Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Unchecked insecurity tends to evolve into a perverse form of narcissism, where one is consumed with anxiety about what people are thinking about them, or saying about them, or even what they are not saying about them.  Over time, they become convinced that everyone is looking at them, having feelings about them, and ultimately judging them.  It is the definition of “self” absorption.

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The problem with continually trying to numb yourself to pain is that you eventually lose the capacity to feel anything, other than the steadily growing anxiety that your next step might hurt.

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I find myself walking along a darkened street in what appears to be a very old, residential area, within a large city.  The houses look as though they were built around the time of the First World War and they are big by today’s standards.  I imagine that in its day this was a very inviting place to raise a family, but the neighborhood has long since fallen into ruin.  Most of the windows and doors have been boarded up and the few houses that appear to be occupied seem to be dimly lit and tightly shut.  Weeds have overtaken the cracks in the sidewalk and the concrete is uneven and crumbling in places.  Only one street light on the block remains lit and an ominous sense envelops me as I make my way down the street.  I ask the Lord what I’m doing here, but He is silent.  As I walk on, I come to a house that appears to be abandoned, but which isn’t boarded up.  In that moment I hear the Lord say, “Go take a look”.  I can feel my stomach rumbling an objection and I swallow hard to avoid asking the Lord, “why?”  Reluctantly, I turn and begin to shuffle up the short pathway to the porch.

As my eyes strain to detect any signs of movement, I see that the windows on the second floor seem to be open, while all of the windows on the ground floor appear to be broken out.  I notice the remnants of a curtain in one of the windows, as it gently rolls with the breeze.  As I step onto the porch I’m struck by the fact that despite what may have been decades of neglect, the structure itself still seems sound, which is undoubtedly a tribute to those who built it.  There is trash and broken glass strewn all over the porch and the sound of my feet treading on the debris seems unusually loud.  I feel new waves of apprehension as I come to the doorway and I can see that the door has been ripped from its hinges.  Everything beyond that point appears to be pitch black and I pause to once again query the Lord; but before I’m able to form the words I feel Him nudge me forward, as though He has anticipated my question.

Stepping through the doorway I once again stop allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness; as the smell of urine overwhelms my nostrils.  Like the porch, the floor is littered with debris and the walls are covered with graffiti.  In places chunks of the plaster are missing and the lighting fixtures appear to have been ripped from their mountings.  As I step through the foyer I can see the shattered remains of the stairway banister; in the corner of the dining room there is a large burnt area on the floor; and in the kitchen I find that someone has defecated in the sink and apparently smeared it on the cabinets.  Nauseated, I stumble back toward the front door, hoping to leave this depressing scene behind; but as I come to the stairway, the Lord once again nudges me and I know that I must also go upstairs.  The creaking of the stairs seems amplified in the quietness of the house, and I am soon making my way through the upstairs hallway.  In one bedroom I find a crib that has been smashed into splinters; in another a mattress covered with a sheet, which is stained with blood and other bodily fluids; and in the bathroom I see the cockroaches scurrying to the open hole where the toilet once was.  I feel as though I can take no more and I quickly move back down the stairs and out the front door.  Relieved to be out in the open air, I stumble back to the sidewalk and begin to distance myself from the house.  As I look back over my shoulder, I ask the Lord, “What was that?”  To which He responds, “That is a picture of an open mind”.  (The vision ends)

I found myself somewhat surprised by those words.  I guess on some unconscious level I had accepted the idea that being “open minded” was a good thing; but obviously this picture indicated otherwise.  As if to remove any doubt about misinterpreting the message, I felt like the Lord definitively stated, “I have not called you to have an open mind!”  Instinctively I wondered whether this meant that I was supposed to have a “closed mind”; but the Lord quickly impressed upon me that many have been deceived to believe that those are the only two options.  Indeed, the scripture exhorts us to test everything by the Spirit (1 John 4:1); taking every thought captive, making it obedient to Christ; and demolishing every argument & every pretense that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5).  This is not a picture of an open door, but of a guarded gate.

As the post-modern society (including many within the church) embraces the concept of an open mind we see the scriptures fulfilled, as the collective thinking becomes increasingly futile and depraved; with elements like anxiety, depression, bullying, suicide, shootings, pornography, child molestation… becoming commonplace in our culture.  Just as the fathers of these philosophies before them, those who embrace this way of thinking are destined to become hollow shells, whose minds have been vandalized, scarred and desecrated by nameless intruders, who have wandered in and out, unimpeded.  Lord God, in your mercy – transform us by the renewing of our minds.  Amen.


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