An Image, Carried About… Is Burdensome

Wow. It’s been awhile since I’ve had time for a weekly article.

I have a doozy for you.

But before I get into our topic for this article, I would like to circle the wagons, just for a moment and take the time needed to try and communicate with you as clearly as I can this week.

You see, I have this friend, he reads my stuff, and being a friend he lets me know when it is hard to follow my articles.

I appreciate that.

I also know that I write them purposely like that.

Not to be confusing like a jerk, but to try and capture what my mind is going through at the time of that specific article.

“Well then Dave, why don’t you spend the time to clean it up and make a cleaner, more specific point for your readers?”

Fair question.

The reason I don’t is because I have a multi tiered goal for my writing.

Number 1 being – “I’m trying to capture this journey that I’m on as it happens.”

Number 2 being – “As I do that I’m chronicling my articles in such a way so that at a later date I can organize them into a book on “re-branding yourself” and all that will come to mean to me, in due time.

Number 3 being – the most important aspect of this capturing process is, to hopefully, share a real life scenario of a person who is doing the work to heal is mental health, identify his personal insecurities, and educate himself on his childhood traumas that have created images in his mind that were meant to protect himself when he was just little, but now have crippled him as an adult.

Number 4 being – in this process of battling my mind to identify my suffering I can garner a life lesson that not only benefits me and heals me, but may offer something that benefits you, if I can be brave enough to share it honestly with you through my writing.


In this weeks article, I am going to try and be as clear and concise as I can be, specifically for you, this article is for you, my reader, as I believe the spiritual message I received is as clear as a bell as to what my, and most likely your, mental condition is caused by.

My main healer is Jesus Christ, so my message is His message, and He is my foundation.

He has also introduced me to other professionals, such as Dr. Gabor Mate; Author, Psychologist, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl; and Jonice Webb P.h.D… these individuals, and many others, have been a great help to me in expanding my understanding, concerning my confusing mental state of mind.

So, my recent answer from the Lord, is found in the book of Isaiah, Chapter 46, Verses 1 & 2.

Here it is…

“… The images that are carried about are burdensome,
    a burden for the weary.
They stoop and bow down together;
    unable to rescue the burden,
    they themselves go off into captivity.”

Now, that’s the “answer”.

There will be more from Isaiah, later, to help broaden our understanding.

“Ok, Dave, what are we talking about here?”

I’m glad you asked.

In my attempt to understand my own mind, I pay attention to what others have to say, about their own mental state, I garner this, mostly, from social media postings. And also lots, and lots of reading.

I have seen a pattern to what ails us.

Here are a few expressions used by multiple people, that explain where we are as a group… see if you can relate.

“My mind just won’t shut off at night.”

“My anxiety is really kicking in today, I wish I could just breathe.”

“Maybe it would be better if I just wasn’t here, no one is going to miss me anyways.”

“I was diagnosed with ADHD as a kid and put on meds, I don’t take them because they make me cloudy, and I don’t feel like myself.”

“I drink alcohol to escape myself, I would never tell anybody that, but I’m just trying to shut it all off.”

Can you relate? Even a little? I sure do.

(If you would like or need more backstory on the bible verses I’m using drop a comment and I can elaborate on their context. Please know that I am very careful so that I do not cherry pick a verse to fit my agenda, I only share what God has shared with me as accurately as I can.)

Now, where do our personal insecurities, our personal anxieties, our personal traumas, and our images that are burdensome, come from?

In most, if not all cases, our childhoods.

They are chemically seared into our mind and thought processes in response to us experiencing… violence, sexual abuse, and/or emotional abandonment or neglect as a small child.

In one of his talks, Dr Mate discusses soldiers suffering from PTSD. We hear about it in the news now, but it’s a small fraction of those who serve who come back with it. And in almost all of those cases it was discovered that being in war was not the cause of it… but the conditions of war… revealed an underlying trauma already present within the mind, set in early childhood, of the person who had served. The stress of war was too much for their current coping mechanisms and their minds could not handle the added stress load.

