Letters to God

Growing intimacy with God - a Daily Exercise
Writing can be a very helpful way to clarify your thoughts and more clearly identify your feelings. As you write, your thinking often tends to become more focused, accurate, and purposeful. Your feelings often tend to become more clearly defined and nuanced.

The most fruitful kind of writing as a Christian is writing that puts one into a deeper dependency upon God, more open to God emotionally and spiritually. Writing to God immediately puts life into proper perspective before the sovereign of the universe and puts human actions and reactions in the context of a holy and loving God.

How to do it:
  1. Write a letter to God. Begin where you are. Using a feelings sheet, begin writing all of the feelings that you have and what they are about. Do not edit, just write. Do not be concerned about if your thoughts and feelings are contradictory. Feelings often are contradictory especially as you are beginning to identify them.
  2. Gradually move into talking to God about him, what you know about him, and what you know of his word. As it seems appropriate, write his words back to him. Ask him to search you, convict you of sin, soften your heart, and open your eyes. As appropriate, confess your sin and receive his forgiveness, love, and grace.
  3. Write out your thanks and your expressions of surrender to his love, his life, yielding to his grace. Commit yourself to allowing his spirit to work in you.

Fear of Man (page 1)

Coming to Terms with the Fear of Man
Fear of Man (people) may be defined as:
  1. Valuing anyone (Wanting their approval/praise or wanting relationship with them)
  2. Or fearing anyone (their disapproval or loss of relationship with them)
  3. Valuing anything people give or respond to (material or intagible—reputation, position, prestige, power)
  4. Our fearing anything (loss of reputation, embarrassment, helplessness, or even death)
  5. More than obeying and loving God with one’s heart, soul, and strength and serving others in love in the strength of God’s grace
Biblically “fear” may defined as putting one’s trust in, depending on, holding in awe, needing, or being controlled by something or someone. Common manifestations of what the Bible calls the Fear of Man include—peer pressure, people-pleasing, passivity, low self-esteem, being over-committed, neediness, indecisiveness, self-consciousness, lying, jealousy, anger, depression, shyness, withdrawing, competitiveness.
Consider three forms of the Fear of Man:
  1. We are afraid of people because they can expose and humiliate us (shame-fear)
  2. We are afraid of people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us (rejection-fear)
  3. We are afraid of people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us (threat-fear)
These three forms have one thing in common: they see people as “bigger” (that is, more powerful and significant) than God, and, out of the fear that creates in us, we give other people the power and right to tell us what to feel, think, and do.

A Journaling Exercise:
Divide a sheet of paper into four columns.
  1. In column 1 describe how the three forms of the Fear of Man (shame, rejection, threat) manifest themselves in your life and relationships. For each specific manifestation write what you probably say to yourself when you are in the midst of the fear.
  2. In column 2 take the specific manifestations identified in Column 1 one by one and identify what kind of Fear of Man each is. Also for each, describe what our goals are / what you are trying to get or avoid by doing the behavior.
  3. In column 3 describe events in your past where people have sinned against you and possibly intensified your Fear of Man.
  4. Column 4. What does God’s word say about your fears and your goals in column 2? What does God’s word say about what he is calling you to do instead of the behaviors in column 1? Remember to quote specific scriptures in your answers.
Write a prayer of confession and faith about what God is showing you in this exercise.

Adapted from E.T. Welch. (1997). When People are Big and God is Small. Presbyterian & Reformed Pub: Phillipsburg, New Jersey.

Fear of Man (page 2)

● How the fear of man manifests itself
● What I say to myself when I am fearing man
● What kind of fear is it (shame, rejection, threat)?
● What are my goals? What am I trying to acheive, avoid, or control?
● Events in the past which may have intensified my fear of man?
● How might past events have intensified my fear of man?
● What does God’s word say about my fear and my goals?
● What does God call me to do instead of what I do in column 1?
● Indecisiveness
● "I have to make the perfect decision, consider all of the possible variables or someone will think I was wrong, clueless, foolish.”
● Rejection-fear and shame-fear
● Goal: I want to avoid looking and feeling foolish, being rejected or shamed. I want to acheive significance in my own strength by getting peopel to admire me and look up to me
● Past: my mother constantly reminded my father of his past failures to try to get him to not repeat (she wanted to protect herself from feeling helpless again)
● Effect: I saw my father’s humiliation and I want to protect myself from that experience by whatever means necessary.
● God says Jesus was despised and rejected and he handled it by enduring it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
● God calls me to fear him, seek his wisdom, trust him with the outcome and to provide grace to sustain me if I receive criticism.
● God Calls me to love others by gently and humbly calling them to face their sin if they try to avoid / deal with their pain by humiliating me.

Gene Kummerer II, M.Div., M.S., LPC

Hyde Park Counseling Center
711 W. 38th Street, Suite C-9, Austin Tx 78775