The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Pursuing A Better You: Methods & Motivations

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Human beings are spiritual beings. This means that you are not the body you see in the mirror. That physical machine is merely the earthsuit which your soul is using while it is in this physical dimension. Your soul did not decide to begin life trapped inside of an earthsuit—God forced this situation upon you. You were born inside your suit, and you have no way of escaping it on your own. When God decides that your time on this earth is over, He will kill you, which means He will separate your soul from your earthsuit. Your death might be instantaneous or it might be some long, drawn out affair. You don’t have a say in that, either, because God does not allow you to decide when your life will begin and end. The popular notion that we can commit suicide whenever we like and thus control when and how we die is a complete scam. The reality is that most suicide attempts get botched by God. Those that do succeed only succeed because the timing and methodology chosen coincide with His will.

Humans like to view themselves as creatures of great freedom and choice, and yet the reality is that we are extremely limited beings. Of all the factors in your own life which have had a monumental effect on you, consider how many were totally forced upon you by God. Did you have any say in when you would be born or who you would be born to? How about your country of origin—did you have any say in that? And then there’s your earthsuit—you didn’t choose the color of your skin or your gender. Did you come out of the womb with everything in order or were there problems? Some of us are born with missing parts or malformed parts. Others of us have too many parts. You didn’t have any say in assembling your earthsuit. Maybe you hate your hair. Maybe you hate the color of your eyes or the color of your skin. Maybe you feel that you were born the wrong gender or maybe you feel biologically set up to be attracted to the wrong gender. If this is the case, it’s important to realize that all of these factors were forced upon you by God. The question then becomes why? Why did God stick you with physical and biological factors which He knew would cause you endless torment? It certainly wasn’t because He hated you or because He enjoys seeing you miserable. God has positive reasons for sticking us with frustrating burdens in life, but delving into those reasons is a topic for another post.  In this post, we’re going to discuss the concept of self-improvement and how we can pursue better physical and mental health in a way that will keep us in alignment with God.

SELF-HELP IN PERSPECTIVE

Anytime you find yourself feeling attracted to some self-improvement practice, it’s critical that you keep a grip on a few essential truths. You are not some freak accident who randomly came into being one day. You were intentionally brought into existence by three all-powerful Beings who are utterly non-human. Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit created you for the purpose of personally relating to you. They don’t need you. They don’t depend on you. They wouldn’t feel lost without you. They didn’t create you out of necessity, but out of a purely voluntary desire to interact with you. They were very purposeful in Their design of you. Just as a car is designed for the specific purpose of driving down a road, you were designed for the specific purpose of relating to the Ones who created you. Just as a car’s design prevents it from ever being able to eat a sandwich or sing a song, you were designed in a way that prevents you from ever being able to function independently of the Ones who created you. You need Them desperately. And just as a car can’t tear itself apart and use its own parts to build something entirely different, you cannot reinvent yourself or push past the limitations that have been set on you. You’re a human and you’ll always be a human. You’ll never evolve into a God. You’ll never acquire God powers through straining and striving, so you can take the entire New Age package and flush it. Any teaching which is based on the theory that you are some Divine being who can learn to access your innate powers is utter nonsense.

To put mind manipulation techniques in proper perspective, you need to realize that your entire existence is about accomplishing Someone Else’s agenda. If you want to experience a positive existence, you need to get in touch with that Someone Else, ask Him why He made you, and find out what He wants from you. It is through absolute submission to our Creators that we thrive, and yet many self-improvement theories lead you in quite the opposite direction. Many who promote themselves as healers will encourage you to view yourself as an autonomous being who can learn to greatly control the circumstances of your life. Yet this “be the captain of your own ship” mentality is only going to land you into trouble, for you are not the captain of anything. Your life is being run by your Creators, and nothing you do will be able to lessen your dependency on Them. So before you waste countless hours chanting some useless mantra about your internal greatness, and before you surrender yourself into the hands of some irreverent fool who can’t wait to toy with your subconscious, you need to seek the wisdom of the Ones who created you. You need to accept the fact that They created you for purposes that please Them, and until you choose to embrace those purposes, you are not going to thrive.

