More spiritual warfare overcome

Okay so an INCREDIBLE thing happened, at least in my eyes.

It has been difficult for me to take time to share with you what I feel to be evidence of God, because I hate to present information that is easily explainable by other means.  I have lots of moments day-by-day that I feel connect me with whatever/whoever God is.  But it’s mostly based on faith due to what I’ve been through for years.  Stuff that if I were to share, you could easily say it’s all in my head.  But what happened last night gave me something worth sharing, something hard to refute, how perfectly aligned everything was.

To start, last month, I was going to do join some friends in some venture in north St. Louis to hand out clothes and basic necessities to homeless folks on the street.  It was on a Saturday morning, and the night before, I decided to have a margarita at dinner.  I ate plenty of food and drank plenty of water before bed, but somehow it wasn’t enough, and in the morning I didn’t feel 100%.  I hadn’t been able to sleep much either for some reason.  I also only got up in enough time to get ready, so I didn’t have breakfast, therefore I was feeling pretty crappy after we’d been serving for a couple hours.

A month later, scheduled for today, we were to do this again, and I was determined to be more prepared last night.  I avoided snacks and alcohol before bed, and fell asleep before 11 PM, planning to have breakfast in the morning after a full night’s rest, therefore being in tip-top shape to serve people in the morning.  I woke up at 130 AM, however, and just couldn’t fall back asleep.  For no reason.  Wide awake.  And not long after waking up, I started worrying about my financial situation.  I am in tremendous debt, which seems to constantly revolve/increase and not improve.  Additionally, I had learned the day before that one of my younger cousins makes over 40K because she got hooked up with a secretary job at some law firm through a friend, something I could easily do if given the opportunity, and was having a hard time not being jealous.  Even reminding myself that money is no measurement of happiness, it seemed unfair, so I was thinking about that when I woke up as well.  Worrying that I’ll never get out of debt and will never get to move out of my parents’ house again because of my mistakes in life.

Finally, after like 2 hours, I made it a point to do something about my feelings.  I searched that specific job title on career sites, and realized that I can get a high-paying job- not even close to 40K, but still more than I make now- if I want to.  Furthermore, I thought about the job I have now, where I’ve only been for less than 3 months and has been very promising for advancement once I complete my temporary assignment.  I felt at peace again, remembering to put my faith in God’s will and grace, and prayed to him to give me peace and comfort and faith and promising I won’t give up even if it gets hard sometimes to believe I’m on the right track with him.

Still, after assuring myself of this, I just couldn’t fall asleep.  At least another hour went by.  It was around 4 by now.  I thought about my mission for the morning and how I’d taken every precaution to succeed, and yet for no reason was being held back from the sleep I required for the task.  I wondered if it was another situation where some demon is trying to derail my plan for God’s glory.  I said aloud, something like this, “Devil, you have no place here.  You’re not going to stop me from going there tomorrow.  You need to get the fuck out of here and let me sleep.”  Finally, I fell asleep, but for such a short time.  The plus side is, I became lucid finally, it’s been so long!  But I didn’t remember my mission.  There was some girl in the room, in some house with closed doors, and I told her, “Oh but this isn’t the house.”  She understood what I meant, which is that it was a dream, and she said “Oh,” in recognition of what I said.  “What do we do then?” she asked.  I told her I didn’t remember.  The dream changed to a slight nightmare, in a different scene, and then I woke up.  This time, instead of battling the devil, I handed the sword to God.

I prayed that he would cast out whatever demon was in my way, and help me to get the sleep that I desperately needed at this point.

A few minutes later, I fell asleep.  No memory of what I dreamed.  This was around 5 AM.  Woke up to my alarm at 7 AM and started to load up my car with the many bags of clothes my family had given me to donate to the cause, feeling like I had the energy to face the day, despite only getting 4 hours sleep, divided by a huge time gap.  Once the trunk was completely full and I had to resort to putting additional bags in the backseat, something occurred to me: No wonder some demon didn’t want me to be ready for this.  I have a lot to give!  I started the car and said, “Satan, you lost.”  I headed over to meet at Tiffany’s house.

