Approval Seeking

I remember my mother talking about a group that was gaining popularity in her time called the Red Hat Society. Basically, she described how these older women would gather wearing red hats and purple dresses. This tacky choice of fashion colors had a purpose, and that was to proclaim freedom from the cultural confinements andredhat
expectations of their youth. I vividly recall myself as a young woman coming upon a restaurant table filled with just such ladies. They were, of course all in red hats—and the stark contrast of their purple dresses only magnified their fearless pursuit of independence. I couldn’t help marvel at how they were bubbling over with laughter and delight. Although their happiness struck me, I cringed at how silly they looked and couldn’t imagine ever doing such a thing. Now, thinking back I can’t help but admire the sense of freedom they openly expressed and the idea of what it stood for.

Life-long pursuit of approval
Seeking approval is the natural default of being human — we are born this way. Depending on circumstances, a child can feel compelled to please or seek approval to varying degrees. Anyone who has this struggle can typically remember the conditions that made him feel the need to perform to meet perceived expectations. Perhaps it was a parent who was uninterested or maybe a sibling who excelled and found favor. Sometimes there are multiple influences even outside the family that cultivate the compulsion of people pleasing. Whatever the reason, there is one common theme that connects them all — fear of disapproval.

As we venture from adolescence to the grown-up world, we feel the pressure to perform ramped up to an even higher degree. We enter a new era of disapproving eyes from people who come from their own dysfunctional backgrounds of approval seeking. It becomes hard work to avoid any negative opinions, and the more we try the more anxious and unsettled we feel. A.W. Tozer put it this way: “The heart’s fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield its touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let it rest.”

Jesus on approval seeking
Jesus describes the propensity of human disapproval in Matthew 11:18: “For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners” (NLT).

His words give us great insight into the general tendency people have to see things negatively, if not completely erroneously. As Christians we are set free from all that is associated with the error of man’s judgments. Jesus gave His life in exchange for our sins so that we may be justified, but its up to us the extent that we embrace the fullness of this freedom while on earth. You may be sensing the inclination to do so to a greater degree. 

Does that mean we will finally earn the approval of people by this divine substitution? On the contrary, people will still let us down. In addition, those who are disappointed in Jesus will be disappointed in us. If they hate Jesus, they will hate us. Jesus confirms the unreasonable nature of mankind in John 15:25: “They hated me without cause” (NLT).

No end except in Christ
The good news is that as we mature in age many of us become aware that the fickleness of human approval never ends. As a result we find our people-pleasing tendencies begin to decrease. The golden carrot of validation we’ve been chasing all these years starts to lose its appeal. With the help of the Lord, we begin to cultivate a healthy disregard for the criticisms that once kept us tied up in knots. Could it possibly be time to buy a red hat?

Yet, we must be cautious of another tricky slope for those of us who have always sought approval. If pleasing others has been our way, then a subtle projection of this endeavor onto God Himself is often the natural progression. We may slip automatically into the mindset of seeking the approval of God; always doubting that we are good enough for Him; always working and trying harder to please Him in the flesh. But God never intended this kind of bondage for us either.

Our minds may need to understand in a greater way that God has provided not only rescue for our people-pleasing dilemma, but for our God-pleasing, performance-based patterns as well. Grasping the latter is what brings ultimate rescue to both. Do we fully realize that God’s love is not contingent on our efforts and deeds? He does not regard the disapproval of others or our own failed expectations. When God looks at us, He sees us wrapped in Christ’s perfect robe of righteousness. We are approved based on what He has done on our behalf—each one of us clothed in a garment of His own royal reputation. People pleasing, approval seeking and earning favor with God have no authority or influence in the spiritual realm. We are in a truer sense partakers of a heavenly group that celebrates freedom from performance-based expectations—not a red hat society, but a purple robed society—“a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) bubbling over with God’s approval and acceptance and filled with immeasurable grace. Oh, what rest for the wearied approval-seeking soul!

Understanding Neediness

        Neediness is defined in the dictionary as wanting or desiring affection, attention, or reassurance to an excessive degree. A person can identify whether they struggle with neediness by evaluating if the quality of their existence depends on these feelings being constantly affirmed. In other words, they will have a tendency to feel very unsettled if any one of the three feelings (affection, attention, or reassurance) are not continuously validated. When these feelings are supported they feel secure–but only for the moment. As time elapses, they once again, feel an overwhelming desire to have these needs met.

