difference between true reality and your personal perception of reality. If I put on glasses that make everything I see appear blue, my perception of reality will be false. The real world didn’t suddenly become blue just because I put on glasses. Certainly all of the blueness seems very real to me because that’s how I currently see things. But I only see things that way due to my use of the glasses. If I take the glasses out of the equation, I will then see proper colors again.
In your case, your view of other people and of relationships is currently being warped by another factor. The “glasses” that are currently causing you to view other people so grimly is a set of beliefs which you formed when going through one or more traumatizing experience in the past. It is always trauma that causes us to form extremely negative beliefs. I use the term trauma to mean any kind of experience that one or more of your elements finds overwhelmingly negative. Once we become traumatized, we form very distressing beliefs that we find impossible to live with comfortably. As we try to press forward in life under the weight of those scary beliefs, we feel very miserable and agitated. Our current set of traumatic beliefs end up becoming the central focus of our lives: influencing our decisions, warping our logic, and causing us to feel incapable of happiness. The more severe the trauma, the more likely it is that we will start engaging in some form of self-harming behaviors in a desperate attempt to try to align with what our scary beliefs are telling us to do. In your case, avoiding relationships is a self-harming behavior, because you are intentionally cutting yourself off from very positive resources which you need on a core level.
Our core needs do not change when we become traumatized, yet because traumatized people pick up so many self-harming behaviors, their needs actually become worse because they go so long being unmet. Self-harming always results in a form of core starvation. In trauma cases, the form of starvation that occurs is psychological and/or spiritual, depending on which element (your soul or your subconscious) is having its core needs unmet. You might also pick up behaviors which add physical starvation (as is the case with things like anorexia and bulimia), however in trauma cases, physical starvation does not exist by itself, it is being driven by a stressed out mind or soul (see Why Is My Daughter Starving Herself? and Self-Harming: Understanding Your Body’s Dilemma). Any form of core starvation puts us in a major crisis, and to get back in balance, we need to stop the self-harming behaviors.
So how do you actually help yourself in a position like yours? Well, first you need to recognize that your belief that other people are certain to abuse you is a false belief. What’s happened with you is that you have felt severely abused by one or more humans from your past. Some of those people might still be actively involved in your life today. Based on your experiences those people, you have leapt to the false assumption that any human you try to engage with from now on will certainly harm you. You have also formed the belief that you are incapable of protecting yourself once abuse occurs. Once you accept these two beliefs, the logical conclusion is that your only safe option is to try to avoid human contact as much as possible.
It’s important to distinguish between the concepts of traumatized perspectives and personality variations. Yes, some people get emotionally recharged through social interactions (the classic extrovert stereotype) while introverts recharge by spending some time alone. In His love of variety, God has intentionally woven many fascinating variations into His human creations. However, when you are in a state of severe trauma (which you are), the overlay of traumatic beliefs can actually blind you to what your true core personality is. All you can know for sure right now is that you have a trauma-based fear of being around other people, therefore you naturally feel a sense of relief when you are by yourself. But because your fears are so intense right now, they are having a strong masking effect on who you actually are. If that mask were to be removed, we could find either an introvert or an extrovert existing underneath.
In the process of healing from severe trauma, it’s very common for people to feel quite surprised by what their true personality turns out to be. The man who thought he was hyper organized due to a trauma based need to feel in control of his surroundings might discover that his true personality is far more laid back and casual. The man who always thought he was extremely shy might discover that his true personality is very outgoing. Right now you identify strongly with the passive temperament, and that might well be your true temperament. But in cases of severe trauma–especially those that begin in early childhood and/or involve forms of physical assault–even your core temperament can get a false mask put over it. A true aggressive who is severely abused will sometimes feel forced to behave as a passive in order to survive. If he does not ever feel it is safe enough to come down off of red alert, he can become locked in that defensive behavior pattern, at which point he will misidentify himself as being a true passive when in fact he is a severely suppressed aggressive. The reverse can also occur, with true passives feeling forced to behave aggressively and then getting locked into that behavior because social dynamics make them feel it is too dangerous to show who they really are. I point this out to help you keep an open mind on the subject. Since you are in a state of severe trauma, you have not yet had the chance to get fully acquainted with your true self. Certainly there will be some aspects of your true personality that are able to express themselves through the trauma mask–it just depends on what kind of trauma you’re dealing with and which parts of your true personality are the most stifled by it. But you should always leave room for at least a few surprises to surface during the recovery process.
