Posts Tagged ‘Religious Narcissism’



Dealing with a Broken Heart

You are not aloneAA Slogan



I feel so broken and despondent.

My body writhes in despair,

Consumed with pain and anguish,

And I have a sense of hopelessness,

Which I fear will overwhelm me.

When will it ever end?

I wander aimlessly, without purpose,

Without understanding—devoid of joy,

Which was once mine in abundance.

My grief is ever before me,

Reminding me of my loss,

Robbing me of sleep,

Increasing my sorrow,

Telling me that I have failed.

Others console me by saying,

“It’s all for a purpose.”

My friends want to fix me

And lift the grief from my heart.

But they can’t; nothing seems to help.

Nothing seems to ease my pain—nothing at all.


I can pretend to comprehend, to understand,

And to grasp the lesson I am being taught,

But I don’t. I don’t understand at all.

My heart is broken, perhaps beyond repair,

And I fear that it will never mend.

I may never laugh or be joyful again.

In my despair and hopelessness,

I cry to You, begging for relief.

You hear, but You do not answer.

I beseech You, moaning and whining,

But You allow my pain to continue,

Each day—long into the night.

Rescue me Lord; rescue me quickly.

Put Your healing hand on my broken heart,

And make me whole once again.

Teach me my lesson so that

I need never repeat it again.

Take that which is broken and shattered

And mend it so completely that it will

Be whole and more resilient than ever.

Make my sadness become a distant memory.

Strengthen me so that I may

Bless Your name with gladness,


My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:17-23)

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Overwhelming Fearfulness


Don’t quit before the miracle happensAA Slogan




You know my troubles like no other,

And You understand my adversities.

You know that sometimes I become

So fearful my skin grows cold,

And it feels like I can hardly breathe.

My countenance shrinks and I feel helpless.

I’m afraid of so many things.

I’m afraid of people and of being alone,

Of never experiencing happiness again,

Of not having enough income to survive.


Father, it seems like the list never ends,

And I lack the power and strength to move forward.

I need You now—more than ever.

Help me. Be my strength, when I am weak.

Be my fortress, when my life crumbles around me.

You know I can’t rely on anybody but You.

At times I’m fearful that You don’t really care—

That You are not interested in helping me.

I want to be strong and confident,

But I am not, and I know that I’m not.

I acknowledge this as a shortcoming.

Give me Your strength and Your confidence.

Help me put one foot in front of the other—one day at a time.

I have nothing to sustain me but my trust in You,

Which I admit is tenuous and often very fragile,



For I am ready to fall, and my sorrow is continually before me. For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin. But my enemies are vigorous and strong; and many are those who hate me wrongfully, and those who repay evil for good. Do not forsake me, O Lord, O my God, do not be far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation. (Psalm 38:17-22)

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Finding Purpose in Sorrow


The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them—AA Slogan



Here I am once again,

At the end of myself,

Feeling like a fool,

Feeling like I haven’t learned a thing.

It seems as if I’ve been here so often

That it is my permanent dwelling place.

It seems like my times of sorrow and suffering

Have far surpassed my times of contentment.

Be gracious to me, O my God,

Let me know what You have in store for my life.

Assure me that my pain has been purposeful—

That my years have not been a total waste,

Devoid of meaning . . . devoid of value.

I want to cast my anxieties upon You

But when I do, this is not where they remain.

Instead, my fears haunt my mind constantly,

Exacting a terrible, debilitating toll,

Impacting every fiber of my being.

I want to be strong, but I am not.

I am so weak and so used to defeat

That sorrow has become my daily lot.


Rescue me, Father. Pour Your grace upon me.

Allow me to know joy in the days ahead.

Let my cup overflow with blessing.

Allow my life to once again have value.

Instruct me about what my future will hold,

With reassurance from Your Holy Spirit.

I fear that my days will end

Before any good will materialize,

Leaving a wasted, purposeless existence.

Without Your active intervention,

All will be lost and irredeemable.

I know this; I’m certain of it.

As I wake in the morning and retire at night,

This realization is ever before me,

But it is not where I want my life to be.

Neither is it Your desire for me,


Jack Watts


Arouse Thyself, why doest Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. Why dost Thou hide Thy face, and forget our affliction and our oppression? For our soul has sunk down into the dust; our body cleaves to the earth. Rise up, be our help, and redeem us for the sake of Thy righteousness. (Psalm 44:23-26)

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To thine own self be true—Shakespeare



Unlike most, I know I have it all together.

