Tearing Down my Stronghold

November 26, 2011

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  ~The Talmud

For the last few months God has been showing me something, so that I might be able to destroy it. He has been showing me….me. Now mind you, I didn’t think it was me, I thought it was everything else. But He keeps coming back and telling me that this thing HE is showing me is ME, and it is a part of me which must die before it kills me.

This thing is not lust. It is not rage, or even unbelief. I wish it were.  These are familiar enemies, and I can see them as separate from me. This thing He is showing me is not something that any of us would categorize as bad behavior, or an undisciplined thought life.

It is me.

It is a picture I have created of life and reality, that has been built on several of my own needs (to be safe, to be loved) and desires (to be valued, to be admired).  But because I built the picture based on me (my knowledge of good, and my fear of evil), it is not truth I have been gazing at and interacting with. It is me. It is my wishful thinking. It is a construct of the way I am on the inside, imposed on the world around me.

This alone might not be so bad, except that this world I have been creating, includes people. If you know me, then it includes you. Even if you don’t know me, my myth includes people in general. How they must think of me. What might be wrong with them, if they do not think of me the way I think they ought.

So if you fit my construct, welcome to my approval. But if you dare act in some way other than the world I have created, well, I may respond by feeling anything from irritated, to outright judgmental of you. How dare you violate my reality!

This stronghold is not a devil. (though it can become his playground). This stronghold is not particularly measurable. But it has been coming into focus for a while now, and I have been fighting to keep from seeing.  When I look at it, a part of me feels that it is dying. And die it must.

It has been hard for me to write about it because of how much I wanted it not to be true. It has been hard for me to write about, because it has been exceptionally painful and part of my construct included me always having nice, tidy, and clever answers.  I am the “Thinking Differently” guy.

But the more my picture and my reality did not line up, the more anxious I was becoming. I found that my easy answers were not helpful to me. I found myself thinking thoughts, and feeling feelings that swirled around in my soul, and seemed unstoppable.  God was putting pressure on this movie set that I had built and named “reality”. It was crumbling, and I was trying to re-build it.

More than re-build it, I was trying not to feel the fear, and grief that came with the dismantling of my own personal Matrix. My thoughts, however chaotic and confusing felt more comforting than the loss that accompanies tearing down my stronghold.

“I can fix this” I would scream inwardly.

“If I could just find the keys, I can resuscitate this thing before its too late”. My mind frantically called out.

So my mind searches for keys and tidy answers, and ways to get others to help me re-build, while God patiently, and benevolently waits for me to let go.

My world made me feel safe. My world made me feel loved. My world made me feel valued. How did I so subtly and powerfully become my own source for all those things that God is designed to be for me?

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  ~The Talmud

“We look at a mirror and we do not see the mirror, we see ourselves.

We look at the world and we do not see the world, we see ourselves.” ~

Thanks to Paige Dehart for great quotes from her book “Unmasked”


  • Mary Jo

    Heart-breaking! HIS heart breaking through strongholds. The unpacking painful yet powerful. Pausing to take this all in and apply … truths like this really do set us free. Thanks Bob!

  • http://www.amberlouthan.com Amber

    Dude. I so appreciate this. And so get it. He is so generous and good. Almost makes the tearing down easier. Thanks so much for the transparency, for sharing. Still praying. Love and love.

  • http://www.journey-to-beauty.com Alex

    Timely word sir! Timely word. So thankful to read this because it speaks to where I am.

  • Becky S

    Thank you for printing your honesty and transparency, for Him to use to speak to us. This journey is ongoing, day by day, and it is such a blessing to continue to get nuggets of freedom, so that we can continue to die.

  • Fernanda melo geller

    Woow.. woow
    Speechless..
    thanks for sharing…
    Really, Thank you!

  • Michael Hutchings

    Bob, thank you for your transparency and reality, which forces me to look at me. Bless you.

  • http://www.beautifully-chaotic.com Mel

    Stuff like this sucks. It’s good though. I’m touched that you would be so brave as to share it. In spite of being known as the “Think Differently Guy” the one that people like me go to when we’re like “Whaaaaa?”, that you would share where you are while you’re there rather than waiting until it’s over and you have a more tidy answer- well, it kind of blows me away. Thanks. It makes me less afraid to be in my own middle when I know those who I see as the strong ones have their middle too…

  • http://talkbacktuesday.blogspot.com/ Janet Manor

    The more free you are the more you die to self and follow Him with your full will. I think it is a lifelong process completed in Heaven!! Loved it!!

  • Jerry

    I recently heard a wise man speak to a group in Three Rivers Mi. About worship. I wounder if that would be part of the solution.
    Love Love U my brother

  • Bruce McBurney

    Thank you Bob for this post. Well done to recognize the work that God is trying to achieve in you. It will be nice to have you back in our reality. If you need anything just ask.

  • Brady Lane

    Appreciate you Bob and your writings – especially the ones that are hard to write.

