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I have had some trouble finding a memory at times when I've prayed by myself. Often I start with anxiety and recognize my need for truth but cannot drift back to any specific memory. As a result I started to wonder about positive stress and/or truth-based negative feelings. For example, with personality traits, shy people or introverted people would experience anxiety in a social setting and if the preference comes from a personality trait, we wouldn't expect that to change, would we? So too with an analytical or structured personality trait, wouldn't it be normal to experience positive anxiety when feeling too chaotic (e.g. transitional life stages)? In other words, isn't it true that there are some negative feelings that are good and we should not expect them to go away through TPM?


You have asked many questions in your single question. Your first question was about truth-based emotion. There are actually only a few negative (or painful) genuine truth-based emotions that are allowed according to Scripture. The ones that I am aware of would include things such as; sadness, sorrow, regret, disappointment and anger. These emotions tend to be based upon the truth for the most part. However, though they began in truth, they are often held in place by a lie-based belief. For example, I may be angry because someone betrayed me or hurt me. It is true they hurt me and therefore I am angry. So I can "be angry but just not sin..." (Eph. 4:26). However, ten years later I may still be angry not so much because of the truth, but now I "need" my anger to "protect" myself from getting hurt again. I keep the anger in place as a protection because I believe the lie that says, "my anger keeps me safe." If indeed I am feeling a truth-based emotion, then I do not need more truth to find freedom from it. What I need to do is have the Lord lift it from me. I can do this by "casting my cares upon Him..." Conversely, it would do me no benefit to try to cast my lie-based emotions upon Him since they are rooted in falsehood. I need truth to find release from these.


 Lie-based emotions are numerous. Some include fear, anxiety, worry, feelings of abandonment, stress, feelings of powerlessness, hopelessness, dread, etc. There is no biblical excuse for these. We are often told to not have these. For example, "Be anxious for "nothing..." (Phil. 4:6) "Perfect love casts out ALL fear..." (1 Jo. 4:18). The Bible has said that the "Lord of peace Himself (can) grant us peace in every circumstance..." (2 Thes. 3:16). The absence of peace is the evidence of lies. We will feel what we actually believe. My emotions are a dead giveaway for what I experientially believe. I can say that I believe God will meet my needs, but if I am worried over my finances then I believe something else. You also had a question concerning personality type. Let me refer you to the article I wrote in the IATM Journal where I discussed this idea of personality This can be read at www.tpassociation.com. Here is a very truncated version of the part of the article where I discussed this.


What is personality?


As I look back at myself over the last ten years I have seen radical changes taking place. What I live out today looks very different from what I presented ten years ago. Back then (prior to TPM) Sharon and I traveled all across the country in an old converted Greyhound bus doing marriage seminars. I was teaching a basic cognitive/behavioral approach to finding release from the emotional bondages in our lives in the context of marriage enrichment. Had your first encounter with me been listening to me on stage in front of a group you might have surmised that I was a "together, confident, spiritually minded, and knowledgeable" sort of fellow. I was a good presenter of information, animated and connecting with my audience. However, if you caught me alone one-to-one after the presentation you would have found a different presentation. I would not have much to say to you, I would not be engaging and would have had a difficult time maintaining eye contact with you. You may have assumed that I was aloof, uninterested and disconnected. Depending on your own level of mind renewal and healing, I may have offended you and triggered you by my behavior. I offended many people during this period of my life without even trying. My explanation then (in defense) was that this was just my personality. In contrast, Sharon was "bubbly" extroverted and did a great job of covering for me and cleaning up the blood trail I often left behind. If I had taken a personality test to determine my personality type I would have scored high in the introverted, antisocial area. However, when I was in front of people teaching, I felt safe and in control and my "personality" changed. This was confusing for people (and for myself) and did not make sense. If my personality was introverted and antisocial then why did it change in different circumstances? As I look back I now realize that this was not my personality but rather an outward presentation of an inner defensive infrastructure hiding my deeper pain. Personality is not what we present but rather who we are. (I just said something really important here in case you missed it.) It is possible that our presentation may reveal who we are from time to time but it is not what or who we are and for the most part is not even close to who we actually may be.