I am a person of substance and value.

People listen when I speak,

As words of wisdom roll mellifluously

From the essence of my being.

My life is an example for others to follow.

At least, this was who I considered myself to be.

Then, You came and shook my foundation,

Which was not built upon anything worthwhile.

Knowing my vulnerabilities and insecurities,

You rocked my world like no other.

In an instant—in a flash, I was undone.

I was not who I thought I was.

I was not what I claimed to be.


When You revealed me to myself,

I stood naked—laid bare before Your eyes,

Unable to hide my shortcomings from Your scrutiny,

From the truth of who I really was.

Broken, embarrassed, and unnerved,

I recoiled, consumed with shame and humiliation.

In my despair, those who claimed their loyalty

Abandoned me, while enemies delighted at my misfortune.

In an instant, Your blessings—the outward manifestation

Of all I thought to be of value—seemed to vanish.

No longer confident, I am fearful of the future.

Like no other, you have shaken me,

Revealing me to myself, and I am undone.


Father, when will this nightmare end?

When will it be enough?

When will Your heavy hand of discipline subside,

Restoring me to a life of peace, joy, and purpose?

Will Your pruning ever abate, or will it last a lifetime?

Only You know; only You have the answer.

Be merciful to me, for I have learned my lesson.

O, how I regret my arrogant, self-serving ways

That I was too foolish to see or to acknowledge.

I beseech You—Hasten the day of my restoration,

Lest my sorrows overwhelm me,




Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

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When we surrender to God, the journey begins—AA saying



I know You want me to trust You completely,

And I do—at least, most of the time.

Because of the things that have hurt me so deeply,

Coupled with of my feelings of worthlessness,

I struggle to believe that You love me—

That You accept me just the way I am,

Regardless of how wayward I have been.

I don’t see how You could—not really.

Perhaps this is why I whine and remain timid,

Even though Your desire is for me

To be resilient, strong, and self-assured.

I desire inner strength, but this is rarely an option.

Father, how could You love someone like me?

I simply cannot comprehend this; it is beyond me.

Such love surpasses my ability to grasp.


Your word says You love me despite everything,

Even when my self-defeating behavior

Has held dominion over me for so long.

As I recognize how faithful You are,

My trust increases and becomes sounder,

But it still isn’t where it needs to be—not really.

I pretend to be strong—to be supremely confident,

But I’m not nearly the person on the inside

That I appear to be on the outside.

I profess to be what I am not—

To be far more secure than I really am.

I even try to fool myself,

But You know each of my frailties,

Which I attempt to mask and carefully hide.

I don’t know why You care so much about me,

When I don’t care that much about myself.

This is a mystery I doubt I will ever grasp,

But I’m extremely grateful that You do.

In my quiet moments, which I attempt to avoid,

I try to comprehend such love and caring, but I cannot.

What I can do is accept it, and I do. Thank You,



O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou doest know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all. Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, and laid Thy hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is to high, I cannot attain to it. (Psalm 139:1-6)

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Leaving the Outcome to God

The results are in God’s hands—AA Slogan


Understanding Your leading is not always difficult.

You are crystal clear about so many things—

About honesty, fidelity, and caring for others.

With these, it impossible to misunderstand Your will,

But most of life isn’t this simple—

Nor is Your will that easy to discern.

It is not always crystal clear—

Not black and white—the way I wish it would like be.

Instead, it’s various hues of gray, making choices perplexing.

It seems like I am never clear about Your direction,

And yet You expect me to follow You blindly,

Putting my trust in You without reservation.

As I try to discern Your leading, I have been forced

To step out in faith and be bold many times,

Without any idea of what was ahead for me,

Or of what the results of my actions would be.

Nothing ever seems to end the way I think it should

Or the way I thought it would, forcing me to wonder

If I have understood You accurately. I wonder

If have I done nothing more than project my desires,

Calling them Your leading, when they really were not.

As I walk by faith, I rarely receive the answers I expect,

Which You could disclose to me but never seem to do.

I look at my situation, demanding to know the outcome,

While You already knowing what that will be.

Your ways are beyond my ability to discern.


