A single word that haunts the psyche can lead to paranoia and self-destruction

Saturday, July 26, 2008

There is a two-syllable word that haunts many of us. It creeps through the hallways of our hearts and souls. We often do not even know from where it stems, where it is going or where it finds its value. We are each at some point in life haunted in our psyche and lingering within our hearts is that word: failure.

The idea of failing can grip us so tightly that it can actually keep us from seeing the success in what we are doing. The fear of being a failure can take such a prevalent role in our thinking that without even realizing it we sabotage what we hold dear. When you press so hard to keep an unfailing image, a false sense of success sets in accompanied by a sense of isolated paranoia that, without intervention, can lead to self-destruction.

Proverbs 10:17 says "Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray."

This verse reminds us that one of the many aspects of being a created being is that we were not designed for isolated independence. Yes, we are individuals, but it is not good for man to be alone. We live with personal responsibility, independence and freedom, but those are never fully manifested without external intervention. Our lives are best lived when we open ourselves to the trustworthy insight of others. By being open we are in no way obligated to follow their wisdom, but their questions may help us to think through the path of destruction that we are trying to avoid.

Just the idea of someone evaluating and offering criticism, even if it is constructive, sends up barriers and tightens the shoulders. But the outcome of ignoring it is too great. Not only could you avoid the paths you did not want to be on in the first place, but the additional warning of this proverb is that you can take others down the wrong way with you.

Seek out someone who you trust, is experienced and you can be open with. Open yourself to them. You'll be amazed at what comes from that relationship.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father and serves as the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Jackson.

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