Impostor Syndrome

While I hadn’t heard of ‘Impostor Syndrome’ before, I’ve experienced its symptoms personally which has resulted in an internal struggle with whether or not others will accept that I am a writer and ultimately if I accept that I am a writer. Why I allow others to have such control or influence over me is another topic altogether, but the points you made, especially the aspect that if one writes they are a writer, are absolute. I suspect that this is true of all the arts – drawing or painting, writing or playing music, acting or dancing, and so on. An artist (which I believe a writer is) has the tendency to be insecure, or to question their abilities, comparing themselves with others – which by the way I suspect you refrain from doing, contributing to your confidence and success. When I examine myself I find that while I write at least 500 words a day, four or five days a week, I can’t help but compare my writing with others whose work I admire and frankly I find this discouraging and counterproductive. Yet, if I don’t read I tend to lack the fuel that ignites my imagination. So, for me anyway, there’s this weird cycle that I struggle with, wanting to write and loving it as I’m writing, but lacking the confidence to really put it out there. Of course the fact that I’m in my 50’s plays a part as well , feeling that I wasted so many years before sitting down and writing.

 

BTW – Thank you for your comments and no, I didn’t feel you were bragging. I admire your confidence and, based on what you described, I feel like I better understand where it comes from. I know you’ll keep at it and that alone serves as inspiration for me to continue.

Advertisements

What will it be like…?

Imagine not understanding what it means to live in fear because every day since you were born has been forced to face your fears just to survive.

What must life be like should you ever be rescued?

This is the prospect we each face.

We have no idea what will happen between tomorrow and that time, but just imagine waking up in the new world. What does your mind envision?

Now consider this: As you look around, right now, what do you see? Everything your eye sees is in one way or another effected or influenced or designed on purpose by the devil. Recall that after Adams sinned the relationship between God and man was disrupted and being in an unclean and disapproved state required Jehovah to sever ties with humankind. However, because of his love for both man and his purpose, Jehovah immediate made provisions to restore humankind and accomplish his purpose. Unfortunately this wouldn’t take place immediately but over time, allowing the issue of universal rulership to be addressed and settled. But this required Jehovah to step back and allow mankind to govern or rule himself, under the influence of the devil. What this means is that for thousands of years humankind has been under the influence of Satan. It also should remind us that for thousands of years the devil has been in a position to study mankind and ascertain his weaknesses and tendencies better than any tactician, psychologist/psychiatrist, or human behavior expert. Satan is the master in understanding how men think and has centuries of experience influencing mankind into the belief that there is no god and if there is then he doesn’t care about you. He has devised a system in which justice is a fallacy and whoever has the power, influence, money, etc…has dominion on others. Inequality and injustice, violence and abuse are rampant and humankind’s view of love, what is fair and right, and how to treat others are completely distorted and twisted from what God intended. With these facts in mind, try to imagine a world without the influence of Satan, a world completely opposite to what we see around us and think is normal.

 

 

 

 

Eyes of faith

The text today used a phrase which we use quite often yet may fail to appreciate it’s true meaning. While I don’t intend to ‘clearly define’ this phrase, I would like to give thought to what it means. The phrase is: with eyes of faith. 
These ‘eyes’ are associated with faith, so this should call to mind the scriptural definition of faith. At Heb 11:1 faith is explained to be “the assured expectation of what is hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities that are not seen.” From this description it’s implied that faith can ‘see’, thus the need for figurative eyes. When one with faith looks out through these eyes, what they observe is far different then what a person without faith sees. While both persons are viewing the exact same thing, each one sees something different. What they are looking at isn’t different but instead it’s their perspective that has changed. To a certain degree it’s like two people who are viewing a landscape, except one is at see level and the other is standing on a high mountain. Each are viewing the same scene but from a different perspective.

Another way to view it like this – there are two persons looking at a painting on the wall. While they both are examining the same painting, one is looking at the painted image through the clean lenses of an eyeglass prescription that is current and accurate, while the other views the painting through his mothers prescription, which is wrong for his eyes, and are smudged and dirty having never been cleaned. What they are Viewing is the same, it hasn’t changed. But, how the image is translated in the mind is different and the impression of the painting, the information relayed to each person, is different. 