As others view my life, scornfully mocking,

Delighting at what looks like my certain failure,

I can count on Your assurance that You know

What You have planned for my life.

No matter how contemptuously others may view my plight,

From the depth of my soul, Your voice constantly assures me

That You are in charge. You are God Almighty, and I am not.

As I acquiesce to You, my soul is quieted, and I become still.

When I obediently release the outcome to You,

I accept that I may look foolish to many, especially on the outside;

But on the inside—where it really counts—

I’m becoming incredibly strong in ways destined to have value.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Jack Watts

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Bottoming Out


I can’t handle it God; You take over—AA Slogan



My soul aches, and my spirit is weak.

Heartache has consumed me,

And I’m fearful of the future.

Those who know your Word much better than I,

Have rebuked me, chastening me

With contempt, ridicule, and shame.

In my heart, I have cowed before them,

Never questioning their motives or intent.

Slinking away in defeat and despair,

I have vowed to never return—to remain aloof

From them, from You, and from their religiosity.

I have wandered from You,

To a place where there is

No joy, no kindness, and no future.

Time has not been my friend.

My mistakes have brought me low.

My accusers know your Word,

But they don’t know your forgiving Spirit.

Father, I need Your help to return home,

To come back to where I belong,

To nurture a real and substantive relationship with You.

Strengthen me with power in the inner man.

Allow me to stand strong;

Allow me to be bold and confident;

Allow me to be the person you created me to be.

Don’t allow my accusers to continue having dominion

Over me, lest my future be as bleak as my past,




Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared. (Psalm 129:1-4)


Jack Watts

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God is interested in us being forthright—not in us being piously pretentious. God loathes hypocrisy—just like most of us do. He definitely understands adversity though, having experienced it through the suffering of His Son. This means God can and does empathize with each of us. This makes Him fully capable of meeting us exactly where we are, regardless of our situation, despite the level of our dysfunction. As difficult as it may seem to believe, He loves each of us exactly the way we are.

Recognizing this, while also coming to terms with it, is why I wrote Conquering Negative Self-Talk. It’s for wounded, hurting people—people just like you and me. It’s for those who believe they have very little to offer. It’s for people who have been crushed—for those who have had life knock the wind out of their sails. It’s for people who are in pain—for those who desire to reach out to God but lack the necessary words to express their deepest heartaches, apprehensions, and misgivings. Actually, this self-help workbook can benefit just about anybody, but it is especially useful for alcoholics, drug addicts, and codependents. So, if you are looking for something that will improve your life—a resource that will point you to God in the midst of crushing circumstances, when your self-worth is virtually non-existent, Conquering Negative Self-Talk is definitely for you.



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A Battle of the Wills


Not My Will but Yours—AA Slogan




I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

That You have not intended for me to have.

I’ve wanted them so badly

That I’ve come before You

Numerous times—pleading and begging—

Beseeching You to grant my desires.

And all You have done is to say “No.”

Refusing to accept Your answer as final,

I have continued my relentless complaining,

Insisting that You make my will be Your own.

In my stubbornness, I have maintained that

Right was wrong, and wrong was right,

While deceiving myself into believing

My purposes were noble—even altruistic.

I have ascribed righteousness to my desires,

As if seeking my goals was the pathway

To wisdom, contentment, and fulfillment.

In my foolishness, I have done my best

To convince myself that my way has been right,

But You remained adamant, refusing my demands.

Still unwilling to accept Your will over my own,

I have manipulated events until frustration

And exhaustion have overwhelmed me,

But You never budged nor wavered—not once.

Now, at the end of all my stubborn willful fretting,

I bow my knee and accept Your decision.

“No” it is, and “No” it shall be forevermore.

There are still parts of me that regret Your answer,

But You are in charge, and I am not.

Now that I have submitted myself

To Your purpose and direction rather than to my own,

I have begun to see things differently.

Finally, at the end of my stubborn willfulness,

I acknowledge that Your way is superior to my own,




You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3)

Jack Watts

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Changes in Your Circumstances


If you turn it over and don’t let go of it, you will be upside down—AA Slogan




When You want my attention,

You know how to get it.

There are times when I feel

Like You aren’t really there,

Like You don’t really care,

Like my life has little meaning, value or purpose.

Then, through my circumstances,

You shake me to the core, and I am undone.

That’s when You begin your relentless pruning.

