Once I heard these words, I determined not to be included in this bunch of believers. So, at 22, I pursued a new type of knowledge. While my B. A. equipped me to analyze and communicate, 120 credits worth of liberal arts classes could never prepare me to live in a warzone.
I mean planet Earth.
The knowledge I pursued taught me to recognize 1) how and why my life got off course, 2) God’s course, and 3) too many Christians are encumbered by unseen realities.
Was I hallucinating? I didn’t think so. I had given up alcohol months before, after my cry-for-help-suicide attempt. Napping on the couch in my apartment living room was not an ordinary occurrence, but for whatever reason, I didn’t want to go into my dark, dingy, off-grounds bedroom. I had never heard of sleep paralysis. All I knew was that I struggled to wake up. I was consciously aware of being unable to move my body, and I could barely breathe. A dream, perhaps? I don’t think so because once I was able to open my eyes, I sat up wondering what the hell had happened. A few minutes later, it seemed that is what it was. Hell happened.
In the doorway between my kitchen and the bedroom hall, I saw my first demon. Now, I know some of you are really weirded out right now, but I bet there are those of you who have had strange experiences like this and never told anyone!
I stared at it as I sensed it staring at me. Black cloud substance shaped like a man. White holes where eyes should be and, believe it or not, what looked to be a priest’s collar. This three-second visitation prompted me to phone a friend and ask for prayer! Never again would I ever want an invasion of the dark side in my home again. This experience opened my eyes to an unseen reality that I never knew existed.
The other unseen realm that I would learn about as I grew older was the soul. I knew the real “me” lived inside the suit of my physical body, but I had had little teaching about my soul or my spirit. Are they the same? How is it that my thought life seems to affect my emotions? What does it mean to be spiritually minded? Those of you who read my books will see that triune health, realignment of the spirit, soul, and physical body to God’s design and intent, is one of my passions. I have said it before, and I will say this phrase for the rest of my life: “Individual wholeness has corporate benefits.”1 For the family unit. For communities. For over thirty years, I have learned about God’s process of bringing people into an awareness of where they are (brokenness) in regard to where He wants them to be (whole.) Currently, I mentor a few women who realize they have been out-of-joint spiritually or emotionally and, therefore, not able to experience the fullness of abundant life that Jesus purchased for them. I steer them towards shalom.
How did my life get off course? Well, like yours did, LOL. When our spirits received their humanity in our mother’s wombs, we became infected by sin, generational memories, and curses. We inherit everything! Good and bad. Skills and sickness. Talents, trauma effects, and triggers. Consider the environment we are introduced to that involves economics, education, national issues. Every sphere, system, and mechanism of society greets us before our cognitive processes can decipher where they are constructive or destructive to our wellbeing.
Because of this impartation (or indoctrination), you and I made decisions along the way that we’ve regretted. Shame and perfectionism mask the ugliness that we haven’t wanted to face. But our maladaptive behaviors and coping mechanisms affect the people we love. And the people we try to like. So, we must embrace change. A constructive trajectory. God’s course toward triune health.
This means that to get to our metaphorical promised land, we must navigate the war zone of unseen realities. Like Frodo, we must embrace our part in destroying that which attempts to destroy us. Be willing to let God tell us to leave our Ur (Genesis 11, 12), the land of our fathers. Or be catapulted like Saul (Acts 9) into our redemptive destinies, which will require changes, if not our names, then what images we embrace.
My post title is the English Standard Version of Hosea 4:6. If you read the rest of the passage, you see that the end for “My people” wasn’t good. They got what they deserved because they rejected the truth that God presented.
Brothers and sisters, my desire is that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers (3 Jn 1:2). I don’t want you to incur unnecessary hardship or carry inherited baggage that is not your fault! I want you to be prepared and equipped to move into 2021 with the fullness of God’s love and power. I want you to be whole. Spiritually mature. Emotionally healthy. And physically glorifying the Son in all of your ways. If you want this too, then ask God to teach you all that you have not known nor understood but need to know and understand.