       Also, a person who struggles with neediness will notice that the people around themsigns-of-a-needy-woman-scaled
begin to pull away as they attempt to meet these expectations, but soon find the need too all-consuming. The pattern of relationships that crumble due to this struggle is recognizable. However, the needy person often internalizes it as rejection, which compounds their need for further affirmation. Many times this can provoke the other party to become hostile. It is not unusual for abusive relationships to form or become a theme in the life of a needy person. Neediness never rests, and it often leaves a person with feelings of emptiness and desperation.

       There are many reasons that this “black hole” may set up shop in the heart of a person. It could be anything from disposition, compulsion, inclination to emotional deprivation. If a person has been deprived of nurturing or given indulgent nurturing, the result may be the same: an excessive sense of need. There are also emotional components that can play a part in this struggle including insecurity, depression, and anxiety

       If you are a person who struggles with neediness and wish to be freed from its grip there is hope! Coming face to face with its hold is a good start. You are not called to let go–only to fall into that much-feared pit of emptiness that has propelled your struggle in the first place. You are called to rest in the ever-loving arms of, Jesus, who wants to mold and shape your security in Him. The human heart naturally longs and desires for validation. Scripture gives us guidelines, boundaries, and measures for this to occur in a spiritually healthy way. To discover who you are in Christ as a person is an exciting and rewarding adventure. Join us in strenghtening our awareness of neediness’s self-sabotaging nature and God’s loving rescue. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

74153141_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7757254

Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live. 

Understanding Loneliness

       Loneliness is often described as a sadness resulting from isolation or lack of companionship. Yet, isn’t it interesting that many people feel lonely even when they are not alone? That’s because the feeling of isolation often comes from something other than the absence of people.

       Although loneliness can be brought on by lack of community, more often, lonelinessLonely is a state of mind. Loneliness occurs when a person feels there is no one in their life who is truly like minded and with whom they are able to connect. This is the deeper issue of the heart for a lonely person. 

       Because true heart connections can remain so elusive, even when surrounded by community, lonely people often seek to fill this void with vain comforts. Sadly, these vain comforts often leave the heart feeling twice as empty and twice as isolated. 

       These temporary comforts can be anything from TV, social media binging, workaholism, and over eating eating to more harmful behaviors such as drug and alcohol use or unhealthy physical encounters. This is the nature of the human spirit: When there is a demand (the gap of loneliness) we seek to supply it–often with a substitute companionship that offers temporary comfort.

       The human heart, as Scripture tells us, can easily deceive itself. In the Christian community, we must be careful because in a very similar way we are often compelled to satisfy this loneliness with pious activities. We come and go in moral efforts and never really make true connections that include openness and transparency. Filling our plates with religious services will not reach the recesses of loneliness. Even though some of these things are good–pursuit of these things will often propel us even further into discouragement and isolation if we haven’t dealt first with the root cause of loneliness. 

       Seeing the lonely state of the heart as a blessing in disguise can help. Loneliness may be the divine opportunity God allows to draw us into a deeper level with Himself (and other people). Christ is the only fountain that can fill our lonely and thirsty souls in a way that doesn’t keep it aching and unfulfilled. But how does this work? Join us as we explore the emotion of loneliness and how God can use it in our lives in productive and healing ways. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

74153141_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7757254Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live. 

Understanding Inferiority

Inferiority, feeling that one is of a lower degree, rank, value, or merit than others. Many people struggle with this crippling emotion which can manifest itself in a myriad of ways. One way is in the inability to speak up because the person struggling with inferiority feels that their input is not valuable enough to voice. They may also downplay special occasions in their life thinking that a celebration would not be of interest to anybody else. They often worry that they are an inconvenience to people, therefore they are quick to put themselves last or take themselves out of the equation all together. They frequently puts themselves down before others have opportunity. They live life feeling undeserving because they sincerely believes they are inferior.

Inferiority hinders their judgment and they are unable to make sound choices FeelingInferior-because their foundation is faulty. A simplified example would go something like this: If a person’s shoe size is 6, but they feel certain their feet are a size 8, they will struggle with walking in larger shoes that flop on and off their feet. Their foundation is faulty.

Inferiority can affect many choices a person makes throughout their life. The people they chooses to date may be bad for them. The job they takes might be in an unhealthy environment. The friends they choose might have a negative influences in their life. The person struggling with inferiority will think (based on their faulty foundation) that these decisions are right, only to have them proven wrong or unwise.

Inferiority also has a powerful influence on the people around them. Unfortunately, most people will treat them according to their manifestations of inferiority simply because we live in a superficial world that responds to the power of suggestion. For instance, if the person is intelligent yet feels stupid, they may project the latter, and others will treat them the way they feel.