At first, I don’t recognize what is going on,

And I cry out, ”Why me, Lord?”

I don’t like what is happening,

And I resist Your efforts to make me

Into the person You intend for me to be.

I want to be your man,

Strong, resourceful, and successful,

But I want it to come easily, with little effort,

But it never does—not for me, anyway.

I chafe, as You prune my immature ways,

With precision and focused determination.

When I recognize what is occurring,

I bow me knee and acknowledge,

That Your hand has been hard on me,

But Your purpose has never wavered.

When You have finished, You seem pleased

With what You have pruned, knowing that

I will become stronger, more fruitful person.


I am the vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. (John 15:1-4)

Jack Watts

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Life can be very difficult, especially for someone who is using. That addicted people need God’s help is obvious, or at least it should be. Nearly everybody who has been in recovery for any length of time acknowledges this. Living life on life’s terms can be tough for anybody, but especially for those trapped by their addictions. For these people, adversity can become overwhelming and debilitating. Their coping skills simply do not allow them to deal with life’s problems in an effective way.

Instead of accepting the responsibility for their actions, they make the choice to use—to act out. By not dealing with their problems appropriately, they create additional problems. This isn’t what they want, but it is what happens. As a result, family dysfunction and work related difficulties inevitably follow, creating a vicious, destructive cycle that affects people’s lives adversely.
Unable to cope with stress and difficulties in healthy ways, millions medicate their problems with alcohol, drugs, excessive prescriptions, inappropriate sexual relationships, over-eating, over-spending, and numerous other addictive vices. As they see it, it’s their only solution, their only alternative, and their only way out of intolerable situations.

Drinking and drugging provide these people with an unhealthy way to cope with life—a one-day reprieve from facing their troubles. It’s a quick fix that works for the moment, but in the long run, it creates far more problems than it solves. Those who choose to pursue this path cease to live lives that are meaningful. Instead, they simply exist from one day to the next, and the destructiveness of their behavior creates dysfunction for everyone who loves them. It also makes healthy people codependent by the millions—an unintended but predictable consequence.

The self-worth of alcoholics and addicts is very low, even if their outward behavior appears to be confident, self-assured, and upbeat. This is an illusion. Their lives are filled with guilt, shame, self-loathing, and self-condemnation. Some choose to blame others for their lot in life, doing their best to excuse themselves from being responsible for unacceptable behavior, but this doesn’t work well. Blaming others rarely does, and it certainly isn’t emotionally healthy.
Many live in denial, refusing to admit who they really are and what they have become. They desperately try to convince others their situation is not as bad as it is, going to extraordinary lengths to do so—often comparing themselves favorably to someone who is far worse off than they are. Somehow, this makes them feel better about themselves—at least for a while. They do this, even when the destruction from their lifestyle is obvious to everyone around them, especially to those who refuse to take their delusional thinking at face value.

Whether people trapped by their addictions are willing to admit it or not, their self-talk is nearly always negative. Even if it doesn’t appear to be this way outwardly, negativity reigns in their hearts, regularly informing them they have no worth. Believing they are of no value is a constant theme for alcoholics, drug addicts, and codependents—it’s never far from their minds. They routinely accept self-condemning disaffirmations as being accurate, whether self-imposed or from others.


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We must lose our fear of creditors no matter how far we have to go, for we are liable to drink if we are afraid to face them—Alcoholics Anonymous



I know You have not given me a spirit of fear.

Your Word assures me that You haven’t,

But that doesn’t mean I’m not fearful. I am.

Sometimes, my fear is so consuming

It sends a cold chill through my body—

Through my soul—through the essence of my being.

On the outside, it doesn’t show, but on the inside,

Where my insecurities make me vulnerable, I am undone.

Every fiber of my being quakes with foreboding,

Immobilizing me, consuming me with dread.

When will it end? When will my heart know peace?

When will terror of the unknown and of economic insecurity

Cease to grip my soul? They toss me about,

Robbing me of sleep, robbing me of purpose,

And robbing me of a productive life.


You know me intimately, Lord.

You know my thoughts and all my imperfections,

But I can’t find You in this dismal pit,

Which has become my daily existence.

Assure me that I will experience joy once again—

That I will regain my confidence—that I will smile confidently.

Don’t allow fear of the future to be my lot,

My portion, and my destiny for the rest of my life.


Father, You know my course, but I do not.