Because a state of trauma is both caused and fueled by how you interpret your past experiences, adjusting those interpretations is vital to the recovery process. Mild to medium strength traumas are often triggered by a single element becoming upset–either the subconscious or the soul. In cases of severe trauma, both elements tend to form traumatic beliefs, and we see that happening in your case, which is why you’re having so much trouble in your relationship with God as well as with other humans. Having two traumatized elements certainly does not stop recovery from happening, but it does mean the recovery process will need a two-pronged approach, as you’ll need to adjust spiritual beliefs as well as psychological ones.
While severe trauma has such a far reaching affect on our lives, and therefore feels like a massive monster that we can’t ever conquer, in reality it’s dependent on a limited set of factors. Imagine a massive leafy bush that only has three roots. On the surface, the bush looks very formidable and strong due to its sheer size. But if it loses its three roots, it will wither and die. That mighty shape must be constantly fueled with life-giving nutrients in order to stay alive. In the same way, trauma-driven behaviors (in your case, a paranoid avoidance of other people) must be constantly fueled by traumatic beliefs in order to stay strong. Once the beliefs start to shift, the behaviors will shift as well. In a case like yours, as recovery progresses, you’ll start finding the courage to risk attempting new relationships. You won’t feel comfortable doing so, but it will start to feel more possible than it does today. You will also start to see potential benefits to starting new friendships, whereas today those benefits feel either non-existent or like things that only apply to other people.
So, can you recover from severe trauma? Absolutely. Humans are extremely versatile creatures with an amazing ability to heal. But an important caution here is to not view recovery as a synonym for returning to the state I was in before I ever got hurt. True recovery isn’t about reverting back to a previous version of yourself. Traumatic experiences are designed to change you in permanent ways. At first, the only changes we experience are very negative. During the healing process, God helps us cultivate a different set of very positive changes that eventually become more influential than the negative ones. From God’s perspective, traumatic experiences are like seeds that He plants into our lives which have the potential to grow into beautiful assets. The more severe the trauma, the greater its potential for permanently altering you in very positive ways. Instead of viewing severe trauma as an ugly flaw that you want to scrub out of your life, you should view it as a fantastic opportunity for epic growth that God has specifically prepared for you.
We don’t all experience severe trauma because God’s plans for each of us are unique. If you’re not traumatized, you shouldn’t try to seek out that kind of problem just so you won’t miss out on anything. The theory of “no pain, no gain” is very flawed and causes many people to seek out harm for the wrong reasons. Instead of locking onto some other human as the “ideal model” for us all and then trying to force your life to imitate theirs, you should view yourself as a one-of-a-kind flower in God’s garden, and ask Him to help you experience His best plan for you. Your best plan will look different than someone else’s, but only your plan will be the one that is right for you. I always like to use a food metaphor to illustrate this point. If you’re happily stuffed after eating a delicious pasta meal, you aren’t going to envy the man who is sitting down to a large steak dinner. Your meal was the right one for you, and when you’re satisfied with your own lot, you get freed up from envying others. It’s only when we feel our own plates are empty that we feel jealous of what everyone else has, even if the stuff they have isn’t a good fit for us. As our Creator, God is the only One who truly understands what is best for each one of us, so it is only by following His leading that we can experience the greatest satisfaction and joy.
Also, shamefully, I’m still having trouble trusting God and His processes/methods, and voices, which I now know to be demons, keep teasing me. Recently, I was moved to start jotting down what they say through negative thoughts and what they said still seems somewhat true to me: “All this ‘self-seeking’ and you still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Just how much time do you think your Master will give, boy? How can you feel safe with a Master Who is both your Healer AND your Afflicter? Remember that scripture that says that ALL things are for HIS pleasure (not yours)? …That would make Him a sadist, wouldn’t it? See? In that way, He isn’t all that different from us, then, huh? Of course, the rub is that He IS your Master and you will forever be His toy. There’s really nothing you can do, little one…well, besides hold on to what little hope you have of satisfying this Being that is–not too tightly, though…wink” Why does this sound even the least bit legit to me despite my knowing that, since they’re demons, they have GOT to be lying?
Demons understand how trauma affects humans. Demons are primarily opportunists, meaning they prefer to work with existing material instead of coming up with stuff from scratch. Existing traumatic beliefs are fantastic material for demons to work with, which is why they give traumatized people so much extra guff.