The truth is that none of their feelings have any basis in spiritual reality. Yet, they are still bound by them until the value they place on the world’s opinion becomes less. The only hope for their struggle is to become intimately acquainted with God’s value system–and then learn to embrace it–regardless of how they feel.

Intimacy with Christ is the key to healing. Christian’s who struggle with inferiority may have head knowledge of how much God values people, but never believe it is true of them.

​       If you are a person who struggles with inferiority we invite you to join us as we work together in reshaping and reprogramming the value Christ places on us. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

74153141_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7757254Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. It is our inheritance, even now! Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live. 

Understanding Feelings Of Inadequacy

Inadequacy is defined as being insufficient or incapable. It is the opposite of sufficiency or capability. A person who struggles with feelings of inadequacy thinks they are insufficient in specific areas of their life. They may hold these types of feelings in the heart regardless of their validity–to them it is a reality.

A person who struggles with inadequacy often plunges into feelings of humiliation or1935051 shame. They have fears of being found out–that their inadequacies might be discovered by others. Try as they may to escape these feelings, they continue to be plagued by them, and as a result they may become either withdrawn or very needy. Either way, their concern is that what they have will be taken away and given to someone more capable. Feeling threatened is a key characteristic of inadequacy.

Many times a person who struggles with inadequacy will try and build a facade of capability, but on the inside they feel like a impostor who needs to keep up appearances. Unhealthy emotions are flourishing insider their heart. These include feelings of inferiorityinsecurity, and anxiety.

Because there is such a deep void in the heart of the person who deals with this inner turmoil, they may have the tendency to seek inordinate reassurance to ease desperate feelings associated with this struggle. One thing is for certain, they recognize their battle and want to be different, but even in this realization they feel too inadequate to prevail.

Is there hope for this area of struggle? It is natural for the heart to want to protect itself or be on guard when it feels inadequate? A.W. Tozer says of the heart: “The heart’s fierce effort to protect itself from every slight, to shield it’s touchy honor from the bad opinion of friend and enemy, will never let it rest.”

To God be the glory that all things can be made new, even this condition of the heart! Similar to the recovery process of inferiority, people who struggles with feelings of inadequacy must have a complete overhaul in their mind with the Holy Spirit’s help. It is entirely possible for a person with this struggle to embrace God’s estimation of themselves and be at peace. As they prayerfully embark on discovering the value that God places in them specifically, and embraces these truths as reality, they will find the blessed rest they have been longing for.

74153141_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7757254Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live.

 

Understanding Discouragement

To be discouraged is to be disheartened. The dictionary describes discouragement as being deprived of courage, hope, or confidence. It may be caused by many variables and show up in multiple forms including disapproval, rejection, and intimidation. It may come by outside forces pressing in, or be the result of an inward turmoil of perception and feelings.

A common characteristic of a person struggling with discouragement is the feeling of not being unable to move forward. For instance, if the person works diligently on a project and their efforts go unrecognized or are criticized they might feel a lack of energy or motivation to continue on. When this takes place, the person’s expectations become disappointed, and their motivation becomes deflated. If this happens repeatedly, they may experience a sense of failure. This can apply to any arena in life.

What most people don’t realize is that discouragement is one of the biggest 389288628_e46271e96b_ostrategies Satan uses to immobilize a Christian’s contribution in life. It is his way of not only stealing what could be their best efforts in present times, but ultimately their future as well. Hence, a person who struggles with discouragement often settles for less because doubting and nagging feelings plague them and they wonder–what’s the use?

One of the major downfalls of this struggle is that a person is kept from reaching their full potential. Life, and the opportunities it brings, can subsequently pass them by. If you recognize some of these traits in your own life–please join us in gaining better understanding of why discouragement takes hold and how we can overcome. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

74153141_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7757254Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live. 

Feeling Second Best

       If you struggle with feeling second best, pinpointing life-events that Favoritismshaped this perception come easy. Maybe, you felt the least growing up in your family, or the last to be considered in social events. Perhaps you were always second choice in relationships, or passed-over for a job promotion–whatever the situation, coming in second (especially multiple experiences) can leave an impression on the heart that lasts a life time.
       People deal with the effects of being bypassed (or discounted) differently. One person might be inclined to fold on an opportunity too soon because they don’t want to deal with losing to someone else. Another person might be inclined to aggressively pursue an opportunity in efforts to come in first place. Either way the motives are stemming from the same place; that nagging fear of not quite measuring up.

