Note....It would be helpful if Part 1
were read as a context.
For years I struggled with who I, the person Paul Burleson, really am. This is terribly important because we tend to act on the basis of who we believe we are. If a person believes they are a victim, they act like one. If a person believes they were abandoned because they were given up for adoption, they act it out in behavior that reveals rejection. Most of what they do will reek of being rejected. If one believes they are superior, they will evidence it. Pharisaic behavior results from this belief. [I'm reminded of what I once heard Peter Lord say, "You believe what you do..everything else is religious talk."]
In the early years of my own identity struggle I settled in on what I'd received/perceived about myself from my environment and family of origin relationships. Not too good. The reasons have been stated in earlier posts and will remain there for now.
I believed then that I was a person who couldn't. Couldn't what? Couldn't whatever. Couldn't anything. At least couldn't and it be right enough or good enough for others to value me personally which no one did by my observation of those original relationships. [All of us want to be valued personally by the way. It's one of the God-given desires created in us. As the Psalmist said.."Lord remember NOT the sins of my youth, but remember ME."]
Do you know how one acts when they believe they're valueless as a person and can't do anything right? They, generally, become super aggressive [Bullies or a false show of being in control.] OR super passive. [People who live between the wallpaper and the wall.] Either crushes. The first crushes others. The second crushes the wallflower. But both will destroy. Mine was the first part b.
Then I became a christian as a young teenager. Now everything is wonderful. Right? Wrong. Oh, it is true that eternity was settled and what a great thing it is to know you're a forgiven person. But for years I found myself struggling with those same feelings and beliefs about myself. I still felt/believed I couldn't. Couldn't what? As I said..couldn't anything. So the pretense of and need to be in control continued unabated and people, as usual, paid the price for my actions.
Oh I'd try to do my best. Sometimes I did extrememly well and sometimes I stunk the place up with failure. My value as a real person had it's highs and lows as you can see and my demands on others continued their crushing effects. [If you think it foolish to even be concerned about this you have much to learn about real life AND yourself in my opinion.]
But finally the Truth intervened, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, and I began to understand who I am in Christ in reality. It was no longer an objective truth about me as stated in black print on white paper. It was emotional, intellectual and spiritual reality as declared in the Scriptures. I found I really am, as is true of every believer, a loved, forgiven, accepted, valued, and empowered by His strength for any purposed task commanded to me...person. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God, I'm free at last. [With due respects to Martin Luther King Jr.] I know who I REALLY am according to HIM.
But I'll be if I didn't find myself sometimes struggling [failures] in some of the ways [how I acted as a person] that had haunted me all along. They continued to feel familiar and comfortable and easy in spite of my knowing I am a new person in Christ. [I now call this the 'flesh' as scripture does.] I didn't want to fail in those old areas of course. [Needing to be in control and crushing others by being so.] A longing for change was fervently there. But failure in my familiar areas came periodically anyway. Oh maybe not as often. But the depth of shame was even worse. Failure was an ever present companion. Not a pleasant thing at all.
That's when I began to understand something new and freeing for me. I was responsible for my personal choices good OR bad...and... I was not a victim. You could say, as I read one man say, the statutes of limitations had run out on my childhood traumas. It was about time. Generally I'd blamed everything and everyone under the sun for the wrong in me. It was being a 'Burleson.' It was being the first born son. It was being an ACA. An adult child of an alcoholic. I was a blame giver not a blame taker you see.
But that new understanding of responsibility brought about a whole new battlefield of it's own and no matter how much I might try to deny it, I was/am still a person that is somewhat GOOD, BAD, AND UGLY and I was/am now responsible for it all. That's freeing you might ask. How?
That will be the subject of the next part of this "happy New year " post for 2009. Til then..happy new year again.