Our true self is the person that God has spiritually birthed that came into existence the day we came to Christ in faith. Our old self was crucified with Him (Gal. 2:20) and our new self was raised up with Him (Col. 3:1). The problem is, this true self tends to be setting deep down beneath all of our defensive layers of self-protection and false identify. I would suggest that, for the most part, what we present (what some call personality) is not who we are but rather a fabrication of defensive strategies that hide and deny what we believe about ourselves. For that which we think we are (unloved, shameful, incapable, stupid, worthless, unacceptable etc.) is unbearable and thus hidden away requiring us to present a false representation more acceptable to others and to ourselves. Some of us do this better than others appearing to have it all together (Example: Ed Smith 1995). Some of us have become weary and gave up (we are the ones always in emotional trouble that the more successful performers take care of and provide ministry.) Our true self/personality can only be seen as we are successful in removing all the layers of false presentation that tends to stand out front. To put this in Theophostic terms, our true self is that which is rooted in truth. Anything that is rooted in lie-based thinking is not who we really are and thus what we present coming from lies is a false presentation of self. What we believe about our self (whether true or false) will manifest it self out through our presentation. When we come to know the truth about who we really are and find freedom from the falsehood that covers this over our presentation more clearly depicts what our true self looks like."


All my life (up until the last 5-6 years) I had assumed that I had an introverted personality type. I was shy, uncomfortable in crowds, could not hold my own in a one on one conversation. I thought this was just "me." However, I have noticed (and others have also noticed) that I am not near as introverted as I use to be prior to all the mind renewal I have had with TPM. I am discovering that personality has nothing to do with the way I feel. Personality is not a feeling but an expression of the person that God created. The problem with me was I was so covered up with my lie-based pain and consequential defensive infrastructure I had developed that the real me was not being released or expressed. If I feel afraid, anxious, inhibited or shy it is not because God made me this way (personality) but rather because of what I believe. I was feeling what I was believing.


 Back to your initial concern. You said that you were having difficulty connecting the anxiety you were feeling with any earlier event. This is not uncommon for many people. I struggle with this in nearly every session that I personally am seeking renewal myself. My defenses are enormous and give me fits every time that I seek ministry. Sometimes we need the help of others skilled in facilitating the TPM process. Sometimes we need the Lord to bring something into our life to motivate us. This has been a major factor in my journey. As I live life He allows (causes) things to occur that are painful that "crack" the shell that I have created to protect myself. When this happens I find it more easy to identify the memory in which the lie is harbored. Read the chapter in the new 2005 edition of the Basic Seminar Manual on the will of man(chapter 8). I teach a principle I call the "belief and choice principle." If we can feel but cannot find the memory where the belief is harbored that is producing this feelings, it is always due to our own belief and choice. This is hard to comprehend when we are in fact putting effort into trying to discover and expose the lie. Nevertheless, we find what we are looking for when we eventually make the choice to do so. This choice is based upon what we believe. The difficulty in getting there is also based upon what we believe. As we are able to identify the belief that is keeping us from making the choice to move forward and then hold this belief up to the Lord we will move forward.


I really encourage you to keep looking for that which you believe that is not allowing you to connect with the source of your anxiety. Be especially aware during the times where it is heightened. Look at what is going on when the anxiety is stirred and ask what it is you are believing in that moment that is triggering the stirring. Sometimes this provides clues. Finally, (if you are really series) ask the Lord to do whatever He needs to do to motivate you to expose what is hidden. This may be very painful but it is His process. The writer of Hebrews says it this way, "All discipline? for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the ??Peaceful fruit of righteousness" (Heb. 12:11). Do not give up or settle for just being an anxious person but rather "be anxious for nothing" and "let the peace of Christ rule in your heart" (Col. 3:15).


I hope that this helps


Ed Smith

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