       What can be done for the dilemma of feeling second best? Firstly, it is good to be aware that the “emptiness” felt in this struggle is normal. However, trying to fill that space with the wrong kind of reassurance leads to an even greater void. This is why it is important to recognize that the deep sensation of emptiness is not a reflection on you or your value. It has nothing to do with the real you, only the perceived you in someone elses faulty perception. Which brings us to our second point, more often than not, it is not you, but something off in the heart of the favorer. 

       A favorer is easy to recognize. They tend to favor superficial things or people for superficial reasons. You may have all the necessary qualifications and still be overlooked simply out of shallow preference. It is good to remember that the word superficial has the meaning of lacking depth. Therefore, not only is the recipient being favored for a reason that lacks substance, but the favorer themselves are lacking in depth of an important character, “But if you show favoritism, you sin…” (James 2:9). Remember, someone else being favored over you never takes away your true value, but is generally an indication that the favorer needs a heart adjustment. We have all been here at some point “favoring.” Our “feeling second best” can serve as a reminder to resist the favoring of others for superficial reasons.

       Consider David the shepherd boy in the Bible. Even the prophet Samuel (a man of God) erroneously miscalculated his value, favoring the impressive. When God called Samuel to anoint His choice for a new king from among Jesse’s sons, David was not first, second, or third …but eighth choice in Samuel’s estimation. My goodness! talk about not measuring up!

       Do you remember what God said to Samuel regarding this error of judgement?

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7)

       The Scripture is replete with similar scenarios. Consider for yourself the great men and women used of God. Were they not second choice in the world’s eyes? What about Gideon? How about Joseph? Think about Esther, and don’t forget the impoverished Mary. And the list goes on.

       Based on God’s Word we can confidently assert that not measuring up by the world’s standards is never a deterrent. In God’s economy it is rather a catalyst for great things. Extraordinary adventures await those who are overlooked in this this world!

“…But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

(1 Cor 1:26-29)

74153141_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7757254Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live.

Anxiety Defined

Anxiety is define as a painful uneasiness of the mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. It produces an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension, often marked by sweating, tension, and an increased pulse. Frequently, self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with certain situations prompts anxiety.

This type of apprehension can stem from childhood traumas and fears, even if a person does not remember the individual circumstances or instances. It still plagues their present-day life with overwhelming waves of anxiety. _89876529_m2451312-depressed_woman-spl

People who struggle with anxiety feel limited and bound by this emotional state. Many times a person who is in the middle of an anxious episode becomes immobilized. This can cause social, relational, and occupational challenges which may compel a person to live within limitations to avoid pain and uneasiness.

A very restricted life often feels like the only option for the person with this struggle. Although, they desire and dream of it being otherwise, they are quickly brought back to reality by impending concern. It is a continuous and weary cycle. 

The realization that person cannot overcome this trial on their own is correct. Self-help techniques offer no lasting remedy. Whatever the source of the original trouble, the problem can always be traced back to one root issue: the frailty of the human spirit. 

What feeble people we are! Sadly, many do not realize it. But the one who struggles with anxiety knows it with all certainty–and this is a wonderful posture of the heart to start the healing process. The truth is that we are but dust. Our very next breath for survival comes only by God’s constant provision. It is God who upholds the weak–something we are by design. 

Do not long for worldly confidence. Those who are filled with self-assurance are headed for great disillusionment. Anxiety’s presence simply means we realize the feebleness of our human state. This posture of the heart and mind can be the humble beginning of great change that can be discovered only through the strength of the Holy Spirit. God is pleased to show Himself strong on behalf of the weak in this world. 

The Scriptures teach that … “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong …”(1 Corinthians 1:27). 

If you are someone who struggles with anxiety, there is help, hope, and divine strengthening to be had. Join us in understanding better how the emotion of anxiety effects our lives and how we can overcome. Faith-Based-Emotional-Sobriety

74153141_Kindle Ready Front Cover JPEG_7757254Joy and peace come from learning to walk in the design God has for our thinking. Every day we battle with old thought patterns and emotions that hold us captive. Blue Skies: Beyond The Dark Clouds Of Broken Thinking leads us step by step; taking us deep into truths that set us free to live into a new narrative, one of confidence and purpose—the story we were meant to live. 

When We Think We Have Nothing To Offer

When the bible talks about the parable of the talents we might initially think it’s referring to “performance”. Although the mind naturally gravitates towards manifestations of achievement, the bible is not speaking in these terms when giving instructions on how to live or give. Being good steward of our talents is not an increase of works, but increase of our conscious connection to God, and the choices that flow from that connection in everyday life. A perfect God working through imperfect people through grace–if not for grace we could not even have this mental and spiritual acumen at all.

