Patterns Have Roots

Posted by Steve Nyhof on 3 June 2011 | Add a Comment

Most of us understand what a pattern is as shown in this image, but is it possible that patterns exist in you and I? A tree is a great example of roots and branches and in fact Scripture refers to roots, trees, vines and branches in several places.

A seed gives way to a root, the starting point of an existence, which grows up and out of the ground and quickly forms branches and leaves, and in many cases, fruit. But during the life of the tree, the roots remain, and in fact grow larger and more seated. More rooted as we say some times to things.

Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matthew 13:21

What came to mind in my walk this morning was that of raising a child and the patterns they create for themselves, the patterns we instill in them, and the patterns we instill codependently. I did not say together, although that is true, but as you will see - a codependent pattern.

As an example, my son comes to me and asks for ten dollars to purchase a yoyo. I want to make my son happy, so I give him ten dollars. After playing with it for an hour or so, it breaks. So he asks for another ten dollars to buy another yoyo. He does not see the value in money yet, but he does see the value in the enjoyment the yoyo brought to him. I however see the value in money and may be reluctant to offer him more, but I want to see him happy so I give it to him. He plays with it a while and it breaks again. He begins to feel a little afraid to approach me because he could see and feel my reluctance the last time he asked, but this is the only way he knows how to enjoy himself at the moment.

When he asks again, I can sense a little fear in his eyes. He doesn't know why he is afraid other than he is afraid of me. And for good reason, because I come unglued and tell him how hard I work to get that money. I am identifying money with my work, and my son doesn't get the connection. As this point things just get all turned around and confusing, especially to him. Somehow, his simple thoughts of playing with a yoyo has turned into something that makes my father angry, and his (my) work became really important. Not understanding, he asks, anyway... can I have ten dollars for another yoyo. I give in because I feel bad for making him feel bad, and I at first did it to make him feel good. What a mess in the making!

Now, multiply this behavior for 18 years. My son learns that to get anything he needs to ask an angry father who values his work above his son. Work purduces money, and money rules. I have enabled my son to fear me, to ask for things despite the fear because I always give in. I felt some love from him because it made him happy, and he would say thanks and smile sometimes. I am now codependent on my son for affirmation. This is a form of a pattern, but it really becomes much more tangled and messy - doesn't it?

Now he wants to move out on his own, and like the years before, asks for money to help him with rent, etc. He gets a job, but it is going to take a month or so to get going and on his own feet. However, he has never learned the value of who he is in Christ, and money as he seen in dad, was God - money rules. His identity, just like his father is in money and things - God is just a nice word he prays to to get things his father cannot pay money for. A Pattern.

Something is different because patterns control the mind of our brains. Our brains are conditioned to believe in these patterns, and in fact sees it as a means for survival. The brain does not like to work out side the patterns because we are not comfortable there.

Now my son asks me for forty dollars because his bike broke down, and he needs that to get to work. However, instead of recognizing the situation for what it is, my patterns kick in because I suddenly feel uncomfortable, and I operate on what I know. The same feelings of my son asking for money triggers my patterns into action, and I tell him - no more money! Of course I'm angry because that is part of the pattern triggered behavior. He knows by now what to expect but asks anyway because of his codependency of my help. His patterns.

But now something is different, instead of my son asking for something of pleasure, to play with, he needs his bike to get to work to help him pay for his own living. This is when I thought of a hammer and a wrench. Both can cost the same to purchase, yet they are tools to accomplish two different things. Yes, I have used a wrench to pound in a nail, and a hammer to loosen a nut, but that was not their intended design. But that is how we think most of the time - using the wrong tool for something that requires a specific tool.

I and my son understood based on our patterns that a hammer was used in his childhood. However, today he is clearly asking for a wrench, but the words - "can I have some money" triggers my patterns which tell my behavior to grab for the hammer. Even in his asking, he feels he is asking for a yoyo because of his patterns, yet he is asking for a wrench to fix his bike so he can ride to work. The brain hears the words and translates it into feelings that cause the same reactions and feelings from years of hammer patterns.

Our emotions are always speaking to us, but we need to become aware of what is really being asked for. Most behaviors are the results of emotionally rooted patterns from our childhood. Our belief system, how we view other people, everything. Most people live in this place all their life and never grow up - what I call surface behaviors. There is little depth to our relationships, and the reason is that we are so afraid of exposing the truth about ourselves to others for fear of their judgement. We continue to live in the no wake zone - you know, don't rock the boat baby. I am not suggesting that I mean to rock someone else's boat, quite the opposite. This is about you and about me only. This only began to change when I looked into my own heart. I needed to change me.

The most amazing liberation came to me when I began to see and recognize my emotions and the behaviors that arose, which pointed to my patterns, which pointed to my roots. All of this created wrong feelings in me, and then I reacted on those wrong feelings - not from my "knowing" heart. My fruit was the result of my self-righteous behaviors based on patterns, not on God - and it was destructive. I do not blame anyone, I just opened up the tool box to reveal all the tools. I am finding that there are a lot more tools than just a hammer and a wrench. There is a whole lot more to living each moment of each day when I pay attention (awareness) to my feeling and what they are telling me. This is now a journey to recreate right feelings in me (renewing the mind - of my heart) so that I react on the truth of a given situation or circumstance.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Does this mean I live by feelings alone? Not at all! I am living from a place of knowing from my heart, and not from my brain which reacts on feelings. My brain is connected to my physical body which wants to survive at all costs - even at the cost of another persons feelings or ideas. When I separate myself - who I really am, as an eternal being (complete in God alone), from my body, I begin to learn to feel from my heart and not from my head. If it is cold outside, I put my coat on. My body is telling my brain that it's body is cold and needs a coat to protect itself. Who I really am does not need a coat, just the love of God.

When I am no longer identified with the body alone, but as eternal, ever present with God, I can overcome the world. When a loved one is about to be hit by an oncoming car, I jump in the way of the car pushing my loved one out of harm. My body therefore may die, but something deep within my "knowing" heart acted. Something much more powerful exists inside my body.

"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? Matthew 7:8-9

The next time I hear the words... "can I have some money", my brain will recognize the pattern, and the feelings associated with that statement will want me to react - but here is where I now take a breath. I (my inner man) however recognizes the person standing before me is complete and whole all by himself in God alone - not dependent on me, but God. This immediately elevates my respect (in this case) for my son, to ask some questions as to what he needs money for. I might find myself saying no to him at times because I do not want to be dependent on his love and acceptance, and I would like for him to learn how to become creative in figuring something out for himself, to be dependent on himself and God. Money and my work will have nothing to do with the decision because it never was a part of his or my root in the first place.

While as a young boy, my son may enjoy a yoyo, but was he in fact missing a father who should have maybe played ball with him? Could it be that all he really needed was to know he was loved for who he is, and not something he needed to manufacture to find peace or happiness? Did he see my love for God or money? Did he see me buying things to help myself find happiness, and therefore just followed that pattern for himself? I believe so.

Be the watcher of your own mind. Don't just think before you speak or react, know before you speak or act. Ask yourself, am I giving or taking in this moment and in this situation?

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