In a similar way, when we look at the world around us, viewing the exact same things others are viewing – the news reports for example, the information relayed to the mind should be different and our reaction and response probably won’t mirror those who are watching the exact same things but doing so without the benefit of ‘eyes of faith’. Because these ‘eyes’ are ‘eyes of faith’ we are viewing the world through what we might liken to as a filter which removes the dust and pollutants in the literal world, which distort the view, and provides a clear and far more accurate picture of what one is viewing. With eyes of faith a person takes whatever it is he is watching and filters it through his understanding of God’s word, taking into consideration past prophesies that have come true, together with future promises of God. We consider what Jehovah’s purpose in connection to what we are viewing and work to get a clear and focused view of matters, adopting God’s view rather then imperfect humans. We recognise that what we are looking at has been doctored, or ‘photoshopped’ so to speak, manufactured by the ‘ruler of the world’ whose purpose it to distract us or to cause us to react in a way that will displease God. And if we are viewing things thru literal eyes without the benefit of eyes of faith, we will fall victim to Satan’s designs. 

Humility

Monday. 1-Feb-2015Today’s text focused on a specific quality which is vital to be found pleasing to God. That quality is humility. This is a quality that is found wanting in the world and not generally associated with men or being a man. The world paints this quality as weak and effeminate yet it is a quality that can cause a person to be approved for everlasting life. That in itself reveals the reason why Satan has deliberately cast this beautiful and endearing quality in a negative light.

Interestingly, the opposite of humility is pride, and while we all need a measure of self-respect it’s fascinating how Satan has twisted this to the point that while it’s considered undesirable to be a ‘proud’ person, it’s common to witness person behaving in an arrogant and haughty manner, speaking abusively of others, or at the least condescendingly, and giving the impression that they are owed respect. The very act of being humble is marked by a restraint of ones ego and a view that others are superior to you, while at the same time maintaining a balanced and realistic view of oneself. And this balance is where it can be tricky for some due to imperfection and various type of insecurities. The heartfelt desire to please Jehovah is good and is what we want as the primary motivator in our lives, directing us to work towards what is proper and good in the eyes of our God. However, our insecurities, which are in fact a part of our human imperfections, have a way of twisting and distorting what is real, creating fears and raises issues where there is nothing to be concerned about. To a large degree it’s ones insecurities that cause a person to take offence, hold a grudge and withhold forgiveness. While this person might think that they are viewing others as superior the reality is that they hold themselves as above others, even if others is a single individual.

The inability to forgive is key, for it is one of the single most telling symptoms of pride. Not being offended, as this will happen to each one of us multiple times each and every day, but the holding of a grudge, sulking in feelings of resentment, and the holding back of forgiveness. This, in part, is why Jehovah places such an important role on our being forgiving of others.

The fact that Jehovah forgives us should help us to understand that this quality isn’t a weakness, as the world would have us believe, but one of strength. Additionally humility reveals that we have adopted the same view as Christ. This quality makes us teachable and qualified to be used by Jehovah more than any amount of natural ability could ever hope. Had Moses, Noah, David or Jesus lack humility we would never have come to know them. And examples such as Saul, Korah and the Pharisees reveal the true danger in failing to be humble.

Humility isn’t a quality one will master over night, or perhaps at all, while living in this present system. But this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make the effort to cultivate this beautiful quality. It is life preserving and identifies us as followers of Christ and approved by God.

While considering the quality of humility I asked myself why Jehovah cherishes this quality so much. I think much of the reason is because a person who humble thinks of others first and works to maintain a lowly view of himself. Can you imagine how the world would be a different place if people put the interest of others ahead of their own? It would be a completely different world.

Another possible reason is that a humble person acknowledges that he must rely on others, and ultimately in Jehovah, for help and support. It’s rare for someone to welcome help from others in this present system. It isn’t uncommon for a person to even refuse help and say that they don’t want pity when, in truth, this is exactly what they need. Why do they behave like this? Because they have been conditioned to believe that asking for help, accepting help even just needing help is a sign of weakness. Yet I ask: What is wrong with admitting that I am weak? Why should I feel shame asking for help and feel embarrassed for accepting assistance? This actually is so illogical since, being human, we weren’t created to go thru life complete in ourselves, without help. My thoughts go first to Adam who was created perfect and yet was given a helper, as a complement, in the form of woman. If our creator felt the need to provide the perfect man with a helper, who are we to think we don’t need help? How arrogant!

While the relationship between Adam and Eve was unique and resulted in the arrangement of marriage, there are other examples in the scriptures of ones who were provided help so that they could accomplish various tasks and goals, and even accomplish the divine purpose. Think of Noah and the help he received in his family. Then there is Moses who was assigned Aaron as a helper, as well as appointing qualified men to help later on. While the list could go on, it would be incomplete without mentioning the 12 who helped Jesus. He wouldn’t have been able to accomplish his assignment had he not had help in the form of others, yet he never ‘lorded it over them’ or demonstrated a superior attitude. He set the example in humility, even washing the feet of his apostles…and he was the perfect son of God.

