A Prayer Drama is a ritual of release and transformation to generate transformation of personality issues and patterns. People Pleasing is one example of a personality pattern that could be the target of a prayer drama to trigger transformation.
I learned about the use of the Trading Post from my extensive immersion in Psychodrama led by Dorothy Burwell at University of Toronto. She establishedthe drama of The Trading Post by saying it was somewhere that one could exchange one thing about themselves and receive something new in exchange. This was enacted in a role play in the Psychodrama class. The Trading Post is used in therapy or prayer without acting it out physically but in one’s imagination. In prayer the Trading Post is a place where we meet Jesus as the trader in a trading post. There we can exchange by giving him something of ourselves and receive his gift in exchange. A prayer drama is a prayerful form of an internal psychodrama. When use the Trading Post Prayer Drama? 1. It can be used to dramatize the letting go of a burden and the taking up of a lighter burden from Jesus. A heavy burden might mean several different things to a person such as responsibilities. The heaviness it represented by a large heavy pack that is left with Jesus. 2.It can be used to leave behind an unwanted attitude. 3.It can be used to leave behind an old personality pattern and receive a new one. Use this drama for that purpose we are asking for and seeking an identity shift and using heart language to walk through asking and receiving that. What is a Personality Pattern?
In childhood we often get knocked off course. At some point, whether in the first year of our life or a few years later something happens and we stop being the authentic, creative, spontaneous child that we were or that we could have been.
Instead we start enter into a mold not fully of our own making but in response to the lack of acceptance of our spontaneous self. The pattern that replaces our authentic nature is our personality.
The work of Inner Healing and Life Transformation is to consciously participate in pealing away the layers of suppression and to encourage the re-emergence and expression of the Inner Child.
Our personality patterns are build up from perspectives gained from our early life. Significant experiences of our childhood laid down perspectives and expectations of work, people and love. These perspectives shape how we see things in our life. The expectancies shape our motivation and action. Our perspectives, expectations, motivations and drives become part of our personality that displaces our true identity. In the Trading Post one’s clothes are used to represent our personality. Your old clothes are taken off and left with Jesus and He gives you and new set of clothes representing your new identity. My People Pleaser Personality Pattern
At the core a People Pleaser has the heart conviction that love is conditional. Mother wanted a ‘good child’ for her eldest and signalled her disapproval by withdrawing love and attention when I crossed the line. For me People Pleasing meant being a good boy. That is exactly what mom and dad wanted, wasn’t it? ‘I have to be a good boy in order to be loved,’ was my central command perspective. That meant:
that I always needed to observe other people to see what is expected.
I never know if I am accepted or not. So if someone criticized my work. I must have done something wrong.
In school I learned that it was good to get the right answer and avoid wrong answers.
Since learning meant getting the right answer and avoiding wrong answer, I came to believe that every question has a right or wrong answer. I developed black and white thinking.
If I am not getting it right then maybe no one will ever love me.
I lost my belief that there was real love in the world. Although a deep part of me kept looking.
I was anxious about the possibility of failure and depressed that I did not have unconditional love.
Once I was firmly entrenched into this pattern of expectations, beliefs, perspectives, and motivations, my personality pattern was fixed in place and was to be my home. Of course, life experiences tended to confirm my beliefs and expectations. Once you are striving to earn love it becomes almost impossible to experience unconditional love. I did not know I had a People Pleasing personality pattern. I did not know how much harm it was doing. I did not know that I needed help so why would I ask. But God is part of my story and lead me to the freedom that I did not know I needed. I was at Camp Caroline, Alberta for training in Inner Healing by John and Paula Sandford.Their lecture on Performance Orientation was my wake up from my slumber. There was a flash of recognition. That was me! That night I acknowledged my personality pattern and got prayer. The next week is when I noticed that something had changed. I was not longer trying to figure out what each person expected of me. The burden of pleasing everybody had lifted. The recovery from People Pleasing, however, would go on for years after that. I had to shed a lot of old habits, discover my own thoughts, tastes, and feelings. In time I found my voice and discovered more completely who I am in Christ. I am no longer always trying to please others. I have become my own person. Ironically, as I break away from the belief that all love is conditional, I am more able experience love. My ability to love others is being nurtured. The Trading Post Prayer Drama
The Trading Post is to be used as a drama to express to God one’s heart’s desire to let go of an identified personality pattern or other burden. Bt using the imagination in a drama the heart is involved and the Holy Spirit can anoint the action with dynamic power. For example, if you recognize the People Pleaser and want to trigger a change, you can make use of the Trading Post drama to signal this to Jesus. How to use of The Trading Post as a Prayer Drama You can enter into this through a variety of steps. 1. First write down your observations about the pattern you want to change. The purpose of this is to be clear and open about what you want to deal with. 2. Declare: "Jesus you are my Lord and Saviour, My Healer and Deliverer and I want to exchange my (name burden or issue) for what you have for me." 3. Imagine yourself with in as a traveller who is walking along a trail in through a forest, across rivers and over hills carrying a heavy pack. This heavy pack represents your burden. What you are wearing represents who you are - your old personality. Get in touch with how you feel on this journey, carrying this pack and dressed as you are. What is going through your mind. Do you notice the beauty of the mountains and hills, the trees, the sky? Do you hear the birds singing? Up ahead you notice a large log cabin off from the trail. As you draw near you read the sign carved in wood: “Trading Post.” Do you go in? This is where you can make an exchange. You go in and the old trader behind the counter is asking if you have anything to trade. Do you want to make an exchange? You put on the counter whatever you want to trade in. Is it your heavy pack? Is it the clothes that you are tired of wearing everywhere and all the time? ‘My name is Jesus,’ says the trader. ‘Wait here.’ He takes your stuff out behind and is gone for a moment. You don’t know what to expect next but he seems a kindly person. He comes back with his new stuff: different clothes or a new pack. Can you try this on. Yes. Go ahead these are yours. You try it one. How does it feel? You like it. You thank Jesus and head back to your journey. As you leave, thank him again. 4. How do you feel as you return to the trail. Notice all the differences for a few minutes of walking. You stop to let the feeling sink in. You feel some dramatic changes and you found a good place to rest for a moment.You stop, pull out your journal and begin to write down what you are feeling. 5. At the end of your journey for the day you settle into a nice cabin with a table and chair. You think more deeply about your feelings and how they signify your new identity. You write ‘I am’ statements for each feeling to more fully experience your new identity. As you go to sleep you are thinking about tomorrow’s adventures and picturing what a day in your new clothes and new identity would be like. You sleep well. How would this work with my People Pleasing
I start by declaring Jesus as Lord, Saviour, Healer and Deliverer of my People Pleasing pattern. This pattern where I had not developed my own identity and had passively let others define who I was as I sought to please and placate them.
