The Failure of Fear & Pride
Fear is a universal human experience. Fear arrived hot on the heels of Adam and Eve's first sin of pride and rebellion and fear is a result of our pride as well as our independence. Now it is a good thing for a person to overcome their fears and not be subject to them. Often, someone who has a fear of flying will deliberately fly in an airplane to overcome that fear. Or one who is terrified of public speaking may take a course in speech or join Toastmasters. If someone comes to us for prayer, however, we want to get to the root of fear. Even though a particular expression of fear has been overcome, that does not mean the axe has been laid to the root. The taproot of a large tree is almost impossible to dig out; without the help of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to rid ourselves of fear-we will simply swap one fear for another that we find more acceptable. So what root needs to be hacked apart and carted off? The root of pride.
I once ministered to a young woman who told me she grew up as the good child, the favorite. Her identity was found in being the one Mom approved of who did not get in trouble and who did the right thing. One day when her mom was beginning a relationship with a man (her parents were divorced), her mother unjustly accused her of stealing. This cut to her core. She had spent her whole life working to keep the rules and gain her mom's (and God's) approval. She was proud of her record and felt secure because of it. She would do anything to keep her good standing in the family. Her deep fear of rejection flared up. Later that day, she shoplifted for the first time. Since she was not experienced, she was caught. Now she had a criminal record-and she had added guilt, shame, and embarrassment to the fear of rejection that was now exposed and raw. I was able to tell her that at some point every perfectionist fails. No one can ever be good enough to overcome insecurity and fear of rejection. And it is not unusual for one who is driven to be perfect to dramatically crash and find themselves caught by something that is a total contradiction to the way they previously lived.
I helped her to see how pride and insecurity held her in bondage in conjunction with the other things she shared in the interview. For the first time, she understood that her struggle was not only with herself but also with a diabolical plan to destroy her. In her pride, she had traded the fear of rejection for the perfectionism and legalism, but as she named her enemies and broke their power in renunciations, victory came. Because she learned how to continue to face her enemies using the Five Keys, she can walk in freedom.
This young woman had attempted to cover her nakedness by being as perfect as she could be. Others try to hide by taking a superior position through judgments, criticism, and accusations. No matter how much we try to overcome our exposure as deeply flawed people, we will fail. If we medicate ourselves through drugs or pornography or other addictive behaviors (all attempts to save ourselves), we will fail. This failure will lead to deeper isolation and loneliness, for our efforts will never be good enough to overcome the God-sized hole in our hearts. Nothing we do will ever be good enough to take away our suspicion that there is something wrong with us. The effort to be perfect is too much. Someday we will give up, our unredeemed selves will be exposed, and we will see what a wretch we are apart from grace. Often others will see it too, as in the case of the young woman mentioned above.
Many people come to us because they have crashed and are overwhelmed by their failures. They are disillusioned and humiliated by failure and are now bombarded with negative thoughts: hopelessness, purposelessness, self-rejection, self-hatred, fear of the future or the past, fear of embarrassment or further rejection-all these and more can come on like a stampeding herd.
from Unbound Ministry Guidebook — Helping Others Find Freedom in Christ by Neal Lozano and Matthew Lozano pp.77-79.