Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Resting Place

I have had a strange thought growing in my heart over the past couple of months and it is this.
I want to be a resting place for God.
I am tired of living in restlessness. I will not continue to live my spiritual life like a fast food drive through burger place. I want to stop and unpack my life before God and others, I want to go in and sit down and dine with no time in mind. You may think, Brian, God already knows you, what you think, do and don't do, and what you say before you say it. You are correct but that wonderful theological thought leaves no room for me to be personally responsible for being vulnerable with others and Him.
I think of it like this. If you have ever been listening to a song and in your mind you can sing along, every word, every note, and perfect in tune. Until... You actually sing out loud! At that point you realize that you do not know what you thought you knew. Personal responsibility set in because you became vulnerable to yourself or maybe others around you when you acted on your thought.
I have spent most of my walk with God thinking it but not acting on it, living out of a back pack but complained because I did not ever feel I was at home. I realize that if I want to call a place home then I need to unpack and live there. I have never been at a place to where I was willing to unpack and settle down. I am at the point where I am not satisfied living out of a backpack or suitcase like I am at some sleepover with God. I want to move in and unpack all of me with Him and with others that I have chosen to do life with and those that He has placed in my life. 
A friend gave me a CD to listen to this week and it hit home even deeper. As I was listening to Jack Frost I realized that living out of rest or restlessness is attached directly to my level of security. When I find myself in overdrive with restlessness, anxiety, frustration, which leads me to perform for my identity rather than from my identity it is because I feel insecure or threatened in some form or fashion.
I am learning to rest, I am shifting my lifestyle to line up with that of rest and I am feeling the fruit of this change in my life. I am making a choice to live differently. At times it is not easy because the world says go faster, people say go faster, church says go faster , and even preachers tell us to go faster, do more, be more and so on and so on.
This past Christmas some one in my church family jokingly said they were going to get me a pillow because I rested so much. What a compliment to get from someone.They will never know how hard it has been for me to rest from my labor at trying to be somebody so I did not have to face my insecurities. My first step was to rest from always doing stuff and now my second step is to learn to do thing in rest. I am learning to take rest with me into all situations. This lifestyle has fueled my passion to be a place of rest for me, family, God and others.
Matt 3:16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
Oh God, I ask you to help me be a place of rest for you rest upon. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Strongholds

Psalms 91 talks about Him being our stronghold. I have wanted Him to be this for and to me for a very long time but never really knew what it meant. I have lived in negative strongholds most of my life. Ones of fear, sexual addiction, not being good enough, trust no one but yourself, if you need something to get done then you must do it yourself, thinking that what I possessed or did was who I am as well as many others.

I was ok living in these safe strongholds until several years back. They had kept me alive for many years, they made me feel safe and protected but then they began to smother me. I wanted free from them and could not get free so I spent enormous amounts of time and energy trying to get free but could not. The feeling of not being able to get free when I wanted free sent me into a deep state of depression. I tried everything I could and nothing seemed to work so I tried God.

My thought was that if He could not do it then I was beyond hope. Along my journey I saw small pieces of freedom but no real change, I always seemed to go back to my old way of living. Here are some of the things I tried:
  • New steps to freedom CD lessons, thinking that if it worked for him or her it will work for me.
  • Fasting and prayer, surely if I do this it will give me the breakthrough I want.
  • Be faithful, surely if I do all the right things for God then this will please Him and He will set me free.
  • Just be good, if I am a good person most of the time then this will earn me a breakthrough.
  • Work harder, I am not working hard enough to get what I want so I need to work harder, longer and faster.
  • Positive thinking, surely if I think positive then it will happen.
  • Have faith, if I have enough faith then this will work for me.
  • Speak the right things, I only need to talk about what I want to see come to pass then it will happen.
  • Being sorry, if I am sorry enough for what I have done and cry enough then God will hear me.
 I actually began to think that these strongholds were who I was and that I would continue to live like this my whole life.  Therefore I embraced the message that I am just a sinner saved by grace and this is my journey in life until I go home to be with God in Heaven. By the way this felt really good but offered me no freedom.
I recently learned some things that have helped me a lot. The primary reason that I never got free from strongholds is because I secretly in my heart had made a place for that stronghold to live in safety. I claimed to love the light of God but really loved darkness rather than light.

As I began to accept personal responsibility for my choices and the reality of where I was this became to platform for transformation. The stronghold never had to leave because I on a heart level gave it permission to live there. I was so concerned about not facing reality and living disconnected from personal responsibility that the stronghold had a safe place to live. So lately I have been accepting personal responsibility for my life and my choices.

 I have been dealing with things that I have always ran from and it is hard. It is very difficult to allow myself to be vulnerable to others but at the same time I am seeing my life transformed from the inside out. I am seeing the power of these strongholds become weaker and weaker by the day.

I see now that I wanted God to free me from the outside consequences of the strongholds but He wanted to get to the root issue of why that stronghold had a place to live in me in the first place. He so lovely and gently has helped me over the years find truth and freedom. It is a process and requires you revealing the dark secrets of your heart to another person because this is where you truly find God, hope healing, freedom and yes sometimes more hurt.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Childhood Dream

 On June 15th 2012 U.S. The 33-year-old tightrope walker Nik Wallenda crossed Niagara Falls walking with nothing but a balancing pole to keep him from plunging to his death from the thin wire 200 feet above the largest waterfall in America. Cheered on by throngs of spectators he successfully fulfilled one of his two childhood dreams. Wallenda completed this childhood dream because he remained focused, braving the intense winds, damp spray and had determination to not give up.