After we had completed our venture, Tiffany told me she had woken up at 130 last night and felt really anxious.  She couldn’t fall back asleep and had no idea why she felt anxious, and it didn’t feel like it had anything to do with her.  For some reason, she thought of me, and prayed for me.  Then she watched some podcasts of sermons that she likes, because she still couldn’t sleep.  She fell asleep around 5 AM.

How incredible.  We woke up at the same time, and she thought of me in the thick of her anxiousness, and prayed for me, then she fell asleep at the same time that I finally did.  And in the end, evil lost the battle!  Both Tiffany and I had fought through prayer, completely unaware of the others’ actions, at the exact same times.

I’ve been told that in order to overcome spiritual warfare, you have to push through.  And we did.  And almost all the clothes I brought to the donation site were taken by people who truly needed them.  We had a table full of women’s clothes, and it was nearly empty in comparison by the time the crowd died out.  All the toothbrush/toothpaste/floss packages were gone, and both blankets were gone as well.

The next three sentences might sound egotistical at first, but bear with me, as to me it is simply reasoning for why something was trying to keep me from going to St. Louis today: Without my presence, those donated items simply wouldn’t have been there.  Without my presence, 10 people would still be without the means to clean their teeth.

Without my presence, evil would have won.  And I’ve come to a point where I credit that to God.

Like I’ve said, whatever works.  Results reveal truth.  And whatever works is what I’m going to do.

Advertisements

Revolution, not dissolution

I’ve had to remind myself that almost no one knows who I am.  So that makes me freer to just say what I want.  But I’m still a bit inhibited.

There is one thing that is crazy from my early childhood that is one thing I’ve always wondered about.  I don’t even feel prepared to tell about it right now.  So moving on.

One of the ways I “feel” “God” is when something lines up perfectly.  Not just talking about the really strange coincidence-appearing things, but when something simply lines up in just the way you need it to, or something that was just too perfect to not be the following scene in a movie.  Like seeing some plan lay itself out.  What about all the details in between?

I struggled with the question for years: Is it all fate or all random?  Or the whole action-reaction law of physics and nothing supernatural?  Who are we to define supernatural, anyway?  We didn’t make it.  And we can’t even pretend to really understand anything.  It’s like every year we discover how we were wrong in SO many ways.  And yes, there is a recent boom in history where we all suddenly learned and made improvements at a much higher rate than like the 1800’s and back.  Has a lot to do with the increased and improved modes of communication and travel.  More connections have been made, and we’re getting collectively smarter.  But still, this has only just begun.  Think of how much we’re gonna know in only ONE HUNDRED YEARS at this current rate of exponential expansion of consciousness, assuming we don’t kill each other off by then, intentionally or otherwise.  We know so much, but we’re still such idiots, and I cannot count on my human understanding. 

That’s why I identify with the idea of following Jesus as much as I do: My personal deepest instincts happen to line up with those teachings.  One of my favorite philosophies is keeping in mind that I don’t really understand anything and need to remain open-minded no matter what.  Do not count on human understanding.  Reach for higher light as much as you can.

It might not be about half the world being dark signs of the end.  What if the revolution of kingdoms comes around as a result of the other half having become so much stronger and deeper in their spiritual growth?  It’s something to consider because at the same time that things seem to be going to Hell, the remaining parts are becoming stronger to compensate and overcome.  Does Jesus’s second coming really occur because we get in such desperate need of him, or could it be that we become strong enough to make him appear and take over evil once and for all?  We don’t know that much about the end.

1) Be ready to serve

2) Focus on strengths

3) Be part of the reason there’s revolution and not dissolution.

But anyway, what I was trying to get at earlier is, what about the details in between?  I’ve come to the conclusion, through exploration of balance- which I’m not perfectly on board with right now- that life is a combination of fate and randomness.  As if there is a general plan, but we come up with the details.