There’s just no way to circumvent the Authority of your Creators. A car was designed to drive, not swim in the ocean. If a car attempts to swim, it will sink down into the murky depths and become a rusted ruin. As a human, you were designed to serve, worship, and commune with your Creators. If you reject these goals and instead try to serve yourself or worship people or commune with demons, the Ones who control the quality of your existence are going to find many creative ways of sabotaging your efforts. When we refuse to submit to the priorities our Gods have chosen for us, it is an act of spiritual rebellion, and our Gods respond to such rebellion with discipline. This means that before you get embroiled in any kind of mental or spiritual health exercise, you need to give serious thought as to what goals are being promoted. Why are you seeing a therapist? Just so you can learn to stand up to your domineering father? If that’s your only goal, then you’re aiming at the wrong target. Yes, you do need to learn to draw boundaries with obnoxious humans in your life, but all self-improvement pursuits must be done within the context of seeking to please our Creators, and that means remembering that They created us for the purpose of serving, worshiping and communing with Them. So it’s not “I want to learn to stand up to my dad so I can take charge of my own life.” Instead, it needs to be, “I want to learn to stand up to my dad, because he’s not the one I should be submitting to in life: God is.” The problem is that you’re giving a human too much submission. You’re letting a human define your convictions and control your behavior. The solution is not to break free from all authority figures, but to learn how to transfer all of your submission to the right Ones. See the difference? When we leave God out of the discussion, our attempts to counsel each other end up seriously flawed.

If you want to thrive in life, you must be practicing submission to your Creators. This means that if the courts require that you attend some therapy group in which there is no mention of God, you need to be seeking His input within the privacy of your own soul while you sit there listening to the suggestions being made. Maybe the group leader wants to talk like a fool by pretending that we can pick any random “higher power” to submit to, but you need to realize that there are only three real Gods, and until you are intentionally submitting to these Gods, you’re not going to get where you need to be.

UNDERSTANDING THE MIND

So what about the mind? How should we be viewing mental health? Well, we have to start with the basics: you are not your body, you are the soul within the body. Your physical brain is the engine that runs your physical earthsuit. No one has a grasp of the human brain—it is the most complex and mysterious of all our bodily organs. But why is this? Well, our brains were constructed by Beings who are infinitely smarter than we are, so it’s no wonder that we find ourselves unable to grasp Their creations.

If you’re average at math and you look at a chalkboard covered in complex calculus computations, you’re going to feel utterly stumped. If another human’s conscious musings are too hard for you to comprehend, isn’t it rather ridiculous for you to expect to be able to fully grasp the complexities of the created world? Now this certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with science and exploration. In fact, God enjoys wowing us as we whip out the microscopes and scrutinize His work. But part of what we’re supposed to be learning is that we are no match for our Creators. As we marvel at biological processes that we are unable to duplicate in a lab, we should be experiencing an increase in our awe of God. But instead, we tend to just get cocky and insist that we can conquer the challenge, then we pat ourselves on the back when we do and totally discount the true Source of our newly acquired understanding. Again, there is nothing wrong with scientific research. But when we start with the outrageous claim that the existence of an intelligent Creator is a questionable theory at best, well, we can hardly expect our Gods to sit back and smile.

So what about the brain? Well, if we liken your brain to the engine of a car, and say that your soul is like the driver inside the car, it helps us put mental health in perspective. A smoothly running engine helps the driver inside the car feel less stressed. This is the value of treating mental disorders and trying to improve mental health: it helps create a less stressful environment for our souls. But while it’s convenient to have a smoothly running machine, the far more important goal is to mature the driver of the machine.