What will my future be? Will my disquietude ever abate?

Will tranquility be mine again, or just a distant memory?

The answers are not in my possession.

I have no control of events, even though I pretend I do.

My fearfulness robs me of my faith in You, and I don’t have

The strength to overcome this limitation.

You see me as I really am and not how I pretend to be.

I need Your help. Rescue me, Lord; rescue me quickly,

Lest apprehension consume everything of value in me,


So your life will hang in doubt before you; and you shall be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see. (Deuteronomy 28:66-67)

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Father, I Need Your Help


Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation—AA Slogan




I feel like a wounded gazelle,

Unable to fend for myself,

As hungry beasts surround me.

My demise seems certain,

And there is no place to hide.

My friends, those who call upon Your name,

Are nowhere to be found—

Just when I need them the most.

My love has abandoned me for another,

Never looking back—not once.

I am undone and badly crushed,

And those who seek what little is left,

Fight over the scraps of my being—

Over the pieces of my shattered life.

How long will You leave me exposed—

Vulnerable to ravenous predators—

To those who seek to destroy me?

Tell me, Lord, when will it be enough?

When will You protect Your wounded child?

When will You move Your mighty hand to help?

If You do not rescue me soon, there will be nothing left.

My head, which was once proud, now hangs in despair,

And my countenance is greatly diminished.

Terrifying apprehension of the future

Overwhelms me, and dread has become my lot.

I fear that my adversaries will have victory over me.

Provide me with a way through this thorny maze,

To a place that is safe and secure—

Free from turmoil, pain, and despair.


How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord, my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Let my enemy say, “I have overcome him,” lest my adversaries rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)

Jack Watts

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Scrupulous Honesty


There is pain in recovery; misery is optional—AA Slogan



When I come before You,

I dutifully pay lip service

To how awesome You are.

When I say it, I mean it—sort of.

I know it’s true, but I must admit

That what I’m really interested in is me.

I acknowledge Your sovereignty because

I want “things,” from You—lots of things.

I want You to bless me—

To make my life easier and, most of all,

To rubberstamp my will as Your own.

Nearly all of my prayers focus on

What You can do for me.

I’m interested in Your blessings—

Not in getting to know You better.

This is the truth, and I need to be honest.

I wish I were a better, more selfless person.

I wish I had more character than this, but I don’t.

Admitting the truth about who I am embarrasses me,

But You know my heart and what I’m really like.

I need You to continue making changes in me.

Teach me to seek You for Yourself,

And not simply for what You can do for me.

Give me a heart to yearn for wisdom,

Rather than just Your generous benevolence.

Teach me to look beyond my limited world

To think about the needs of others.

Give me a heart for someone other than myself.

I recognize my selfishness; it is ever before me,

But You are changing me from the inside out,

Helping me to become a better, more thoughtful person—

A person worthy to bear Your name,


Jack Watts


The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart. I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results on his deeds. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

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Taking Responsibility


A winner is a loser who keeps trying—AA Slogan




I don’t just believe I’ve been mistreated,

I know I have been mistreated.

And You know I’ve been wronged as well.

I’ve told You what happened repeatedly.

Everybody in my life knows my story.

Now that it has been a while since my wounding,

Everybody seems to have progressed

With their lives—everybody, except for me.

I remain stuck in my debilitating mindset,

Which has not changed appreciably,

Despite the passage of so much time.

It’s infuriating and unfair that I’m the one

Who continues to experience so much pain.

Those who used, misused, and discarded me

Should be the ones to pay, but they haven’t.

At least, I can’t tell that they have.

I’m the one that continues to churn in anger,

Languishing in bitter despair.

By refusing to move forward with my life,

I know I’m not hurting my abusers—not one bit.

I’m only hurting myself, and those around me.

It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all,

But I can no longer live like this.

I don’t want to waste my future harboring resentment,

Rehashing my drama repeatedly in my mind,

But it’s going to be difficult to get back on track.

I didn’t realize I had drifted so far from You.

I didn’t realize how willful I had become,

But now I do. It becomes clearer each day.

I have blamed others for my plight for so long,

That bitterness seems normal—even comfortable,

Which frightens me for what lies ahead.

Show me how to find my way back to You.

Because, without Your active, healing guidance,

My life will never amount to anything of value,



Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let you mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Jack Watts

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