I picture hiking up the mountain trail with big hiking boots, heavy wool pants, and a huge pack with way too much for this trip. This represents the pain of a life without my own voice and where I failed to develop my authentic identity in Christ. In spite of map and compass I feel confused about my direction and unclear as to where I am.
I spot to large log cabin with the porch our front. The sign is carved in wood and in the shape of a fish. It says ‘Trading Post’ and the proprietor is Jesus the Nazarene. I try to look in the windows and draw nearer.
A bright peaceful looking man with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips comes out the door. He wore a carpenters apron over his jeans and t-shirt. He doesn’t stop but walks right up to me and gives me a warm hug. I relaxed and smiled. I don’t remember ever feeling this good in my whole life.
“Do come in, George, and make yourself at home.” I gladly follow him into this place with a warm woodsy feel inside. I didn’t ask him how he knew my name because it felt like he really knew me better than I knew myself. That was just the feeling I had.
There was a fireplace. Some wooden tables. Some shelves with traveller’s wares and a long wooden counter. There was no cash register.
Jesus went behind the counter. “Is there some exchange I can do for you?”
“You might like a lighter outfit and a pack that is easier to carry. Trade yours in and I promise you something suited to you. With this pack and outfit you can cover a lot of ground in a day and still feel rested. Oh, and don’t worry. There is no charge. Everything here has been paid for already by a very loving and generous sponsor who loves travellers.”
He showed me the changing room and I smiled at the thought of travelling light. It was not like me. I always packed too much, just in case. I nodded and head right over to the change room and began to take off my heavy wooden britches and many layers of sweaters and coats. Something in me has always been waiting for an adventure like this and was moving ahead without a moments hesitation.
Jesus handed my the outfit he has for me and it really has style - a style that suited me. I could almost cry. I realized I had never worn something that was right for me. For many years I was wearing hand-me-downs from my cousin. After that I just did not notice my appearance. I swallowed a lump in my throat.
The pack was so light that it was unimaginable. I don’t know how he fit all the right stuff in that light pack that seemed no burden at all!
When I was ready to move on I expressed my gratitude to Jesus. Then he told me that this was a turing point for me and it was not about clothes. It was about me caring about myself enough to invest in my own identity, talents, thinking and voice. Jesus said it was important that I stop compromising myself to others and be myself and serve the Heavenly Father and His kingdom.
As I walked off, I absorbed what he said. And he was right. I felt different - like a different person - a person I could respect. These clothes felt wonderfully light. Walking was so easy now. And the hills and the sky and the woods seemed to be dancing as I went. It was awesome. The trees were dancing as if delighting in the new me.
Bible References: Jesus said, “Come unto me you that are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Paul gives us his theology of exchange in these passages:
In Romans 6:6 “For we know this: our old being has been put to death with Christ on his cross, in order that the power of the sinful self might be destroyed, so that we should no longer be the salves of sin.”
Galatians 2:19 “I have been put to death with Christ on his cross, so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.”
Ephesians 4:22 “So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to - You must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness, and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.”
Colossians 3:9 “for you have put off the old self with its habits, and have put on the new self.”
The Theology of Sanctification Being made holy, healthy and whole is essentially making peace with God, removing every barrier to communion - removing any idols that stands between us and the one true God. The Trading Post is one way to do sanctification at the heart level. Using this drama is choosing to use this heart language to do business with God. Look at it closely and you will find you are dealing with idols of the heart and creating peace with God. The People Pleaser pattern is a sinful self that makes people into idols. One serves and fears people rather than God. When I dealt with my People Pleaser pattern I acknowledged the pattern and shared it with my pastor. He prayed with me for the end of the pattern. That worked to trigger the process of letting go of that way of living. By dealing with my People Pleasing, I was cleaning up a pattern that separated me from my loved ones and from God. As a result I could experience closer relationships with people and with God. For complete sanctification I would continue to ask God if there was anything else between me and God. The process of being made holy, healthy and whole is ongoing. The outcome of completing the process of sanctification is a deep sense of peace with God associated with a deep flow of the Holy Spirit into and through my life. By opening up the channel of my heart the Holy Spirit could flow freely in my life.