Risky Journey Ch 6: Take Off Your Grave Clothes

In 2006 I was involved in a car accident that resulted in a head injury which kept me from being able to work for a full year. There were some lasting effects in areas making it impossible to continue my career as a commercial real estate appraiser. Adjusting to the limitations that came from the accident and looking for a new career at age 50, I found my outlook and attitude slipping down a slippery slope.

tail tucked between my legs

The first five chapters of Risky Journey detail the events of my life since accepting Jesus Christ as my savior. There were many growing pains with much financial and emotional loss during this time. I had reached the dreaded decision (after exhausting all other options) to return to my hometown with my tail tucked between my legs to live with my mom at age 56.

The first year upon my return to Indiana, I had work remaining from Florida that occupied my time and I was able to work from home until those responsibilities were finalized. Even working independently at my mom’s house was very painful for me. Virtually everything irritated me, distracted me and simply reduced me to tears and depression. I had been newly diagnosed with a number of clinical dysfunctions. After several months of clashes with my mom over our personality differences, I ran away to Kansas to live in the middle of nowhere with the cows and the man I thought was the answer to prayers. When it all crashed and burned a short time later, I returned to my mom’s in dismal depression. My mom and sister vowed to help me get “fixed” and it was time to find a real job, work outside the home, get my feet on the ground and get back on my own.

neurologists and neurophychologists

My sister works in western medicine. She referred me to any number of neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists and more. All of them wanted to schedule me for testing. I personally delivered a 5-inch thick ream of paper representing every medical test I had taken following the accident. I had the mother lode of tests but what I was seeking was a solution. Not one of the top western medical doctors I was referred to could propose any solution to the issues detailed in ten pounds of reports which detailed my condition. No surprise there.

Christian health organization

The person I credit with leading me to a personal relationship with Christ is a my trusted friend, Jim Robertson from the King Institute in Sebring, FL where I used to live. I collected all my medical testing and analysis and I asked him to review and analyze my symptoms and dysfunctions and recommend the type of natural energy sequences I could do to get my brain function back. The natural approach to health developed by Dr. King at the King Institute was responsible in part for the end of the 30 years of Fibromyalgia pain. I figured if the physical ailments could be corrected with these sequences, so could the mental ailments.

chasing a cure for most of my life

I was dumbfounded when Jim sent me seven pages of analysis. He said he found the reports very revealing and it was obvious I had been chasing a cure for most of my life. There was not the first King Institute sequence to follow. He told me I needed to take off the grave clothes. I read all seven pages and did not understand a word. I had always trusted Jim to help me to see the light, but this time he was off in left field…so I thought.

dysfunctional belief system

He provided a lengthy analysis from an emotional perspective. He believed all my issues originated from the same source. They were different manifestations of the same dysfunctional belief system relating to my beliefs about myself, my expectations of others and my circumstances. He said the recurring theme is “I am not worthy, I probably don’t even deserve to exist, I am not good enough, I can’t count on others because they don’t know what they are talking about or they don’t do what they are supposed to and my situation is hopeless because I can conceive of no circumstance which will allow me to be worthy and in which I can count on others.”

clinically labeled as a dysfunction

And while I had been diagnosed clinically with “obsessive compulsive personality disorder, with a Sensory Processing Disorder and some Agoraphobia” plus the evil twins of depression and anxiety, he cautions these psychological and medical diagnoses tend to create a label. I am depressed, I am an obsessive compulsive personality … these are tremendously powerful “I am” statements. When Moses met God on the mountain and asked “who shall I say sent me?” God responded by saying tell them “I AM” sent you. Jesus said I am the light, I am the way, I am the good shepherd.” When you say the words “I am” what ever comes next defines who and what you are. There is NO escaping that outcome.

He encouraged me to redefine myself in terms of the truth of who I am in Christ.

What I believed when I started went something like this:

1. I am not good enough because I am not perfect.

2. I am unable to please others and they seldom please me.

3. I am strong because I don’t show my feelings.

4. I am trying as hard as I can but I just never seem to make it.

5. I am behind in life so I better hurry up.

a child of God

What I think about now is:

1. I am a child of God imperfect in my human-ness but made whole and perfect as I allow Him to live through me which pleases Him who made me. I was not created to please my mother or anyone else but to please God through my obedience to Him.

messengers of bondage

Jim went on to say to be truly free to a life more abundant, you have to take off the grave clothes that are holding you in bondage. Of all the bondage, all the messengers from Satan, the five driving force messages that applied to me are:

1. Be perfect

2. Try hard

3. Please me

4. Hurry Up

5. Be strong

Our reactions to these driver messages will provoke emotional responses that may or may not be revealed. For example, if being expected to “Be Perfect” causes us to feel anger then what we do with the anger will determine how our body reacts. If we express the anger but the people around us do not want to acknowledge us and our anger then we might be punished which leads us to repress the feelings of anger in the future. If we do allow ourselves to feel the anger then we might feel guilty in addition because we have been led to believe that it is not OK to show anger. If we are under the influence of a “Please Me” driver message than we will also “Try Hard” to be perfect in order to please those we want to recognize us. The “Hurry Up” driver will lead us to spend a lot of time in the future missing the present and being anxious. The “Be Strong” driver is responsible for repressing feelings . These are messages that drive our behavior and serve as the standard from which we judge ourselves, others and our circumstances.

A great deal of work has been done in studying the relationship between beliefs, emotions and illnesses. There are a number of books that have been published by people of authority in both the medical and mental health fields. In fact there is a whole new field of study that has been identified called psychoneuroimmunology. There are many diseases that are being linked to emotional stress such as MS, Parkinson’s, arthritis, back pain and more.

2009-04-12-150x112grave clothes

take off your grave clothes

He went on to say “There is no supplement that will cure you. There is no medicine that will cure you. Only a change of mind and heart will free you from the bondage of the labels that you list in all of your writings. I believe the first step to unwrapping the grave clothes is to recognize that you still have them on. The second is to seek forgiveness for the harm you have done to yourself holding on to them. The third is to forgive all those who have failed you recognizing that they were never able to give you what you were not giving yourself.”

Whoa that is some very powerful admonishment. Bewildered, I sought out a Christian counselor. She listened to my thoughts on things and informed me that my thinking was what was dysfunctional. I had a distorted way of thinking about things. She taught me how to identify when I was doing this and then learn about what God would say on the matter. She said she would look for a list of scriptural references to counteract my distorted thoughts. I told her I wanted to create the list myself.

once I was blind, but now I see

And so began my love of God’s word and my total and complete transformation. As I re-read Jim’s letter, from three years ago, I now understand every word. The greatest summation of the entire transformation is “once I was blind, but now I see.”

Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan connecting people and the stories they tell.

Once I was blind but now I can see.  

The world is waiting.