For example in the story of Rahab…her actions by our standards of Christian morality would seem tainted at the very least. In her lauded works of faith we find great Rahabmoral discrepancy. She was first off a prostitute, not a typical vessel one might see carrying out divine plans of faith. Secondly, while performing this holy endeavor she blatantly lies and deceives when confronted. Where is the moral fiber in this story? Wouldn’t we say of Rahab that she came up short in deposit of talents in the spiritual bank?

Indeed not. Rahab pictures perfectly for us the stewardship of conscious connection to God. What we see pouring out of her life is faith-works wrought through grace. The grace God had given her opening her mind to His reality. It was a work done inside her heart. Knowing very little about theology of the Hebrew God–she simply believed. That belief in turn spurred in her actions moved by her conscious connection to the Living God. Faith! A sure conviction that He was, indeed, true.

Interesting that God would use such an rough, uncouth, and imperfect person in bringing about the rescue of his people–redeeming her own soul at the very same time.

This is not a random story that happened to make it into the bible–but the way God is pleased to work. He chooses the broken and least of the world, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are.” (1 Cor 1:27-29). True acts of faith showcase God, not us. A talent that puts us on stage can’t multiply. Sure, Rahab may have turned over a new moral leaf in life after these historical events took place. But those are not the things listed of her in the hall of faith recorded Hebrews 11. God did not give Rahab the idea that she had to get her act together in order to be used mightily of Him. It was all a part of His grace reaching down and opening up her heart to Him. Seeds of grace God planted in Rehab’s that sprung forth and multiplied… Dare I even say that we are even a direct product of this faith-work.

Absolutely! This is our spiritual lineage–she is one of the matriarchs listed in the geology of Christ. So the next time you feel like you aren’t good enough, a failure, or any other critical judgment that comes from the world…Think of Rahab. Or, if we should think of ourselves more highly than we ought, polished with all the right Christian trimmings…let us again think of our dear mother Rehab. It’s only when God through the work of Jesus begins to reveal to our heart His complete love and acceptance of us that our faith becomes activated–and instantly we become a good steward of a sure and certain truth that we can take to the spiritual bank.

Two Sides To Every Story

It was during a bible study in the book of Daniel I became struck with the stark reality—there are always two sides to every story. This realization flooded my mind as I read about two dreams; King Nebuchadnezzar’s and Daniel’s both of the same event. The dreams were prophesy about kingdoms that would rise and fall. However, the kingdom’s leader looked different in each dream. One dream described the leader as a head of gold (King Two Sides To Every StoryNebuchadnezzar’s dream) and in the other (Daniel’s dream) a vicious lion. They were dreaming the the same dream, but with very different descriptions of a main character. But why? Keep in mind both dreams were initiated by God.

The American Commentary offers a plausible explanation, “The image with its glittering metals portrays the world’s kingdoms from humanity’s viewpoint—impressive and great, whereas the beasts depict these earthly kingdoms from God’s perspective—vicious and destructive.” What a great reminder that God is keenly aware of both views—our earthly perspectives, what we see with our physical senses, as well as, the higher truer view which we discern with our spiritual sense by God’s revelation.

He uses both to unfold the marvels of life’s mysteries. In other words, there are always two perspectives occurring at the same time of the same event. An example of this might be a trial that is happening in your life. Let’s say a person you love has betrayed you. This makes you hurt/angry at the person from a temporal perspective. From a higher perspective Gods sees that Satan’s influence is behind it. You see and feel the wounds from a flesh and blood loved-one, but God sees the satanic influence that has generated it in the first place. You have valued your loved one like gold so it’s painful. That’s a valid perspective. But, the truth is a vicious lion has made his way into the story. You aren’t battling your loved one but an opposing force bent on causing a division.

So, let’s consider this question… in the two dreams in the book of Daniel was the character a head of gold or a vicious lion? It was both. But the second was a truer reality of the first from a higher perspective. In our humanness we will often get stuck on only the human side of a view because that’s what we see. But remember—there is always a simultaneous event occurring, an unseen reality that warrants our consideration. And when we contemplate both views it changes our perspective. Drawing from a higher eternal perspective helps us in our ability to deal with the personal pain of a trial. God’s view is always a more trustworthy perspective.

Yes, we still hurt because someone we valued as gold has let us down, but we realize we are not really fighting the person to the degree we thought, but the influence driving them. Ephesians describes it this way “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12