The human soul is very intelligent. When you go through an experience that your subconscious finds traumatizing, your soul draws its own conclusions about that experience. In your case, you have been severely hurt by humans in the past. That is very upsetting to your subconscious, which is very concerned about protecting you. But your soul sees things differently than your mind. Instead of hyper-focusing on safety concerns, your soul is more dialed into the big picture. It instinctively searches for deeper meaning in the things that happen to you. Once your soul becomes aware of God, it starts trying to understand exactly how He is involved in your life–not just what He does, but what His motivations are–especially His motivations towards you personally.
Both your soul and subconscious are very logical thinkers, so they quickly become distressed by someone presenting them with a scary theory that sounds very logical. Your soul also uses your experiences with other humans as a foundation for understanding God. While this is quite reasonable, it doesn’t work in practice, because God is not a human. Whenever we’re trying to understand non-human creatures, we need to leave room for them to think in ways that are quite different than how we think. We also need to realize that non-human creatures perceive reality differently than we do. They also have different priorities, abilities, interests and motivations. What this means is that explanations of non-human behaviors that are entirely based on human principles are going to range from being a little flawed to completely wrong.
God is an all-powerful, sovereign Creator. This means that nothing occurs within any of God’s creations that He doesn’t both allow and want to occur. You can’t understand these facts until God explains them to you. But once He does give your soul an understanding of these things, your soul then adjusts its reasoning to include these facts. After all, your soul wants its theories to be as accurate as possible.
Okay, so God is in control of everything. He is also the Source of everything, both the good and the bad. Then bad things happen to you. So what was God’s involvement? Well, obviously He must be responsible to some degree, because bad things can’t even exist unless He chooses to create them, and they can’t happen to you unless He wants them to. But why would God want bad things to happen to you? Here we come to the question of motivation, which your soul is very interested in. There are two basic options. God either has positive reasons for having that crummy thing happen to you, or He has negative reasons. Your soul now has to decide which option it feels is most likely. It instinctively looks to your human experiences for help here, and this is where things fall apart because God does not use the same kind of logic that humans use.
Your soul exists snuggled up to your other elements, and it is constantly hearing the way your other elements think. Your subconscious is highly protective of you, and is quick to get angry when you are attacked. Your subconscious has no moral code, which means it enjoys the idea of trashing anyone who upsets you. Your subconscious also sees practical value in dishing back double of whatever got dished to you, as that kind of escalation seems like a good way to discourage someone from messing with you again. As a passive, you don’t act on these vengeful desires, but you still have them. After spending years and years listening to how your subconscious thinks, and hearing how shockingly gleeful it can get over the idea of trashing your enemies in extreme ways, your soul concludes that it’s quite reasonable to think God has similar kinds of thoughts. Does this then mean that God is delighting in the idea of seeing you suffer the way your subconscious delights in its own fantasies of revenge?
For their own personal reasons, demons are invested in trying to trash your personal relationship with God. The best way for them to do this is to get your soul to accept and maintain a bunch of false beliefs about who God is, how He thinks, and how He feels about you. Your soul can certainly come up with a lot of wrong ideas about God all on its own, simply by linking several logical thoughts together as I just demonstrated. But when possible, demons like to expedite this process by guiding your soul’s thought process. They do this by yammering certain logical statements at you over and over and over. Since using repetition is a great way to try to keep your soul’s attention on them, demons use repetition a lot. Since your soul is so logic focused, and since demons are careful to word their arguments in very logical ways, your soul will immediately find their negative theories about God compelling. Here is where you will experience a strong emotional reaction as your soul reacts fearfully to what demons are proposing.
Now for all of my readers, I want to clarify that demons don’t always target the soul directly. Sometimes they will target the subconscious instead. Other times they will target the body. Because our elements are so dependent on each other, demons understand that if they can upset one element, they can start a chain reaction which will end with all elements becoming upset. Since demons are primarily interested in controlling your soul’s dynamic with God, regardless of which element they initially target, they will be working towards the end goal of upsetting your soul.
Demon behavior is a very complicated subject. In the specific question I’m answering in this post, it’s clear that demons are directly targeting the soul, so that’s what I’m focusing on. But there are many other strategies that they use, so don’t think that the specific mechanics I’m describing in this post apply to every situation of demonic harassment. It’s also important to understand that your soul and subconscious can get into very heated arguments with each other that can be mistaken for demonic conversations. Learning how to sort out the nuances in these things takes time, but it is quite doable if you are taught the correct principles. But realize that you can only gain correct information about demons from the Being who created them, so don’t just believe what any yahoo on the internet tells you simply because that person claims to be some kind of expert on the supernatural. God is the only true Authority on demons.