His Will still be done.

They say God knows exactly what you’d do in any situation.  But hey, what would be the fun in that?  The best parts of artistic design are the things you didn’t anticipate.  Like when you see a beautiful hidden meaning in your art piece that you hadn’t intended.  I guess God isn’t human and therefore cannot be compared to us.  But weren’t we created in his image?  I just wanna understand.

But who knows.  It is important to me to recognize my ignorance even when I don’t see it.  Be humble and remember that the biggest truths are totally unknown to us.  We only see things in the way that God or nature or both see fit.

I just don’t know the truth, and unless I know the truth, I won’t claim to.  Must always be real, to the best of our abilities.  There are things I hide from the world and I feel like I’d be happier if I would just consistently be myself with no self-consciousness or anything like that.  And I feel like I can get there, the question is whether I Will.

No more fear

I have found more barriers to writing in here.  I am concerned with making sure I make it clear where I’ve been and why I think what I think.  In just jumping to what’s going on at the moment, I fear that it will seem foundation-less, like I haven’t explained myself well enough yet to just dive into the moment.

Well, I’ve realized tonight that even if I did lay out everything that got me to where I am, there will be room for doubt and skepticism.  And if I am so concerned with telling the whole story before I get to the present moment, I will continue keeping myself from just being honest about where I am right now.

Perhaps the blank spaces will be filled in as I go.  So, no more fear or apprehension.

Some of the things I say will possibly sound silly.  Unreal.  Explainable by conventional means.  La-la land stuff.  But now I’m not going to worry about that.  This blog isn’t just for other people to read, anyway.  It’s between me and God.  So that’s all I’m going to concern myself with, at least try to.

I thought I’d told the whole story already.  But each time lately that I’ve wanted to share the crazy new things that have happened, I’m like… well, I didn’t explain enough about my past yet to get into THIS story.  So that mentality has held me back.

But like I said, no more of that.  I’ll just fill in spaces as I go, the best I can- without sacrificing anything I want to share, even if there are seemingly big holes in my logic.

So here’s day one of just putting it out there, regardless of whether you can trust me yet.

I’ll put my current testimony into a nutshell to make myself feel better:

I believe in forces, whatever they are, and I don’t know how to define them other than my experience with them.  I’ve always believed that the supposed ways of Jesus are the best ways, even though I fail time and time again to live up to those standards.  And I’m at a point in my life where I truly want to follow those ways, even if it’s really hard to do.  Jesus’s example is amazing, and the world would be so perfect if we all were like him, but we’re not.  And lots of us are not trying to.  For me, it’s not about looking up to him as God.  It’s about my innate feeling that the messages that supposedly came from him are the TRUTH about the world.  LOVE can hold us all together.  NEGATIVITY drives us apart, in all its forms.  It’s LOVE that heals, and that is the message of Jesus.  My whole life, I didn’t care whether he existed, I didn’t care to find out, I just liked what he supposedly stood for.  Whoever wrote that stuff down, if it wasn’t true, is so amazing and it’s what I really feel about the world.  But now I’m at a point where, since I’m surrounded by Christians, that I want to KNOW for sure.  I want to be able to say I’m sure one way or the other.  And I’m going to find out the truth.  It’s what I live for now.  I’m not sure what will become of my life once I figure it out.  But I’m working to clear away all distractions as best I can so I can focus on this goal.

Whatever works

I don’t want to ever feel like I need to update.  The last thing I need in my life is another layer of constant responsibility.  One of the big things I’m trying to do in life is simplify it all.  So let’s not make an oxymoron out of it.

Breaking shit down and making use out of everything we “own.”  Being generous even if someone doesn’t deserve it.  It just depends, how much someone should expect to get in each situation.  I want to cultivate a world where we are generous and unafraid to share, knowing we all get it all as well.  The truths should matter.  Even knowing what nastiness is in McNuggets, people, including me, continued to eat them.  One of my favorite things to say is, “Even knowing the truth, I am fooled.”  But in knowing the truth, I hopefully am headed away from continuing to be fooled.  So there is hope.  I am not sure what all causes things that cause things like mental illness and devastation by human activity.  But after what I’ve experienced lately, which I have been reluctant to share, I think I’m starting to figure it out.  And most importantly, how to stop it.