In the podcasts I’ve listened to, and all the reading I’ve done, the one indicator of all of these underlying conditions, set in our childhoods, is that we all suffer from an inadequate sleep pattern.

It is one of, if not the very first, question a doctor will ask you if you go in for a check up.

And none of us are honest with the doctor about how were are sleeping.

I’ve suffered with most of the list I have offered above, with sleepless nights and a racing mind being at the top of the list which has plagued me for most of my life.

“… The images that are carried about are burdensome,
    a burden for the weary.

Here is the description of the mental image that I’ve been carrying around since I was eleven years old. In detail.

It is an image of me, eleven years old, with my nose touching the glass of the screen door in our kitchen, the door faced out into the gravel driveway.

It was dark. Nighttime.

My dad, a brother-in-law, and a friend of my dad were unloading the car of the fish they had caught that day.

There was laughing, loud talking, holding fish up. It looked like they had a good time.

When my dad popped into the kitchen for something, I asked him, “Are we still going fishing?”

His reply, “No it’s too late.”

And he went back outside to continue unloading the car of all the fishing gear.

I returned to that cold piece of glass, with a lump in my throat.

Then it got worse.

You see, he had promised all morning before he left that we would go fishing when he got back.

He promised.

And now it was too dark to go.

I was crushed. But he bailed out on promises before. I was hurt, but had felt that hurt before.

What happened next, I believe, is the traumatic part.

My mom went outside, I could see her talking to my dad, with them arguing back and forth, and my dad turning his head to look at me with my pathetic little nose touching the glass.

My mom comes back in the house and says, “Get a jacket, he’s going to take you fishing.”


Which means… he doesn’t want to take me fishing… which means he doesn’t want me.

That’s when my heart broke.

He took me. I was still excited to go. Until told not to be. “We can’t stay long, don’t touch nothing.”

He had taken me out onto his friends river raft… which would have been really cool, but wasn’t.

So my image that I’ve been carrying, and that affects my adult perception of the world, is one of a little kid with his nose touching the glass of a screen door, looking out at a dad who doesn’t want him.

I was… and still am… crushed by that.

That image is certainly, chemically seared into my brain.

It makes me feel worthless.

And from 11 years old until I was almost 40 it was the image I used to base most of my self destructive behaviors off of.

I was Worthless.

Our personal insecurities, our personal anxieties, and our personal traumas in an immature way are trying to protect us.

“I don’t understand what you mean by that Dave.”

The human anatomy, physiology, and biology only have, at it’s disposal, 3 types of responses in the face of a traumatic event.

  1. Fight,
  2. Flight, or
  3. Freeze.

Period. That’s it.

And when you are just little. The only viable option is to freeze.

In our Bible verses from Isaiah, the prophet is talking about the Israelite’s, and their habit of turning away from God, and turning to a false idol or image, that they themselves have made with their own hands, or they had a workman carve, or mold one out of gold or silver for them.

The Bible calls them, “detestable images.”

Now, look at your mental trauma image, your personal anxiety, or insecurity, is there any room for God in your heart or mind if the real-estate is crowded over with those negative things we are choosing to carry around?

In speaking of the Israelite’s false idols and images, Gods word in Isaiah 46:7 paints a picture of what is happening in our own lives when we have our own personal burdensome image.

“7 They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
    they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
    From that spot it cannot move.
Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
    it cannot save them from their troubles.”

Our childhood response to our childhood trauma was “to freeze” and in doing so, we have frozen that moment in time into a chemically seared imaged in an attempt to compartmentalize it in our mind… to keep IT and US safe.

From that spot it cannot move.

I can, and am, personally attesting to this being an actuality.

Of course we get older, of course we mature… physically, of course we enter the work force, have friends, and a family…

But deep down where we do not want to go, in fear of that memory hurting us again, we know [which adds to our anxiety] that we are really just that scared kid… still… on the inside. Not wanting to be hurt anymore.