Now let’s get back to the question I’m addressing. I want you to notice two important things in the wording of your question above. Look at the wording of your question and notice how demons quickly flip through multiple strategies in their speech to you. This is a very common scatter gun approach where they present your soul with a string of different theories, hoping one or more of them will catch on. It’s rather like trying to catch a fish with 10 different lures hooked to your line. Let’s take a closer look at the variety of arguments they proposed to you:
- First they make you feel like a general failure at personal growth (All this ‘self-seeking’ and you still haven’t found what you’re looking for?).
- Next they imply that God expects you to progress faster than you are, and since you’re not, He’s getting annoyed with you (Just how much time do you think your Master will give, boy?).
- Then they try to use the fact of God’s sovereignty as a tool to terrify you (How can you feel safe with a Master Who is both your Healer AND your Afflicter?)
- Demons love using religious tools to their advantage. If they know that you have high regard for a particular religious text (the Christian Bible, the Quran, etc.), they will use that text as a tool to give their own arguments greater credibility. In your case, they are using the Christian Bible as their authoritative back up because that’s the text they know you are into. Notice how they try to get you to attach a negative emphasis to the principle they refer to. In the actual text, God did not making this statement with the tone demons are implying when they “quote” it to you. To correctly interpret God’s tone and motivation for saying the things He says in the Bible, you can’t just quote isolated comments. Instead, you need to read His words in context, and that means identifying who God was originally speaking to (which is never going to be you), what the situation was, and what the soul attitudes of His original audience were. Angry statements by God are always directed at humans with rotten soul attitudes. God does not act hostile towards humans who sincerely care about pleasing Him. But when demons “quote” God at you, they are trying to reinforce their suggestion that God is currently feeling annoyed with you (Remember that scripture that says that ALL things are for HIS pleasure (not yours)?)
- As extremely limited creatures who are dependent on our Creator to constantly sustain us, we humans naturally find the sheer magnitude of God intimidating and overwhelming. So much about Him feels foreign to us and hard to understand. We just don’t see the appeal of creating cacti covered in vicious spikes or flowers that smell like rotting flesh. The fact that God obviously does find these things appealing enough to create them and countless other nasties leaves us feeling very confused and a bit anxious. Demons love to try to amplify our natural concerns about God. After all, if He enjoys making things that cause us humans harm…”That would make Him a sadist, wouldn’t it?”
- How demons choose to represent themselves to you will depend on how you currently perceive them. Many souls are completely unaware of the existence of demons, others see them as terrifying foes, and still others see them as potential allies. First demons do a quick review of your soul’s current beliefs, then they try to work out how they can use those beliefs to their advantage. The strategy they used with you reveals that you already view demons as malicious threats. While that view is correct, notice how demons try to use it to their advantage by getting your soul to put God in the same category as them (See? In that way, He isn’t all that different from us, then, huh?).
- God has many qualities that are easy to use to terrify humans with. Earlier demons tried to use God’s sovereignty to terrify you. Now they return to that theme (because it’s such a winner) and this time they tack on the fact of God’s eternalness. Unlike the creatures He makes, God was never born and He will never die. He just is…forever…and that’s yet another aspect of Him that we just can’t get our heads around. But what about us? We can all see that our existence had a clear starting point, but when will it end? There are many theories about this. Some souls believe that one round through this world is all we get. Other souls believe life will continue beyond this world. The kind of lies demons tell you will be tailored to fit your own soul’s beliefs. Their wording to you reveals two of your current soul beliefs: you currently believe in the concept of an afterlife, and you believe that God’s supremacy over you can never be changed. These two facts are true, yet demons are masters at twisting true facts into terrifying lies (Of course, the rub is that He IS your Master and you will forever be His toy.)
The length of this list reveals how much effort demons are putting into discouraging you. But here’s where we have to ask why they are trying this hard to twist your view of God. Remember that the end goal for demons is to influence your soul to have negative attitudes towards God. Once a soul embraces an attitude of spiritual rebellion, demons scale back to just doing minimal maintenance. The way they talk to rebellious souls is quite different from how they talk to obedient ones. Rebellious souls are already on the right track, they just need some positive reinforcement. Are you seeing any positive reinforcement in the above list? No, in your case, we see a bunch of bullying and coercion. Demons are working hard to convince you of a certain set of beliefs. This kind of persuasion is only needed when they are trying to change your existing beliefs.