It’s all about the lesson in everything to me.  And I believe that there is ultimate truth, one encompassing truth in every situation.  I just want the truth about everything, and to live in spite of my negative instincts.  I am content on my path, but I am not content with allowing myself to be all the same shitty ways I always have been.  Just do your best to love what you have to work with at this very moment.  I have rarely been able to look at myself from an outside perspective and see exactly what needs to be done about me.  But if we could.

I feel like people are worthy of mercy, because there is always a good reason why some people are really fucked up and some are just generally flawed like everyone else, and some people that are even better than that.  What’s to blame for evil?  Is there anything to blame?  Some say Satan.  I am not sure what that presence really is, but I strongly felt myself expel it the other night, and… I can’t even say more about it.  It sounds too nuts to just share with the world.  So for now I’m just going to get more comfortable with talking about this stuff and see what does come out.  It’s going to be wild at some point anyway and it’ll come out.  Just need to know how to describe these things.  But the outcome of this situation was, there was a major healing over the past couple days.

So many spiritual things happening that I just have been wanting to soak in rather than write about.  But whatever is typed will work.

Putting an end to spiritual warfare

I definitely do not have enough time to tell the whole story.  But I’m so excited about it that I need to get some of it out there before I begin my day.

Last Wednesday at church, which is called the Going Deeper service, the pastor talked about spiritual warfare: How to detect it and a bit about how to put an end to it, which will be continued next week.  I have never in my life tried to see how spiritual warfare is going on in my life- I never knew how I could detect it.  But hearing that sermon opened my eyes.

He listed the ways that possibly indicate is there is spiritual warfare going on in a situation.  I couldn’t write them down fast enough, but the ones I did manage to get on paper were:

1) The attack arrives before growth in the situation can really take place

2) Practical solutions fail to address simple challenges

3) Inability to nail down root causes

4) Energy intensifies around non-missional things

5) Neglect of spiritual disciplines and spiritual leadership have created footholds – we get lax spiritually

6) Situation brings out the worst in everyone

7) Unholy positioning

8) Situation does not lead to personal repentance

9) Common mission gets lost in personal agenda

Through analyzing this list today at lunch, I realized that my situation with Jacob, the mean ex, is exactly like this.

And that’s as far as I can get right now, so I’ll continue after work.

Why I go to church

Today’s Sunday sermon was a good example of why I like going to church despite not believing in Jesus.  My reasons for attending are worth explaining.  It’s not something I got into when I was working through the timelines, since I just wanted to get the most important things out there in order to catch up to present day.

My whole life I have been hungry for simple truth and reason for the way the world works, and WHY it’s happening.  Almost my whole life, I believed either that there’s no way to know, or that I’d already figured it out.  But I really don’t know why we’re here, and now that I’ve been listening to testimonies on why people believe in Jesus, I officially want to know for SURE what the truth is, so I can stop giving the wishy-washy response, “I don’t know what the truth is.”

Wisdom is important to me.  I have gathered a lot of it in my life and tried to apply it to my life.  I live for it.  Clear-cut reason and wisdom can get you very far in life, and get you through tough times.  Before I declared any belief in God, that was what I relied on.

When I first started going to church with Eileen in early 2015, I listened to the sermons for grains of truth, even though I didn’t believe every word said.  There was much to be gained regardless of my differences in faith.  And as for the things I didn’t believe, I was still able to apply nearly 100% of those sentiments in a symbolic way.  (Mostly mentions of Jesus, since I just see him as Love if he’s not a true physical figure.)

For some people, denial of God and Jesus is what they think is an obvious reason not to go to church.  But it’s so much more than talking about the bible!  You meet other people who want to do positive things in the world, and are truly working on themselves.  You know how hard it is to find people who do more than just TALK about improving themselves?  These people gather every week and focus on a higher power and fresh wisdom to sculpt their futures.  Those are the kinds of people I wanna be around.