So how can humility be viewed as a weak and undesirable quality when it is anything but? Standing back and examining this quality reveals the extent the thinking of the world has deviated from Jehovah’s thinking. The influence of the devil is powerful and one reason for this is the fact that it appeals to the imperfect flesh, so that we at times are unable to figure out if the problem is Satan, this system or our own imperfect weaknesses. It doesn’t really matter where it comes from, especially since it ultimately all comes from Satan who has designed this system to ensnare us.

What can help us to guard against this satanic thinking? Humility. While we work to maintain a balanced view of ourselves, we must remind ourselves, almost constantly at times, that we don’t know it all and that we can’t do everything on our own; that we need help and will make mistakes; that we are going to disappoint ourselves and others, but if we maintain a humble view of ourselves and get into the practice of trusting in Jehovah and really relying on him, we won’t have any worries.

Comments on today’s text

Thursday 28-Jan-2015

I found the text for today wonderfully encouraging. The comments had this to share:

Even though we may lack self-confidence, Jehovah can help us to go beyond our perceived limits and reach goals that we would not have imagined. Just as an instructor watches an inexperienced rock climber attentively in order to help him find the best handholds, Jehovah is willing to guide us as we make spiritual advancement. Jehovah might also use fellow believers to help us reach our full potential.

Despite what others see or think, if a person believes he is worthless or useless or faulty or unskilled or stupid or lame or in any way less than normal or even perfect, they’re unable to achieve their potential, will be frustrated and ultimately unhappy. This is something Jehovah knows, acknowledges and is telling us he will or already has addressed. I recall a brother who I felt was a fantastic speaker and teacher, who was warm and loving and quite accomplished, only to learn that he felt anything but. He felt inadequate and struggled with feelings of worthlessness. The irony is that I too felt the exact same way while others looked at me as one who was a fantastic speaker and teacher, wam and loving and quite accomplished. It didn’t matter what others saw or thought. Nor did the reality matter – that we both were capable brothers. All that mattered is what our internal feelings told us, which were a distortion of the truth.

While the scriptures encourage us not to think more of ourselves then we ought, this doesn’t mean that we are to think nothing of ourselves, or view ourselves in a twisted or distorted way. Yet, even as we struggle to look at ourselves objectively, as were ally are, our imperfect flesh sees an image not unlike that of a carnival house of mirrors where one sees themselves too tall and thin or too short and fat, the details of our face a mishmash of features like that of a caricature drawing.

The problem is our imperfect flesh. Through no fault of our own e each carry the burden of the inheritance left to us by our first human parents. And even though this is all we’ve ever known, we were created in such a way as to sense that this is not normal. Surrounded by a system designed to distract us and reinforce a lie that this is our reality, we struggle to make sense of what we have been lead to believe is real and wonder why we are unhappy.

This, in itself is an interesting premise, for it highlights an idea that we entertain ourselves with but never actually realise how true it is. That idea is that we are living in a fantasy world, a made up, fabricated system designed and controlled by Satan. Like various stories that tell of people living is a world that isn’t real, we too are faced with like challenges and obstacles, the worst being that we’ll forget that this is not the real life. For this reason alone we need to read and think deeply on God’s word so that we remain mindful of what is real and what is fake.

The feeling we have feel real, just as real as the world around us. But the feelings we have may actually be just as twisted and distorted as this wicked system. How can we know? By comparing our thoughts with God’s thoughts. Self analysis. And the comments today are encouraging as they serve to remind us that we are valuable and worthy, capable and qualified, important and loved by the one who matters most…Jehovah.  

Who controls your life?

Friday. 29-Jan-2016Despite what we might think, we all are influenced and effected by others, to varying degrees. But to what extent we allow ourselves to be impacted or even controlled might surprise us. For example, consider how you might choose to dress after hearing the weather forecast for the day, or what foods you might choose to eat after watching a program on fast foods. When you look at the things you purchase, how much of an effect did advertisements have on your choices?

Yet, we would still consider ourselves in control over our lives and refute the claim that someone is controlling us. But, let’s take another look. Are the choices you make in life influenced by the ruler of the world or by Jehovah? For example, Satan would have us believe that we can do what feels right, while Jehovah says we must think deeply about things and make meaningful and deliberate decisions in life. Satan promotes procrastination, allowing others to make our decisions for us while Jehovah says that we reap what we sow – we are responsible for our own life choices.