Since demons have such an accurate view of what your current soul beliefs are, their behavior towards you is very informative. Demons only use this kind of bullying strategy towards souls who sincerely care about pleasing God. In other words, you’re already doing it right, which is why demons are trying so hard to get you to change your ways.
Now at this point you’re going to be thinking, “But I’m not doing it right, because I’m failing to trust God!” And if demons are hanging around you right now, they’ll chime in with “That’s right, you totally suck!” Well, here is where we need more education.
The Development of Soul Attitudes
There’s a vital point about soul attitudes that you are missing, and that lack of understanding is what’s making you falsely view yourself as a spiritual failure, when you are actually a spiritual success. Let’s use a metaphor to make this clear.
Imagine that you are a student in a classroom. God is your Teacher. As you sit down at your desk, you have a certain attitude about learning. You either want to do well in this class, or you don’t. You either want to please your Teacher, or you don’t. You are either receptive to being taught, or you’re not. What I’m talking about here is your core attitude towards God in general. I’m not talking about your response to specific aspects of God, like His overwhelming level of power, His strange preferences, and His bizarrely infinite existence. It’s guaranteed that you’re going to find many aspects of God quite disturbing because He did not design you with the capacity to either fully grasp or feel honestly comfortable with every aspect of Himself. But as the One who set your limitations, God understands them better than you do, and He does not consider it a failing when you bump up against them. While you set ridiculous expectations for yourself, God brushes those expectations aside as the absurd notions that they are. He understands that your very unrealistic view of what you are capable of stems from the fact that you understand so little about what a human even is. Does God have a problem with the fact that you are so ignorant on the subject of your own nature? Not at all. It was never God’s intention for humans to fully understand themselves. When you hope to achieve that level of understanding, it’s just one more ridiculous expectation that God takes no offense at.
Now in this classroom, God starts teaching you specific things. Some of His lessons seem easy to grasp and you feel very smart and pleased when you catch on quickly. But other lessons seem very confusing, and when those come up, you feel discouraged and stupid. When I talk about the specific soul attitudes of reverence, submission, dependency and trust, I’m talking about specific lessons that God teaches you in that classroom. You might think of these things like the specific subjects you get taught in human schools: algebra, English, biology, history. In human schools, we all find that there are some subjects we’re better at than others. The same happens to us in God’s classroom. We all react differently to the lessons He teaches. While some of us immediately grasp a certain lesson, others of us feel confused by the same material. We all find ourselves doing better in some subjects than others, and we all have certain areas that we feel we just aren’t making any progress in. For you right now, trust is one of those “impossible to grasp” subjects, and this discourages you. But why does this discourage you? Because you want to do well. Because you want to learn and please your Teacher. So here we see two things happening. First, your core soul attitude is very positive because you really want to succeed in God’s eyes. Second, your soul is really struggling to grasp a specific lesson. Now here’s the critical question: which of these issues is most important to God? Is He grading you on how well you do in specific lessons or is He grading you based on your core desire to succeed?
In human schools, you get graded on your ability to grasp specific lessons. You can desperately want to succeed as a student, but if you keep flunking tests in your various classes, you’re going to be written off as a bad student and slapped with a bunch of social punishments, such as people refusing to hire you because you don’t have the appropriate degrees. That’s how human schools work. But in God’s classroom He does just the opposite: He judges you by your core desire to succeed, not by your ability to pass specific tests. In God’s classroom, the student who sincerely wants to please Him is considered a fantastic success even if that same student is struggling to make any significant progress in specific subject areas. So you see, while you are rating yourself as a shameful failure because you’re currently a disaster at trust, God considers you to be a fantastic success because you care so much about pleasing Him. It’s all about core desire with God, and this is why He is so easy to succeed with.