Part of the reason I became serious about church was because I realized I need to be surrounded with more people that have similar goals as mine, and I have met many people at church indeed who are on a similar path.  Strength in numbers.  When you are constantly surrounded by people who are not moving forward, or are even bringing you down with them, you are not so encouraged on your own path.

The other church-goers and I may have a major difference between us- they declare Jesus as their lord and savior, and I am deeply inspired by the messages and communion, but can’t honestly say that I even believe Jesus existed.  Since I have been searching for the truth for months now, I find hard scientific evidence on the web for his physical existence, but it’s hard to just up and change what you believe in.  So I’m only beginning to accept that he actually existed.  The next step, if I get there, is to determine if he is God, and if the stories of his miracles are real.

It makes sense that I ended up at a Christian facility, because I simply happen to believe a lot of the things that I learn from that walk of faith.  Gladness, mercy, strength, humility, humble living… all these things, I already believed in, and I’m glad to have found a place that not only fosters what I truly believe in deep down, but also presents ideas that I hadn’t thought of, including things that were hard for me to have to face, but really needed to.  This place really makes me think.

The reason I said at the beginning that today’s sermon was a good example of why I attend church is because the pastor preached about exactly what I’m doing right now: He said to tell your story to people.  One great way to connect with others to your path is to know your own story and be able to tell it clearly when the right moment comes.  I found that very interesting since I am really getting this blog together now.

It does feel as if every sermon I attend is perfect timing for whatever I am going through at the time.  That fact alone encourages me to continue going as often as I do.  It’s like the messages and I are in sync.  I get wisdom from it and can apply my current circumstances to what’s being discussed.  Today was no exception.

I don’t know when I’m going to die, so I don’t know if I will ever believe in Jesus the way my new friends do, or if I’ll know the truth before I die.  But the fact that good-hearted people with goals are entering my life, and the sermons are impacting my life in such a positive way, keeps me wanting to go.

When explaining how to tell your story to people today, the pastor described the three parts of knowing your story: Who you were, what happened next, and who you are now.  This blog definitely outlines that already.  A good sign that I am on the right track to learning the truth and being able to tell my story.

Fateful encounter with my ex-best friend

Yesterday I experienced one of those things that seem too perfectly orchestrated for some sort of intelligent design not to exist.

Fate is something I have not fully defined.  I feel like it’s a combination of free will and planned occurrence.  Whatever it is, I feel that when perfect design is in your face, and you feel like something was set up on purpose, that is evidence of whatever fate is.

So here’s yesterday’s fateful story:

Some time over the week, I bought a memory foam mattress topper from the mall, which is 15 minutes away from home.  I needed one immediately, so when the cashier said they will be 50% off starting on Friday, I still bought it.  She said I could bring my receipt in later to receive the discount still.  Awesome.

I couldn’t make it there until yesterday, Saturday, because on Friday, I had an outing planned with my friend Matt.  When I was with him, one of the things I told him about was the girl who used to be my best friend.  I told him vaguely how I ended up having to let go of her for good.  The way I told the story almost made it sound like we had been lovers, as “our song” came on in the car and that’s how the topic came up.  I clarified that we were just really close and so there was a song we considered to be ours.  The final line in that song is, “…and know that I don’t hate you, and know that I don’t wanna fight you, and know I’ll always love you, but right now, I just don’t.”

The next day, I was ready to head to the mall.  I took the receipt out of my bread box (I don’t use it for bread) and walked downstairs.  I sifted through the mail real quick to see if my paycheck had arrived.  It hadn’t.  I went to the car and drove to the mall.  I didn’t realize that I’d left my receipt on the kitchen table when I’d detoured to check the mail.  So I’m at the mall, having driven those 15 minutes, was standing in line, and decided to have my receipt out and ready since my turn was about to arrive.  The receipt wasn’t there.  I was like, what the hell, I know I took it out of the bread box.  I wouldn’t have done anything with it besides put it in my pocket or purse.  But it wasn’t there.  I searched the car.  Not there.  I remembered sifting through the mail and was like, it’s probably there on the table, though I don’t remember setting it down.