I think most humans are born with or grow into a childhood dream in some shape form or fashion. Dreams are simple yet complicated in nature, they are easy to talk about but hard to live out, they are are easy to move towards but painful to take hold of. They are designed to filet us open so that our true insides are revealed, they make us vulnerable to our relationships and environment. They also have a profound effect on helping us get in touch with the deepest part of us.

It is my personal opinion dreams are meant to do two primary task in the heart of an individual:

One, they take you forward into the future. They propel you through life giving you energy and drive, they tend to keep you alive in many ways. I think that most of the world at large walks in this phase of dreams. Everyone has dreams, most people will talk about their dreams but few people actually live in their dreams. Dreams are like the foundation of a house for our lives, everyone notices the house but gives no thought to the most important part, the foundation.

Two, they also take you deeper into the reality of life, the reality of your own personal choices, personal time management, proper life planning, secret motivations and motives of your heart. I see this phase of dreams as the foundation comprised of steel re-bar and thick layers of concrete, these natural elements when mixed and aligned properly sustain the whole building.

 I have lived my life carrying within me a childhood dream. The two thoughts that have never left my heart and mind are:
One, that I would change the lives of people world wide.
Two, is that I was created to do great things and to make a world changing difference in my life time.

This has also become a lifetime burden because I have felt called to do things that I could never accomplish or complete regardless of how hard I tried. Therefore, I have lived most my life frustrated and angry because I felt called to do things that I would never do. I felt much like the donkey who had a carrot dangling in front of him. No matter how hard he tried he would never get to taste it but would only see it before him.

I recently arrived at the understanding that I have believed I could live with two masters while pretending to have only one. I have compartmentalized most of my life so that I could justify my pretend tight rope walking lifestyle. As I was reading Matthew 6:24 I clearly see what Jesus meant when He said you can not serve two masters! You will love one and hate the other but you can not serve both at the same time!

Nik Wallenda not only talked about his dream with others but he took action on it, he opened himself up for complete failure or success. I have been afraid to fully go after something that I wanted because of what I would look like if I failed. I hear Jesus saying to me to either give myself fully to life or don't but do not continue to do it half way.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Alive Again 6

Psalms 91 speaks of us dwelling in the shelter of the Most High and resting in the shadow of the Almighty, it speaks of provision, protection and promises that would make the most insecure, fearful person sleep well at night. If these things are available and on the table for me to have through Christ then how come I do not have them in my life? Why do I live the opposite of this reality?
This past weekend as I spent time with this thought I begin to realize that I have called my dwelling place that of God because of Christ but my reality is that I housed the enemy in secret rooms like a stowaway on a vessel, I have created strongholds for darkness to live and find safety in. On one hand I claim to walk in the light as He is in the light but my reality is that I love darkness and keep it hidden like the treasured spoils under the tent of my life.
I am becoming fully aware of these things now which produce fruit of the softest kind. What once was a soft place of protection, provision and security has now become a ragging lion of dark secrets to dwell with. The choices I have made have released a poison into my life that affects everything I touch, taste, smell, hear, and see. I believe that the goal of this attack was to infect my entire blood line from the inside out. If you want to crumble a kingdom them get in on the inside and infect it from the inside out.
Years ago I allowed darkness to walk right through the front door of my life. I thought that grace and mercy would understand, that love would permit me as sinner to have these things in my life, I thought that forgiveness would make everything better and cover everything up. However true the above things may be what I did not intend on happening is that the darkness I kept hidden and made a safe place for it to live in my life would grown. Yes, like a cute cuddly lion cub now has grown into a stalking beast. I spend all my time trying to train and reason with it in order to keep it under control.
This beast does not leave regardless of how hard I have tired. I have fasted, read my bible, used the name of Jesus, had faith people pray over it and me, tried to be good enough, tried to act nice enough, tired to do enough good deeds, tired cutting edge principles that claimed to work for other people and even tried ministry thinking this would do the trick because ministry after all is what makes God happy and solves all problems. The greatest event of failure has come to me because the beast overtook me, during my breakdown weeks ago I felt hopelessly overran and defeated.
But I am still here, I am not just here but I am stronger than ever before. I realize that God is dwelling place and I do not want other things to have a strong hold in my life. I do not want to hide darkness so I am opening every window, door, gate, hatch and crawl space in my life. I am allowing the light of God to go everywhere in me. No more skeletons in my closet, whatever falls out falls out. I am allowing every secret to be seen by others, no more hiding, no more games no more depending on grace and mercy to allow me to live locked away in darkness while pretending to live in the light.
I know my words are strong. I am aware that my thoughts are raw. I am not living in self condemnation nor regret but in truth of reality called the Holy Ground of Personal Responsibility. This is my burning bush. I have never been here before, it was always someone else's fault or a situational issue but not any more. It is what it is. I am responsible for my own life and for the choices I have made. I have been asking for God to bless me in my darkness so that I can feel better about me having the strongholds I have. I was asking God to become darkness to get me out of my darkness and now realize that He is the God of Light and does not change because a house can not be divided against itself or else it will fall.