My personal image is dark, it was nighttime, my image causes negative emotions, it causes my mind to race downward at an ever increasing pace, spiraling down to it’s inevitable conclusion, “I am worthless, I might as well just kill myself.”

Like clock work.

If I “dwell on” that image…that’s where I end up… every… single… time.

It has taken a long time for me to learn and understand what “emotional maturity” and “emotional intelligence” are, and mean, so now when that image pops up, and the pain it causes accompanies it, from that pain I know,…

“Something is wrong today.”

In Isaiah 43:18-20 God offers this…

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness… “

You have heard it I’m sure, a well meaning friend saying to you, “You need to just get over it and move on.”

We would love to.

But we are prisoners of something we don’t understand. We can’t because we are trapped at 5, 6, 8 or 11 years old in our mind and in our emotional understanding.

With the biggest misunderstanding being… “Why, like the Old Testament Israelite’s, do we continue to return to our personal trauma image, as if it is going to do something good for us… for once.

Why are we so comfortable with that detestable image that ruins our lives?

Why do we continue to lug this thing through life when it is literally, such a drag?

Getting away from Isaiah for a moment, looking in the book of Romans, the apostle Paul cries out… “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” ~ Romans 7:24

When I read that one… I feel that one.

Holocaust survivor and Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl writes, “despair is suffering without meaning”. Those who despair of their suffering find life unbearable; as a result, they may want to die or commit suicide.”

God had provided for Mr Frankl to write his book after surviving more than one Nazi concentration camp, that book has impacted millions, “A Mans Search for Meaning” has impacted me as well, God showed me a bridge… spanning the gap between the suffering of Jesus, and my suffering, by providing the extreme example provided by Mr Frankl.

I was a little ashamed of my tiny traumatized image after reading Mr Frankl’s book.

Why wasn’t I ashamed when I read the story of Jesus? He suffered all that I did, and what Mr Frankl did… and more.

But instead of shaming me more, and yelling at me to, “Man up!” Our Father in heaven revealed to me another image, one just as, if not more so, powerful than my negative traumatized image… but in my heart I had forgotten about this image, until God in His impeccable timing, revealed it to me once again.

This image. In detail. Includes my earthly dad, but instead of front and center, he is, literally, over on the side lines, behind a rope, down the third base, and he’s placing a $20 dollar bet, on me, to get a hit, betting with the dad standing next to him… and whose kid is now pitching.

It is a beautiful summer day, sunny, middle of the day, as bright as bright can be.

And here is the “positive” image… which was set before the game started.

I’m on the mound, getting the start to my 10 year old championship game, getting it all figured out, and then…

God places His hand on my shoulder and says, “That’s what I love about you.”

And he gently moves me up to the proper, shorter, distance that us 10 year olds will be pitching from.

[If you would like all the details of that story you can read it in my book, “When We Were Lions” available at Amazon Books]

When I would be at my lowest points, every once in awhile, I would remember that day, and that interaction, and it would be enough to get me to try again tomorrow.

Literally saving my life… but I wasn’t living by it. Everything I was, was wrapped up in my negative burdensome image.

In the fall of 2015 I visited the doctor, in 2016 I chose to get healthy, both physically and emotionally.

I’m telling you, honestly, it’s hard work.

You have to be willing to look your personal demons and images directly in the eye and not sugar coat what happened to you… especially if it was a family member who inflicted your traumatic image.

Especially if it was your own dad.

The thing that causes us to cling to our personal burdensome image is the fact that we have no hope.

Sure we may recover from a bout of anxiety, put on a brave face, and try again tomorrow… but we know we are only passing time until the next bout of traumatic memories get fired up again… like I said earlier, “Like clockwork.”

We just know that there is nothing to look forward to.

I can honestly tell you today, that… that… is a lie.

The burdensome image you posses today is an old one. Maybe like mine, more than forty years old, and whatever purpose it had when I was little, it no longer serves that purpose today.