Spiritual maturity is a process which God works upon your soul. It’s rather like you nurturing a seedling into the tree that it was designed to be. The state your soul was in the moment you were born on this earth is not the state it is supposed to remain in for all time. God designed your soul to grow and mature. Just as a human baby physically evolves into a human adult without ever becoming non-human, your soul is designed to continuously evolve as well. It will never morph into something other than a soul, but it is supposed to undergo many radical changes in understanding, perspective, and response patterns. These changes enable you to experience an ever better quality of communion with your three Creators. And since the purpose of your existence is to relate to Them, spiritual maturity should be considered a top priority.

So how do you mature? Well, how does a plant grow? Is it just programmed to automatically respond to its environment, or is it being acted upon by God? God says that He is intimately involved in every aspect of His creation. This means that nothing is simply going through programmed motions. Certainly He hardwires certain responses and desires into all created things, but the act of living is far more complex than a creature simply responding to its internal impulses.

You began life with certain desires and impulses programmed into you. You’re selfish. You care immensely about physical comfort and pleasure. You detest the idea of doing what you don’t want to do. You want control. God set you up with an initial combination of desires and impulses, but He then takes an extremely active role in your life so that your attempts to act on any particular impulse can’t succeed without His help. Rather than just sit back and let you do whatever you want, God is constantly interrupting your plans and forcing you to make adjustments to your goals and activities. In no way do you live your life alone. Even when you are physically alone, your life is a group activity involving you and three Creators who consider the maturity of your soul to be far more important than a smoothly running earthsuit.

It is vital that we understand that our Creators view soul health as more important than earthsuit health, for then we can understand that when They sabotage our efforts to fix our earthsuits, it is because the trials that our suits are currently giving us have the potential to benefit our souls. Perhaps you’re trying to conquer that chronic depression. There’s nothing wrong with exploring options. But while we’re exploring, we need to not lose sight of who we are: we are not our earthsuits. Our earthsuits do not define us.

Maybe you’re bipolar. Maybe you’re weighed down with addictions. Maybe some of your addictions are taking the form of perverse sexual desires and they are creating havoc in your life and driving you to hurt others. How do we find hope when we’re bogged down with earthsuit malfunctions and depravities? We start by realizing that God does not define us by our suits. He sees us as the souls inside the suits. It is our souls that He loves, and it is our souls that are feeling tormented by suits that are running amuck. Panic attacks, phobias, addictions, lusts, handicaps, chronic pain—when our suits are giving us endless grief, we’re like a man who is trapped inside a car that is lurching and swerving all over a busy highway. It can be terribly upsetting to be stuck inside a malfunctioning suit that we cannot control. But here is where we need to remember that we are never alone in life. Our Creators are intimately involved in our lives, and They have absolute control over our earthsuits. They could miraculously zap you into a state of perfect health and mental tranquility at any moment.

Many Christians erroneously believe that a smoothly running earthsuit is evidence that God is pleased with them. But no, you cannot possibly discern God’s current view of you by simply assessing how well your suit is functioning. That’s like trying to determine how happy your friend is in her marriage by only looking at the outside of her car when she drives up. So what if there are dents in the fender? What does that have to do with the state of her marriage? Nothing. In the same way, your soul might be cruising around in an earthsuit that has a lot of problems right now. If you’re sick, does that mean God is punishing you? If you’re sexually perverse does that mean He hates you? Of course not. You are your soul, not your suit.

Souls are not sexual beings. Souls aren’t straight or gay. Souls don’t get low blood sugar or biochemical imbalances. Souls don’t battle with disease. Just because your earthsuit is a mess doesn’t mean your soul is a mess. It’s quite possible to be pleasing to God in the midst of an earthsuit that is running amuck. Just as the driver of a runaway car could be an immature brat or a very mature and God-fearing individual, so also souls who are stuck inside malfunctioning suits come in a wide range of maturity. The fact that someone is chronically depressed is not evidence that he is a spiritual slacker. The fact that someone can’t kick a bad habit or keep his temper reined in does not mean that he isn’t sincerely seeking God. When we judge ourselves and others solely on earthsuit function, we end up jumping to some very wrong conclusions.

