The Parable of the Sower Part II/Dealing with a Root of Rejection and Perfectionism

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Matthew 13:20-21 “As for what was sown on the thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble (he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him whom he ought to trust and obey) and he falls away.” (The Amplified Bible).

The thin rocky soil, like the fallow ground is ground which has not been plowed (to remove obstacles) or properly prepared to receive the seed of God’s word.  I believe these rocks can represent hard places in a person’s heart or issues that have not been dealt with like roots of rejection, pain, anger, rebellion, unforgiveness, etc. that may have been caused by abuse, neglect, loss, wrong perceptions or thinking patterns, etc. If these issues are not dealt with, it makes it difficult for a person to have  solid relationship with God or anyone else.

We are all part of a fallen race, there are no perfect people (including me). We all are born with a sinful nature and consequently, there are no perfect people or parents, except the Lord. We all  have baggage or dysfunction to one degree or another, but I have found that the longer I walk with Christ and renew my mind with his word, the more whole I become. The Greek word (which the new testament was written in) for salvation means: to be saved, healed, delivered, made whole, total soundness of being. It covers every area of our being; body, soul (our mind, will and emotions) and spirit (conscience and intuition), but it is a gradual process.

When we invite Jesus to come into our heart, our spirit man gets renewed, but we still have a natural, carnal mind that also needs to be renewed. Romans 12:2 says … “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV).

I shared previously about how I got saved at 14 years of age and then went through a time of depression after graduating high school, which resulted in me burying my head in the Bible and brought about a tremendous amount of growth and change in my life, prior to the time I met my husband. I felt great about my relationship with the Lord as long as I was spending a lot of time in the word, prayer and fasting, etc.

After I married my husband, I continued to work full time, but now I also had the full responsibilities of the home and a husband to spend time with, consequently I didn’t spend as much time reading the Bible and praying as I had previously. I began to get bombarded with spiritual warfare in my sleep. A demonic presence would hover over me and I would be paralyzed. I would try to say the name of Jesus, but had a hard time speaking it. Once I could get it out, I would wake up, but often when I fell back to sleep, it would start again. I got up and started pleading the blood of Jesus against the enemy and rebuking him. I would get temporary relief, but still the battles went on and I had other types of demonic dreams as well. Every time I would seek the Lord about what was going on, it seemed I would open my Bible to a scripture about not despising the discipline of the Lord. Through study, I learned that the word discipline also means to train or to teach, not necessarily to punish. The Lord was putting me through a “spiritual warfare boot-camp”, so to speak. Over time I grew in discernment and understanding of how to do spiritual warfare (I didn’t have any books to read on the subject, except the Bible at the time). I will share more about this subject later.  This season of my life lasted for nine years.

When I began having the demonic warfare in my sleep and started reading scriptures about not despising the discipline of the Lord, I thought the Lord was angry with me because I was not spending the same amount of time studying and praying and this was how he was punishing me, by allowing the enemy to attack me. I began to feel condemned, like I could not please the Lord or make him happy with me or if I did, it was temporary and short-lived and then I had to start all over again trying to earn the Lord’s approval through my works, but it was never enough. It never ended and was exhausting, meanwhile, the Lord was unearthing and exposing issues in my heart that needed to be dealt with and healed.

While driving home from work one afternoon, I was listening to a Christian counselor on the radio. He was talking about how we get our image of God from our parents or the authority figures in our lives. He said that if a parent tended to be a perfectionist and the criticism out-weighed the expressions of praise and affection, then the child would often perceive that as rejection. It would cause the child to feel like they constantly had to work to earn approval, but they could never quite reach the goal of being good enough. Also, if a parent is easily angered, then a child will usually have a perception of the Lord as being an angry God. When you combine that with a melancholy temperament, such as mine (melancholy personalities are very sensitive and tend to be perfectionists by nature), it can lead to a root of rejection and a struggle with perfectionism. Even though I knew my parents loved me and had good intentions (and I do not believe they were aware of the feelings I had), I felt unworthy, unapproved of and like I could never be good enough.

As I said before, there are no perfect people or parents. My parents were good, hard working people who loved me and my brother and always tried to see that we had what we needed materially and financially. They taught us the values of honesty, hard work, discipline, obedience and respect for authority and they have helped us out tremendously over the years, so I do not mean this as a criticism of them. Kids do not come with an instruction manual and most of the previous generations did not have the benefit of listening to Christian counselors or psychologists on the radio or reading their books or listening to people like Dr. Phil. Most of us raise our kids the way we were raised unless we allow the Lord to make changes in us. A lot of well-meaning parents think they are helping their children by pointing out what they don’t like about them or what they consider to be wrong (but there is more than one right way to do something). I am not saying that children should not be corrected or punished when they do wrong, but I think we have to be careful not to criticize our children just because they have a different personality type and take a different approach in how they do things than we would. Dr. Phil says it takes 10 “atta boys” or “atta girls” to make up for every one negative thing said to a child.

It seems that much of the older generation were kind of stoic, they did not show a lot of affection or express a lot of praise, except maybe when their children were younger, but over time, it would become less and less. I think a lot of parents take for granted that their children know they love them and think well of them, so they do not feel the need to express it or it is awkward for them because that was not shown to them to any great degree when they were children. .

That day as I was riding home in my car, the light bulb came on for me. I realized that all the feelings of condemnation, low self-esteem and unworthiness were not from God, but from a false imprint on my heart which the enemy continually tried to magnify and use against me. I did not get healed from this overnight, but little by little, as I studied about grace, the unconditional love of God and the nature of God, I began to feel accepted, approved of and loved unconditionally.

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 103:13-14:  “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him, for He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” (NKJV) The Lord knows we will never be perfect in our performance, but He sees our hearts and loves us right where we are. I would like to encourage any of you who may be struggling with this kind of issue, to study God’s word in the areas I have shared with you. He is a good God, not one sitting on the throne ready to throw down a few lightning bolts every time we make a mistake or unintentionally do something wrong, but as Psalm 103:8-11 says:  “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness. He will not always chide or be contending, neither will He keep His anger forever or hold a grudge. He has not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.” (The Amplified Bible). God bless you all. Kelly Rowe.