Regardless of the words we speak, our actions reveal who our God is and who controls our life.

So what I’d we find that we are being influenced by the ruler of this system, what then? We don’t give up. We don’t make excuses. Instead, we accept responsibility and start making changes in our THINKING. Yes, the problem lies in the way we think. Even though our hearts may love the truth and the kingdom message, our minds need to understand , otherwise why would we be instructed to ‘take in knowledge’ or ‘get to know’ Jehovah? Because our minds play a role in serving Jehovah.

Just because we are too old to be tempted by immorality or drugs or drink do we think that Satan doesn’t have tricks up his sleeve reserved just for old ones? One of the many ‘traps’ Satan has, which work especially well on older ones is: discouragement. As we get older we find we can’t do what we once did. We can’t hold to the standard we once did. We look around and it seems that everyone and everything is a disappointment, even life itself, and we might feel as though we wished it was all over for us. And without realizing it, we have taken a step into the trap of the bird catcher.

Have we made this a matter of prayer to Jehovah – not once a week or once a day in prayer but every single day.

Friday, 8-Jan-2015 Gifts

‘God’s gift of a woman was unique. What an amazing gift God gave the first human couple.’

These words, found in the Watchtower comments of today’s’ text, remind us of something we may not fully recognize or appreciate – that Jehovah is a gift giver. Jehovah enjoys giving gifts and gives only the best of gifts. Of course the greatest gift God has given us, besides our lives, is the ransom sacrifice of Christ Jesus, who by the way is the second greatest giver of gifts to man.

From what I could find, the word ‘gift’ comes from the thought of ‘something that is given’. There are various reasons and motives why something would be given to another person, but the greatest reason is for no other reason than love. While the world recently experienced its yearly celebration of exchanging gifts and gift giving, I was reminded of what my father told me as a young child growing up. My father said, “We don’t need the calendar to give us a reason to give a gift, and we don’t need to give a gift because someone has given us a gift. We can give a gift whenever our heart moves us to give, and for no other reason then because.”

It’s a terrible feeling to feel obligated to give a gift, at odds as even what to give someone who has given us a gift. It is equally confusing how to respond when given a gift that we neither want nor appreciate (my thoughts turn to the story of the White Elephant). But when gifts are given out of a pure motive (love) and not expected to reciprocated, this is when the example Jehovah set is truly being imitated, for who of us can ever repay Jehovah for the gifts He has given us?

When Jehovah gave Adam the gift of a woman, Jehovah hoped that Adam would appreciate and cherish this very personal gift. And did Jehovah expect a gift in return. No. Even Adams obedience wasn’t expected as a result of this gift. Instead, obedience was connected with receiving blessings from Jehovah, as well as providing man and woman a means to demonstrate their acknowledgment that Jehovah had the right to govern and rule. Additionally, only by mankind being obedient would Jehovah accomplish His purpose for them, which is an interesting thought because instead of working to accomplish His purpose alone, Jehovah chose to allow Jesus, the angles and mankind to work alongside Him to accomplish the purpose of all of our very existence. That in itself is another gift from God to us.

What has Jehovah given you? What gift from the Creator do you cherish? Can you list the various gifts you have received from the Most High of the universe? How does one go about expressing their gratitude and appreciation for these gifts, which we can never repay and aren’t expected to? In the scriptures, we find Abel, Noah and other who followed, offering to Jehovah a burnt sacrifice of a lamb on an altar. Because this is what the faithful men of old did and were favored by God, does this mean we should do it too? What can we do today to demonstrate of gratitude and appreciation to Jehovah? Well, ultimately, what does Jehovah want from man? What did Jehovah want from Adam and Eve? What did Jesus give God that made his sacrificial death meaningful?

Obedience. The only gift we can give to Jehovah is the single thing only you can give Him – your obedience. Obedience in this case involves maintaining ones integrity to God, having absolute confidence in Jehovah, giving Him our allegiance and putting our complete faith in Him. Jehovah doesn’t expect us to be perfect and knows that we will mess up and fall short of His expectations. But another gift Jehovah extends is loving forgiveness, which enables Him to see beyond our failings and see what we can be after the effects of the ransom sacrifice have been extended on us, as individuals. That in itself is gift enough to make us want to try to give Jehovah our best, and extend forgiveness to others.

It’s clear that Jehovah loves mankind, and when we take the time to meditate on the marvelous gifts God has given us it should stir our hearts to cherish these gifts, including one of the greatest gifts we’ve been given – our lives.