Some of us notice that the same patterns and same storylines keep coming up as we get older. Some of us make New Year’s resolutions, or write down our goals, or pray and light candles and hope that something — God, the universe — intervenes and just fixes us. But often, the toxic relationships we want to stop getting into keep recurring. The anger continues to boil over. The anxiety and self-doubt keep on waking us in the night. Around in circles we go: we see the pattern, we make the promise to change, life happens, and we’re back at the start. We think we’ve taken some of the right steps, and we’re not sure why we’re the same.
According to psychologist and ordained Christian minister Richard P. Krummel, there are four parts to the ultimate solution: intellectual, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual. To address our issues, he writes in Fear, Control and Letting Go: How Psychological Principles and Spiritual Faith Can Help Us Recover from Our Fears, we must work on each part in order to ultimately make change happen.
Krummel discusses how, ultimately, fear is at the root of almost every issue, and how the four parts all play their own role in either sustaining our fears or overcoming them. “For example,” he writes, “a man knows that he will not die from apologizing to his spouse (the intellectual), but he is afraid to apologize (the emotional) and does not want to apologize because he has a habit of not apologizing (the behavioral). When we behave with high levels of fear, we do not live in faith (the spiritual).”
Life experiences and interactions with others influence our development of fears, anxieties, and insecurities, Krummel writes. In the book, he provides both psychological and spiritual tools to treat and overcome these problems.
The tools that Krummel provides in both the psychological and spiritual sections of the book cover a wide range of areas. He devotes an entire section to exploring the importance and use of affirmations, and also provides exercises for creating your own personal affirmations. Another tool is what he calls “Think of an Audience.” You should, he writes, treat yourself the way you would a child or the way you would if there were an audience present. It is unlikely that you would berate yourself in front of a large audience, so why do it in the quiet of your mind?
Throughout the book, Krummel emphasizes the importance of reminders. Whether they are affirmations you repeat to yourself every time you brush your teeth, or sticky notes you place throughout your home to remind you of your goals, they play, he writes, an important role in sustaining progress.
The spirituality section of the book focuses much on the importance of faith in recovery. Krummel provides an interesting chart that compares the characteristics of fear versus faith — such as pride versus humility, or resentment versus forgiveness. Resentment versus forgiveness is a topic that Krummel explores in depth in its own chapter, which allows for a deeper look at how these characteristics hinder or help us. He includes a forgiveness exercise and chart to assist the reader in pursuing forgiveness of others. He also emphasizes the importance of acceptance: acceptance of the life situations at hand, acceptance of life experiences, and acceptance of where a person is in their journey to recovery.
Recovery does not take place overnight, he writes, and it is important to acknowledge the progress that has been made and accept the place where you are in your own journey.
Krummel’s approach is straightforward. He does not overwhelm the reader with scientific terms, psychological jargon, or religiosity. His tone is compassionate and inviting, and he peppers the book with personal experiences and with stories from his patients.
As someone who has always sought the spiritual side of life, I found Krummel’s book appealing. The combination of the psychological and spiritual lends truth and strength. And, most important, Krummel’s concrete examples make his tools extremely clear. The book is not just a collection of rhetoric or theory, but can be applied directly to your life.
And for the reader who is interested in pursuing spiritual growth along the same lines as Krummel, I recommend a follow-up book: Jack Frost’s Spiritual Slavery to Spiritual Sonship. It is a deep exploration for the Christian who wishes to see radical change in their spiritual life.
Fear, Control, and Letting Go: How Psychological Principles and Spiritual Faith Can Help Us Recover from Our Fears
WestBowPress, February 2013
Paperback, 284 pages