So why is trust such a tough subject for you right now? Because of the painful mess you’ve been through with other humans. Humans are deeply impacted by their life experiences, and because of the way God designed us, it’s impossible for our experiences with each other to not also affect the way we relate to Him. It’s rather like the man who has a brutal day at work, so he comes home and gives his wife a bunch of snark. He loves his wife, and he’s not mad at her personally; he’s just so burned out from all of the flack at his job, that he doesn’t have the resources he needs to act like the husband he wants to be. Because the wife is just a human, she can only put up with so much attitude before she’s going to walk away. Core motivations have limited value in human relationships. If they don’t get translated into positive actions often enough, they are considered irrelevant. But with God, things are quite different. Core motivation is everything to Him, and He never judges our behaviors without taking core motivation into consideration. This is why two men can say something snarky to God and He’ll react to them quite differently. Towards the man who has a rotten core attitude, God will react with hostility to the twerpy language. Towards the man with the positive core attitude, God will respond with grace and compassion.
So how do you know that your core attitude is positive? You reveal it by the language you use:
Also, shamefully, I’m still having trouble trusting God and His processes/methods…
What kind of student will view his lack of progress as shameful? Only one who sincerely cares about succeeding. Demons also reveal your core motivation in their comment to you:
There’s really nothing you can do, little one…well, besides hold on to what little hope you have of satisfying this Being that is–not too tightly, though…wink“
Notice how they refer to the hope you already have, not hope you’re trying to cultivate. This is why it can be so valuable to write down exactly what demons are saying to you: when you look over the specific wording they use, it will tell you volumes about what your true soul attitudes are.
Now while you’re currently tanking in trust, you’re obviously making major progress in the subjects of reverence, submission and dependency. Notice how demons refer to God’s sovereignty and supremacy over you like they are facts that you all agree on. They only use this kind of language with souls who are already holding attitudes of reverential submission. Towards souls who have not progressed in these subjects, demons will use a very different strategy–one that encourages souls to keep viewing God as an impotent, limited Being. As for dependency, their language with you demonstrates that they know your soul already views itself as being dependent on God to the point that trying to exist separate from Him is a joke. If your soul has not made a certain amount of progress in the areas of dependency, submission, and reverence, the following statement would not be effective:
Of course, the rub is that He IS your Master (submission & reverence) and you will forever be His toy (dependency).
So let’s sum up. Your core attitude–which is the one that God primarily judges you by–is very positive. You sincerely want to succeed with Him and grasp the lessons He is teaching you. In addition to that, you’re making very good progress in three out of four specific areas of soul attitude development. The one subject you’re floundering in is one that God expects you to struggle with right now, so He’s neither surprised nor disappointed. Meanwhile, demons are clearly feeling threatened by how well you’re doing in God’s eyes, which is why they are putting so much effort into trying to discourage you. But as is always the case with demons, their strategies end up backfiring once you learn how to read through the lines and see how much they are confirming what a great position your soul is actually in.
So where do you go from here? Severe trauma takes time to unpack, so expecting yourself to just fly through the healing process is totally unrealistic. There are many positive reasons why God prefers to slowly guide us through recovery in stages instead of handing us an instant cure. In your case, you have two traumatized elements that need help. As the Creator of all of your elements, God is more than capable of guiding you through the healing process for both, but He’s going to do so at the pace He deems is best, and that will undoubtedly be slower than you’d like. So patience will be needed. While you’re waiting, you can continue to ponder the principles God introduces you to. I recommend that you read through my post Practical Steps for Correcting Traumatic Beliefs and see if God wants to highlight any principles in it for you right now. If He leads you try some of the exercises I recommend, great. If He doesn’t, don’t try to force yourself. Healing can only happen at the pace God allows, and at the end of the day, your relationship with Him matters far more than anything else.
I’d also recommend that you take a break from trying to dig up a personality profile that exactly fits your own. The plethora of personality lists and tests that you can find floating about the internet have very limited value. Yes, humans have many traits in common with each other. But if you’ve ever been to a large rose garden, you’ll understand that while a ton of flowers can fit under the label of “rose,” that doesn’t mean they will look like clones of each other. No matter how many profiles a personality test includes, none of them will exactly fit any of the test takers. Instead, long, authoritative descriptions of “If you’re an XYZ personality, then here’s how your inner mind works” tend to be full of false assumptions and exaggerations that people then try to make themselves accept simply because of the scores they came up with. It’s a waste of time. The same God who found it fun to make every single snowflake unique from all others also designed each human personality to be a unique combination of traits. So a perfect description of you does not exist on any site or in any book. You’re already in a relationship with the only Being who fully understands you, so leave it to God to decide the best way to go about getting you better acquainted with yourself.
This post was written in response to SeekingOne.
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To learn more about demons and soul attitudes, see my book A No-Nonsense Guide to Demons.