Written by Andrew
There are various things that we learn as we go through our lives. One of the things that I have taken through my journey of recovery is a model of self-examination that is a hybrid of the father wound discussed in John Eldredge’s book “Wild At Heart” and information that a close personal friend taught a bunch of us as we gathered at 6AM every Thursday. Ed was truly a mentor to me and so this is now the information I am passing on to you that are looking for answers to questions that you not have even asked yet or have asked them for years never quite getting answers that have satisfied in the soul. The counselor that I met on a retreat one weekend in October of 2000 is actually the author of this model. He is the one who gave it to Ed and It was through that weekend retreat and from that time till now doing the work on myself that I have experienced a watershed of healing that has led me to living a dream with Christ our Lord. I submit to you W.S.R.D. As a beginning of your work.
May God richly bless those who read and follow this model
As I have worked with men on this blog and in my life over the years, I have heard any number of variations surrounding the question “Why do I do the things I do”? Now please keep in mind that I am simply regurgitating this information as I have also applied it to my own life. I am not a psychologist or a trained counselor and I am not trying to be, but hasn’t that question come before you? Haven’t you ever had that feeling like Paul, that the thing you want to do is not the thing that you do? Why is that? Why do we make the choices that we make and have made in the past? This is where W.S.R.D. happens. By asking those questions; so let us begin by exploring these items one by one.
The WOUND is typically something that we received in childhood and it is given by the father more likely than not and more important is that those wounds (yes, there are more than one) are what cause us to react, or make a conscious decision to take our lives one way or the other. One decision could be to go ahead and react the way we always do which is interpreted as staying in a SURVIVAL mode or do we take the RISK that if we trust in God, then by his spirit He will indeed lead us to the DREAM.
We have all acted out in various ways and that acting out results from the choice that we make whether we are fully conscious of it or not. At that crossroad ,which I like to refer to as a choice point, this is where we can be guided by our past and let our SHADOW SELF take over and run the show OR take a RISK and listen to the Holy Spirit tell us which way to go. The SHADOW SELF is us he is not an alter-ego. He would be the person who protects us by continually keeping us locked in our past HURTS and WOUNDS. These are the wounds we received early in our life as a CHILD. Our child is that part of us that was hurt and doesn’t want to feel the pain of the wound so in steps the shadow so that our child will continue to remain safe. When the shadow is allowed to take over, then whenever something “set us off” it is then that we will go into SURVIVAL.
The other decision that we have at our disposal as believers is to do the opposite of what our shadow wants us to do. God waits on the other side looking at us and saying “I’m over here” whenever we come to a choice-point. He wants us to trust Him and not ourselves, He is giving us an opportunity to move towards Him in a way that for us in that moment becomes a RISK.
When we decide to take that RISK and make a decision based on God rather than our SHADOW, then God will give us our DREAM. The DREAM is that life where we rely fully on God for it all and do our lives based on Godly decisions more than the ungodly. The DREAM is all about that point where we are no longer bound to doing the same things and reacting the old way. It is all about living a life of honesty and integrity and reacting with our ADULT rather than our child and SHADOW.
Obviously we are not going to get it right all of the time but if we only improve our percentages a little each day it can result in a far more complete life than if we just go the way of our SHADOW. There is a shift that we must make which will require us to be willing to RISK in order to have the DREAM.
As you can see at the top of the diagram there is a trigger, now that trigger can be anything like an argument with your wife or the boss calls you in the office or someone flips you off. Triggers come in all shapes and sizes but there is always something that triggers our reactions.