  • http://onfreedomsjourney.com Debi Whelan

    Bob, you are completely messing with my security here but what I think it really boils down to is that in our flesh, we still want a king. I mean, you have all the answers, you have pulled us out of the depths and well, given us hope for a very different future. It would be easy for you to take the throne, allow all of us to worship you and hang on your every word until we created a Think Differently denomination and wore bracelets that said “what if you’re not” and danced around the altar of the acrobat. But no, you have the audacity to let God mess with any inkling toward kingship you might slightly entertain and actually allow the King of the Universe to show you once again that bowing your knee to HIM will shape you in a way that cannot be fully understood by the human mind, yet form your soul into all that you have been created to be. Wow, I am encouraged to press in, to die and to seek the Lord of all life until I am completely overtaken by who He is. He’s not letting us play games anymore. The reality of His presence is too valuable. Wow, this really is going to be a revival, and God is going to show up in ways we could never have imagined.

  • Jean Littlefield

    Got it!!! I so daily want to see me through Kingdom eyes—His eyes!

  • http://onfreedomsjourney.com Debi Whelan

    I think what I’m saying is that the depth of your genuineness, your willingness to be absolutely transparent and the way that you fight for truth, not only for the body of Christ, but in your own soul, completely rocks my world and spurs me on to seek the face and voice of God like nothing ever has. To unravel your ‘stuff’ for all the world to see, breaks down barriers and opens the way for us all to come away from participating in christian role-playing and just be real people whose love for God cannot be stopped. Thanks for being who you are.

  • Autumn

    I’ve been where you are and it’s so easy to be there. The knowledge of “more good” is just as deceptive as the knowledge of evil. It all boils down to Source. Who is it that gives Life? I know for a fact that the Source of Life can make your soul whole. With prayers of Freedom……

  • Lara Hanson

    While I am sad you are uncomfortable, I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful you are vulnerable to share this so publicly … I am thankful you are working through this before your talk in February about strongholds :) … but mostly, I am thankful God is working on this in your life, for out of this time, so many others will be blessed from the things you will learn and then explain in your distinct “Bob-servations”. :) Remember Bob, you are safe, loved, valued and admired by all of us whose lives you have touched. Peace my friend.

  • Aja Schiewe

    And a new life begins….. :) I love how my fearless leader will venture to places that are easy to pretend don’t exist for freedom’s sake.

    By the way, I just finished the book. How can something be fantastic, horrifying, a relief and devastating all at the same time????

  • http://paigeehart.com Paige DeHart

    Hi Bob.

    I so relate to your article. Here’s another great quote from Anthony DeMello that it reminds me of: “It’s going to take a lot of awareness for you to understand that perhaps this thing called “I” is simply a conglomeration of your past experiences, of your conditioning and programming.” My experience has been that God keeps ripping through those preconceived notions until I finally see that He is the only thing that is real :)

  • Scott

    Amazing. I was journaling this morning, and dealing with the same reality, the issues I’m struggling with are MY issues, not those around me. You posted what I was going through in my own heart. Thank you for sharing. You have blessed me.
    scottfairchild.net

  • http://www.themorelfam.blogspot.com debra

    So much of how I have been feeling. More of Him, less of me. More His way and oh the pain of letting go of me, dying to self.

  • christiana

    dear p.bob
    as i have always learned from u ‘free people free people’.i am so touched by your integrity honesty openess and freeness . i see your love to god in your words and i see your love to us .i see a teacher i am realy so proud to know and to learn from. bless u

  • Helen

    Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.

  • Marti Felgar

    This is so where I am right now, this very minute, today.  When I read, “But the more my picture and my reality did not line up, the more anxious I was becoming. … I found myself thinking thoughts, and feeling feelings that swirled around in my soul, and seemed unstoppable. God was putting pressure on this movie set that I had built and named “reality”. It was crumbling, and I was trying to re-build it.” …… “I was trying not to feel the fear, and grief that came with the dismantling of my own personal Matrix.”  ….”How did I so subtly and powerfully become my own source for all those things that God is designed to be for me?” 
    I have come face to face with the fact that my picture and my reality have not lined up for a very long time!   It seemed to me to be a good picture… It just isn’t my reality.

    I know that you wrote this months ago…. but it is a right now word to me.  It’s really painful!!!!!
    Thanks for stepping beyond your “reality” and sharing your vulnerable places.  It helps to know that the “Think Differently” guy  is willing to do that!  :)

  • Bob

    This fits the my situation as well as a 50 something Male at the crossroads of life.

    So this is the reality we all see, when we reach that point in our lives, when “self” worth defined by worldly things reveals its emptiness. The worlds way is the yoke and stronghold placed on us to toil since the garden and every man made ploy (knowledge without his wisdom) to deal with them. We want to catagorize the thorn in the flesh, to compartmentalize it, but in reality as you say Bob, its us and our muse, dancing behind the mask looking outward. Love, acceptance, character in a fallen world, performed for unbelievers, when his word has shown a path of a better blessed journey.

    I thank the Lord for being able to have you cross my lifes path. Your honesty is refreshing in a world of spiritual hucksters, who’s staff unfortunately leads the flock in deception down the “service road” and not on the true pathway to God.

  • Babs Coppedge

    I read this again and my soul immediately squirms, uncomfortable with the resonance these words ring within me, but also wondering (a year later) if this purging of thought lead to something different. Was your matrix deconstructed? Did switching sources redefine reality in such a way that the reality you had built no longer mattered? Did you find a way to devalue that which you had always valued? I connect with this writing (again, a year later) in such a way that I could not connect with it a year ago. And because it stirs my inner pot, I really do ask these questions with a sincere desire to know and learn and understand, not simply with a rhetorical flair. Pondering, again…