MANIPULATING THE SUBCONSCIOUS

So given all of this, let’s talk about the value of meddling with your subconscious as a means of improving your quality of life. Is there value in doing this? Well, for starters, we need to understand why you have a subconscious in the first place. Why not just have a conscious? Why has God designed you to be totally ignorant and unaware of most of the things your brain is doing? At this very moment in time, your brain is extremely busy monitoring your circulatory, neural, and immune systems. Your brain is getting flooded with feedback from all over your body. Countless signals are flying up and down your spinal cord right now. You have a complex network of communication cables spread all throughout your body and messages are constantly flying back and forth through them, yet you’re totally oblivious. In the conscious part of your brain, you never hear yourself thinking things like, “Bacteria intruder detected in the left big toe! Dispatch the antibodies!” Why not? Because once again, your Creators have set major limitations on you. They’ve built this incredible machine for your soul to cruise around in, but then They prevent you from being aware of most of what that machine does.

No human comes close to having a comprehensive understanding of their own body. How bizarre is that? Here you have been living inside of this machine since the day you became aware of your own existence, yet you hardly understand a thing about it. And even when you try to understand, you find the whole subject overwhelmingly complicated before you even get very deep into it. We humans dedicate whole fields of medicine to studying one teensy little portion of the body. We have doctors who specialize in feet and doctors who specialize in eyes. Yet even when a doctor decides to hyper focus on a single organ, he still ends up with more questions than answers. And while our Creators are intentionally withholding understanding from us, They’re also withholding awareness from us.

Your soul does not run your earthsuit. Your brain does. Your brain is the engine of the machine, and your brain is the one dealing with problems like thirst, illness, and fatigue. The conscious part of your brain is like the screen on your cell phone. You tap an icon on the screen, and a card game opens up which you can then start to play. You don’t understand all of the hidden processes that occurred in your device to make your physical tap of one part of the screen cause the game to open. You don’t appreciate all of the programming that went into making your card game work. If the folks who originally wrote the game you are now playing were to begin to explain all of the technical aspects of their work, you’d find it tedious and uninteresting. You don’t want to spend a bunch of energy understanding how something works, you just want it to work.

Think about how many things you do in a day that you take for granted. You flip a switch and a light turns on. You sit down in a chair and the molecules support your weight instead of letting you drop to the ground. You take in a breath of air and oxygen is circulated throughout your body. Imagine if you couldn’t do any of these things without first having to listen to a detailed explanation of the processes involved. Talk about system overload. You might enjoy studying what makes a car run, but if your interests are mechanical, you’re probably not so curious about how particles of light refract to make objects appear to be different colors. Or maybe you are fascinated by electrical engineering and you like discussing circuitry and cables. Fine, but you’re probably not also interested in the chemistry of cooking and the many factors that cause a coral reef tank to stay healthy. You see, we are all such limited creatures. We have each been designed with a limited number of interests and a very limited ability to retain information. Get forced to sit through a five hour lecture on quantum mechanics and that lethargic, depressed, tired feeling that comes over you is the result of mental fatigue. Unlike our Creators, we humans do not have the capacity to handle being aware of too many things at once. We have extremely limited attention spans. We have very limited concentration.

Scoop a spoonful of water out of a whole bucket of water and the amount of water in that spoon represents the amount of activity happening in your conscious brain. Look at how much water is left in the rest of the bucket and that’s your subconscious. It’s quite true that your subconscious is much more vast than your conscious, but the fact that you’re unaware of most of what your brain is doing is a statement about how limited and fragile you are. This assumption that supernatural powers are lurking within our subconscious minds is utterly absurd. Is the liquid in your spoon different than the liquid in the rest of the bucket? No, it’s all just water. In the same way, there’s nothing super different about the contents of your subconscious versus your conscious: it’s all just cognitive processes that center around earthsuit management. You’ve got conscious memories and unconscious memories. You’ve got skills you have to think about and skills that are automatic. You’ve got earthsuit needs that you consciously address—like when you realize you’re thirsty and you get up to get some water. But then you’ve got earthsuit needs that you subconsciously address—like repairing cuts on your skin and fighting off bacteria. You don’t consciously give yourself a fever—your subconscious does that as a means of immune defense. You don’t consciously break down the food you ate for lunch—your subconscious handles that. The point is this: digging around in your subconscious isn’t going to unearth skills which will help you evolve into something better than human. Instead, messing with the subconscious is a good way to traumatize yourself by overloading your conscious mind with too much information at once.