Jonice Webb P.h.D, in her work on “Childhood Emotional Neglect” offers this remedy, once you do the work that identifies your personal burdensome image, “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”

I like that. You can find her here…

So what can we do about our burdensome image?

Here is a quick review of what I’ve learned thus far.

  1. I didn’t start understanding my condition until I spoke with God about it, and my overall attitude of believing in Him.
  2. Viktor Frankl and Jesus both pointed out that there is a purpose to suffering.
  3. Dr Webb has given me down to earth explanations, tools, and confidence that my condition is not a permanent one.
  4. I have learned that writing, physical exercise, understanding what I’m eating, and how it affects my brain chemistry and how that can contribute to releasing the burdensome image I carry into my thoughts, and spending time in Gods Word are all ways that I can “cure” my own personal insecurities, personal anxieties and personal traumas.

And so, if I can learn that about my personal burdensome image… you can certainly learn about yours.

And how to defeat it.

Yep! You can recognize it when it gets to the end of its chain… and you can look it in the eye… and tell it,…

“Go lay down by your dish!”

Because you will also learn that you do not have to allow it to put your mind into a state of an “out of control tilt-a-whirl”, spiraling ever faster downward, descending into your own personal depths of darkness.

How do you identify your burdensome image?

I have learned what it is that releases my burdensome image causing it to flare up and trample through my mind.

  1. My anxiety… flares up when I’m placed in a new job position… again… having to learn all new responsibilities. My answer now to that scenario, “Hey, Davey-Do [talking to my inner child] it’s ok, you have learned all those other job responsibilities, slow your hands down, trust them, and your brain will follow.”
  2. My personal insecurity… flares up when I realize what a poor husband I have been towards my wife, I should’ve provided better for her, “Hey, Davey-Do, you made the house payment, there’s groceries in the fridge, she has a nice wedding set and diamond ear rings, plus you had five kids with her, you gotta make big bank to have “extra money” whatever that means to you.”
  3. My personal trauma flares up… at 2:00 a.m. in the morning while I’m at work, like clock work right? About the time I get tired and hungry. I can feel the energy change in my brain… AAAANNNNDDDDD were off and spiraling, there I am with my nose to the glass, there I am wishing my mom never said anything, here is where the pit of my stomach empties out and the only thing that seems like it will make that pain go away is if I were to kill myself, “Hey, Davey-Do, it’s 1:30 a.m., let’s go get an apple and a granola bar, and tomorrow make sure you take in enough carbohydrates to last your 12 hour work shift, you were starting to get that crazy look in your eye again.”

I’m not being flip, and it ain’t no joke… that’s how it goes.

Only now, I’ve been given the knowledge I needed to be able to battle those thoughts when they come, knowing where they come from, knowing now… I ain’t little no more.

  1. I have to read my Bible and spend time with Him.
  2. I have to exercise, I have to invest that physical energy that I have.
  3. I have to write… I have to… it is the only thing that exhausts my brain, writing gives a home to all of those “crazy” thoughts that may one day become a book… maybe.
  4. I have to understand food better, which I have learned how to do, and I am getting better at analyzing its effects on me… especially how it affects my brain energy.

With God giving me a positive image, one that is not burdensome, one that is both light to the eyes and light on the shoulders, it doesn’t get rid of struggle… I was struggling to hit the mitt [get the book] but what it does do… it shows how God has been standing right next to me this whole time… and in His wisdom… and in His impeccable timing… he has given me… life.

It’s wonderful having hope.

It’s wonderful having some struggles.

It’s wonderful having some pain… it lets me know that I’m alive.

Now, for you, are you willing to do the things you will need to do to truly make clear your personal burdensome image… anxiety… insecurity… and trauma?

And for those who may read this and think, “Who the heck are you anyway?”

I can only answer with the words found in Isaiah 61…

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.

The Emerging Man… writing to ENCOURAGE, EQUIP & ENGAGE!

And “Offering Positivity… with Work Gloves!”

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