Other Ways to Cope
Other ways people seek to cope with the pressures that build up within them can only be touched on here.
Extroversion. The extrovert is a person who flees into a constant round of activity in the community, church, club, or place of employment. He is always on the go, always talking, always planning–-using activity as a refuge from personal conflict. One person, however, should not judge another’s motives. You may think you can distinguish between the one who serves and the one who is merely fleeing from his problems. But you may be completely wrong.
Introversion. The introvert builds a wall around himself. His world is entirely his own. One cannot easily learn his thoughts, desires, plans, dreams, or reactions. Many a man or woman would do well to withdraw from the crowd for serious thinking, to weigh and consider before acting. But this is not what the introvert is doing. He is not pondering in order to make a wise move. He is dodging issues, avoiding decisions, hiding from the world. He is enclosed in his own private supply of thoughts and dreams that will likely never happen.
Compartmental thinking. In a sense, this approach to conflict is to not let the right hand know what the left is doing. An example of this is the man who, as a board member, is careful to see that the church constitution is upheld, but who will take a drink with a customer, despite the church constitution, because to do so is good business. He will not drink socially because it is against his religious convictions; but business is business. Also in this category is the meticulously neat dresser whose house is an unbelievable mess.
Projection. This is a subtle form of self-deception in which one sees his own faults as belonging to someone or something else. He is the person who has a long list of complaints about his church associates, but who is very sure that the people don’t like him. He is the one who is always on the edge of keeping the law but who becomes very critical of lawless people. He is the person who has a secret, and in guarding it, thinks that everyone is looking at him suspiciously or is talking about him.
The Alternative–Spirit-Filled Living
As one studies the mechanisms used to get around the truth, the accuracy of the Bible’s description of man’s heart as “deceitful” and “desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9) becomes apparent. Thus, you need a resource outside yourself. The qualities that come from God will keep you from faulty handling of truth. They can be yours if you let Jesus Christ implant them in your life. The spiritual man is renewed day by day. . .
In comfort and consolation:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us all in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
In patience and joy:
Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long-suffering with joy (Col. 1:11).
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith (Phil. 3:9).
In peace and hope:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:13).
Questions for review:
- How does the author define “regressive” behavior? How does the Bible summarize regression and its antidote?
- What is the difference between suppression and repression? What are the other four methods of coping discussed and what do they involve?
- Reflect on these behaviors and be honest with yourself on whether you see any of them reflected in your life. If so, how? If so, are you willing to confess this to God and let Him change you?
- What does the Bible offer as the best approach to the harsh realities of life?
- Recognition of your sins need not cause you anxiety, for on the heels of recognition is _____________________ and to be __________________ is to find release.
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