Remember: you’re delicate. You’re limited. When you go through some kind of trauma and your brain buries the memory, it’s because it feels that consciously dealing with that memory right now will put too much stress on the whole system. The human mind is an extremely logical thing: it is constantly shuffling things back and forth between the conscious and the unconscious as a means of maintaining order. But as extraordinary as the mind is, it is still only the engine of an earthsuit, and earthsuits are only temporary machines. Your soul is the component that matters. Your soul is the real you, and your soul is the element that you want to focus on maturing.

PURSUING THE RIGHT PRIORITIES

Now in cases of mental distress, can therapy be helpful? Sure. And when the brain is feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, there are times when psychiatric drugs can be very helpful in reducing strain on your earthsuit. The happier your earthsuit is, the less stressed your soul is, so there’s a very strong attraction to obsessing over mental health. But because we’re not autonomous beings, our efforts to fix ourselves aren’t going to work unless our Creators help us out. Since our Creators view earthsuit stresses as a very useful way of motivating us to pursue Their priorities for us, stress free living just isn’t on Their menu for us.

We’re going to have stress in life. Sometimes we’ll have quite a bit of it, sometimes we won’t have much. If we want our stress to benefit us, then the day must come when we acknowledge that our Creators designed us for the purpose of serving, worshiping, and communing with Them. We then need to choose to embrace those purposes ourselves. This is what it means to submit to our Gods: it means yielding to Their will for our lives. When this is our internal attitude, then our souls will be making fabulous progress regardless of what our earthsuits are doing.

Growing closer to Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Pleasing Them. Improving our treatment of Them. Learning more about who They are and what They want. These are the goals that matter in life. These are the goals that need to be driving our efforts to improve our quality of life. If you’re meditating, what is the focus of that meditation? Are you just quoting a bunch of ego pleasing mantras about what a limitless, autonomous, amazing being you are? This will get you nowhere. If you’re going to meditate, it needs to be with a focus on your Creators: seeking Their wisdom, desiring to be changed by Them in ways that will make you more pleasing to Them.

If you’re seeing a professional counselor, what are your goals? It can’t just be about fixing yourself or improving the way that you relate to other people. You weren’t created for the purpose of pleasing yourself and other created beings. You were created to please your Gods, and it’s only when you align with Their purposes for you that you’ll get the most benefit out of any self-improvement measure.

Why do you exercise? To maintain good physical health? That’s all fine and well, but what about your spiritual goals? If your life has become focused on keeping your cholesterol down and your weight under control, then you’ve lost sight of what really matters. Yes, we do have to spend energy on earthsuit maintenance in these lives. Some of us have to spend a lot more energy on it than others due to the types of problems that we’ve been saddled with. But no matter what your situation is, you are still a human being and all humans were designed for the purpose of pursuing a personal relationship with the Ones who created them. So think about the self-improvement endeavors you’re currently involved with or thinking about getting involved with. How will those things help you pursue the goals your Creators have chosen for you? If you can’t come up with an answer, then you need to find a better use of your time and resources.

FURTHER READING:
Dealing with Trauma: Protecting Yourself from Bad Counselors
The Purpose of Dysfunction: Understanding Why God Messed You Up
Can mental illness hinder your relationship with God?
Soul Before Earthsuit: Understanding God’s Priorities
The Mechanics of Spiritual Growth: Four Essential Attitudes

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