Now if you look at the model you will notice that when we are triggered we move down to a cue or a reaction but before we have a reaction we run it through our child because it is the child who was wounded and then we have our reaction. For example, that person who is driving 40 MPH in a 55 MPH zone has just made us mad right? Wrong, no one and nothing can make us mad, we will make the decision to allow ourselves to get upset or mad because the child becomes the filter that we use to form our reaction. The CHILD is coming from a wound where maybe daddy was always mad at him for things that were not his fault. So, whenever the CHILD is hurt, the SHADOW takes over because he is there to protect the CHILD. Now we come to that choice point where we can allow our SHADOW self to speed past the slower gentleman driving and yell at him, clench our teeth and swear that the idiot got his license in a crackerjack box OR we can ask God to give us the strength in that moment to allow our ADULT to see the situation and make a calm reasonable decision to simply change lanes and pick up speed to the posted speed limit. It is all about which direction we really want to go in the decisions that we make.
You can see in this diagram what happens if we allow the wounds of our past to dictate our future as we look at “What’s in it for me?” If we continue to allow our SHADOW to respond we will continue in LIES, DARKNESS, DEADNESS, BONDAGE and FLESH. Whereas if we take the Godly approach we understand that LIFE happens in the events that we are triggered by and God is more than willing to intervene if we but ask for His help. Now when we step out of SURVIVAL mode and take that RISK, by waiting on God we will get results leading to our DREAM, TRUTH, LIGHT, we become more ALIVE, more FREE and begin to live our life dependent on the SPIRIT and more fully make ADULT decisions.
There is no magic to this because like anything that we want in the end it will require WORK on our part. Think of all the stupid decisions we have made in our lives. Which one was leading the charge toward those decisions? The SHADOW or the ADULT? Now go back to last time an emotion welled up in you and you were triggered, can you just sit in whatever feeling you had just before the trigger? Now that you have that feeling, try and think where you felt it before. Where you were and what were you doing at the time? Go back to the very first time you had that feeling, where were you, what were you doing, wearing, what room were you in, who was talking, tv on or off and what happened that caused that feeling? Many times you will have to go through this exercise until it becomes a way of life because if you are willing to do this often hard work, you will reap rewards of a calmer life overall and begin to live the DREAM.
If we decide to continue to live in survival, then we will continue to live insane lives guided by our protector who is our SHADOW. When we get triggered by an aggressive driver for example, we will then filter that trigger through the child who was wounded in that he received NO AFFIRMATION. This then gives us the cue or reaction that might be called SHAME and makes us feel SAD. Now our SHADOW wants to protect us as he has always done all our lives so that the response that we have going through our shadow is ANGER (RAGE). If we look at Anger as a coin, we have the one side of anger however the other side of anger is almost always sadness that was the feeling the child has from the wound.
So in the end, it all comes down to the choices we make that tend to be based upon the feelings that we experienced when we were much younger. It is there somewhere in the past that the SHADOW was born to protect us from those feelings of hurt. I have lived many years seeking affirmation, applause, kudos etc. so when I walked into a room of people from work for example my SHADOW would size up the room and decide who can be bullied or who I could match wits with. That might have also been coming from the fact that as a child growing up, I had kids making fun of me but my shadow would come to my rescue so that I didn’t have to feel that shame or sadness. Another example is when we go to hug our wife as she stands by the sink. We wrap our arms around her and begin to hug her but our wife senses that something is not right. There is “a hook” in it because it is not about her but about you needing a hug from her and comfort from her. Way back when we were a child we didn’t get the nurturing and comfort that we needed so our SHADOW puts out the hook because the SHADOW doesn’t want us to feel anything negative. When the wife turns to us and questions what we are up to? The SHADOW will cover it up to the point of getting mad at the wife because it wasn’t reciprocal. We might storm off in a huff until, like the prodigal, we return to our Father God and then wonder “what happened to get us so incensed at our beloved and why? It is those times when if we will process what happened we will find out that we were not being honest with our wife in that exchange. If we will take a RISK to tell the truth that we were just looking for some comfort because of whatever happened to us that day, then we will begin to live in the DREAM.