I started the 15-minute drive home.  This kind of thing can be irritating you know.  Wasted half-hour round trip.  But I’m trying to see things from a higher perspective.  So I told myself, It’s all for the ultimate betterment, even the bad things.  I willed myself to enjoy the drive home.  I liked singing along to music and not getting pissed off that I was “wasting time” and resources.  Sure enough, the receipt was on the table.  I drove back and enjoyed that drive too, just sinking into my music and trusting God/life.  Got back to the mall, redeemed my discount.  When I’d first been at the mall, I’d considered going shopping, but this time, I was over that idea.  I decided to get my hair trimmed at the salon that’s in the mall, even though my usual stylist was booked.  I’d waited too long for it and decided to just let someone else do it this time.

The new stylist trimmed my hair very nicely, and I officially now trusted another person to trim my hair.  I left happy and walked through a department store to get back to my part of the parking lot.

Not far from the exit was the men’s clothing section.  Browsing certain items there was none other than the ex-best friend I’d just told Matt about the night before.

Something to understand about this girl: I’d had to drop her many times in my life for the way she either treated or ignored me, and she’d always come back with sweetness and promises to be a better friend.  But ultimately she’d prove herself to not really be there for me, and I’d let her go again.  I haven’t seen her in… man, I don’t even know anymore, but it’s been many, many months.  No regrets in that decision.

So when I saw her there, her face turned to my direction, and she saw me.  I usually smile at strangers that look at me.  But I simply maintained a pleasant face and kept walking.

The last communication we’d had, through a Facebook message, she told me that I seemed like I was on drugs the last few times she’d seen me.  She’d sent this message after I’d blocked her from my phone.  (It wasn’t immediate; it took a few weeks or something for her to reach out on the Internet.)  I barely had a response for her because it wasn’t worth it since I wasn’t going to try to be friends again.  But in my head I was like, Yeah it really seems like you care, since you waited ’til now to say something with a hateful approach, and not with love when you actually thought it was happening.  I hadn’t been doing drugs, and was simply exhausted from the manual labor job I’d had at the time, and love-drunk over my new boyfriend Jacob.  That’s the only way I can explain why she thought something was wrong.  It was a difficult time that she didn’t bother to address until she just wanted to make me feel bad through an impersonal Facebook message.  So it was nice to walk by her with my freshly-trimmed hair, clean clothes, and the aura of someone who definitely is taking care of themselves.

Someone else I had to let go, much more recently, is that guy Jacob that I’d been love-drunk over.  It was the same deal as her, where he’d treat me like shit and then come back with such sweetness to lure me back in.

When I walked by the girl, I didn’t look back or change my step.  I simply thought to myself, I need to be able to walk by like this when I see Jacob.

If it weren’t for accidentally leaving my receipt at home and choosing to get my hair done instead of shop around, who knows if I would have seen her and learned that I can just walk on by?  I’d just talked about her the night before!!  Perfect timing, as she usually shops at Goodwill and Kohl’s, so it was pretty out of place to see her not only at the mall, but in the department store that I always walk through to get to my car when I’m at the mall, right along the route I take to the exit and not in some other area of the store.  I remembered my sentiment, that every little thing that happens has purpose, even the bad things, and was glad the moment had been orchestrated, because it really was time to face her and realize that I CAN just walk on by and not look back.

And now I need to be able to do that when I see Jacob.

So you can see this blog won’t just be about finding God.  It will also be about my personal and spiritual development, because it all ties together, and I am learning the role God has in our lives.  I am thankful for having the wisdom to remain patient and for the fateful encounter with that girl.  The question now is if I can apply the same principle the next time I see that mean guy that makes my knees fucking weak for him.