We are no longer bound to “posing” when we go to parties, where we are honest and upfront in all our dealings. No more excuses for this or for that. You see, I don’t really believe that we want to be late for appointments, or be “posers”, or tell one lie to cover up another. If we are honest with ourselves in those feeling moments, we will begin to find that there is a pattern of how we have done life up to now. We will begin to see where we may have given to get, where we have had “hooks” in our dealings with individuals. We will see that the life we want to live and the life we have been living are really polar opposites. We have all lived in SURVIVAL and sometimes we don’t know how to not live that way but in order to experience the vibrant life that Christ has had planned for us, we must at some point make the conscious choice to RISK that when we jump, God will be there to catch us. It will require trust in Him, trust that He cares, that he will hold us up, that He actually loves us enough to not let us fall. In the end we continue on our journey toward a life filled with His blessings and choosing to live the DREAM life that He wanted for us all along. A richer life, a more transparent life, a more honest life and a life that is being healed as the great physician takes all our brokenness and pain and makes it all work out for OUR good.
Romans 8:28 says And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. (ASV)
So, survival is not all the creator of the universe and everything in it really wants for us. He wants us to risk it all for Him and out of love for Him. Like I said before, this is not about perfection and it is not a destination but a journey. When I follow God and take that Risk I am rewarded by the joy that He has promised. I know that this model works because every time I slip up or get angry and act out it was due to the mother of all sins, PRIDE. It is ultimately my pride and self-centeredness that leads to arrogance or even false pride which allows me to refuse the gifts that God wants me to take. Allow me to explain further.
My friends and I get together every Friday afternoon for lunch and fellowship. One day my car was in the shop and I couldn’t make Friday lunch so I texted one of my buddies and told him that I would not be there because my car was in the shop and it was a bit too cold to ride my motorcycle. He texted me back that he would drive out and pick me up (some 45 minutes from his house). At that moment I had a trigger that I wasn’t worth the trouble and it was too far for him to drive, etc. excuse etc. etc.. I was allowing my shadow to send a reply that said all those things except the feeling of not being worth the trouble because my shadow doesn’t want me to feel that! So the next text he sends said we still had time and could make the lunch. At this point you now know that I was at a choice point. I asked God to forgive my foolish pride and accepted his gracious offer to pick me up. Now for me I try as much as I can to be ruthlessly honest in all my affairs, so I also in my acceptance told him what had actually transpired in the process. I took the RISK to live out of my ADULT and said “You know Dave, when you offered to pick me up for lunch, my first reaction was to be the typical guy and just decline your offer with the typical nay nay, I couldn’t possibly allow that because it is just too much to ask of you. Upon further examination though, I have realized that it was a false pride in me that says that I couldn’t possibly be worth all that bother so I will be happy to have you pick me up. Thanks”.
Now I know that it seemed like a lot of work and I am sure most guys would just say yes or no and not give it another thought but for me it is just a way of life now because the more I live out of brutal honesty, the better life God provides for me. Yes, it is hard work to dig in the dirt and messiness of our lives but how bad do you really want the DREAM of a life filled with JOY? God is always there for us, waiting for us; not to berate us for not doing thus and so and not to have us beating ourselves up because we have fallen or slipped or any sin you want to name. He knows we have sinned, He knows that in our humanness we can’t really engage in our life without Him and without brothers that are willing to drive us to lunch. He is there waiting for us to turn to Him and for us to lay our wounds at His feet rather than be controlled by them living only in survival. He has so much more to offer us if we will take the risk that He wants us to live out of our adult and come oh so willingly to Him as friend, brother, confidant and our Father God. Knowing that He is there for me is one thing, but following Him and making decisions with Him is priceless.
I find that many times men are living like they are on auto-pilot just going through the motions so to speak. Read this verse in a new way from now on.
I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself (The Message)
God is over on the other side of the river of life and He is beckoning to us “I’m over here!” All we need to do is choose between a life where we follow Him or a life where we just continue to survive. This model hopefully shows a way for us to do the work, to get in touch with ourselves in a new and more vibrant way. So just like the Jews of the Old Testament we now get a choice which in a way can also be life or death. Do our work or stay on auto pilot.
My brothers, choose LIFE!