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Archive for December, 2009

Resurrection

I was going to title this post “The Awakening” and fill it with stories of how once I was dreaming, but now I’m fully awake. I was going to reference really cool things like tattoos that I have on my feet, stories about drug-induced awareness and quotes from A Course in Miracles.

But then I looked up the word “awaken” in The Message translation on BibleGateway, and I was floored by the results. Only one passage showed up:

1 Corinthians 15:34 Think straight. Awaken to the holiness of life. No more playing fast and loose with resurrection facts. Ignorance of God is a luxury you can’t afford in times like these. Aren’t you embarrassed that you’ve let this kind of thing go on as long as you have?

I’ve tried to compose a blog post several times this month, but the words for my experiences would not come together. Now I recognize that I’m living through a new kind of spiritual awakening. A few weeks ago I invited the Holy Spirit to guide my words and actions. It sounds like a small deal, but it’s still uncomfortable for me to say that. I mean, growing up in Lutheran Sunday school classes, we giggled nervously at the idea of people actually having visions or speaking in tongues, and by the time I had decided to leave the church as a young adult the whole concept seemed like a bunch of bull to me. So to be sitting here with half of my mind occupied on what Jesus and the Holy Spirit want me to do with each situation makes me feel slightly more insane than all the drugs I did in college.

1 Corinthians 15, in The Message translation, is titled “Resurrection.” What I wanted to say about tattoos and New-Age literature does not hold a candle to the wonder of the resurrection. Jesus’ life in and of itself is astonishing, because in spite of all the temptation that surrounded him every single day, he always listened and chose God’s way. He lived with former prostitutes, corrupt government officials, zealots, beggars and thieves, and continued to love and nurture them even when he wanted to throw up his hands, or maybe even wanted to join them in their surrender to earthly pleasures. And then to think that, as God and man, he would willingly suffer alongside of us and allow himself to writhe with temptation and desires that would have foiled God’s entire plan had he given into Satan’s urgings, to feel the pain of torture and still extend love and forgiveness to his captors, to experience total separation from God himself by descending into hell…well, it’s just beyond my scope of comprehension. Resurrection is simply a miracle.

A friend of mine who was at Koinonia two summers ago used to ask me to pray for her when she was “under attack.” I never fully understood what she meant by that phrase until now. She would sometimes have visions of demons leaving her body, sometimes have nightmares of being carried off by ill-intentioned souls. I’m so grateful that she trusted me enough to share these experiences with me, because always there was something to learn about the way we interact in everyday life. The demons were manifestations of childhood trauma that had not healed, or of arguments with loved ones, or of deep self-loathing…of anything that might separate us from the love of Christ. I learned that I could either look at my own conflicts and wounds at surface value, as events to be cataloged and pushed aside once I (with all my genius) had figured out a way through them; or I could invite God in and allow him to heal me from the inside out.

Since I started to live in this state of inspiration (by that I mean being filled with the Holy Spirit), I’ve also found myself more vulnerable than ever to spiritual attacks. Spiritual warfare, for me, takes place mostly in my head. The things that people say and do around me are multiplied into a thousand accusing voices that reverberate inside my skull. I walk around with a look like a deer in headlights, and any little thing can send me off into a fit of rage and weeping. Or I get caught up in what others think of me, in daydreams, in things that have not yet been said or done, and the feelings of guilt and shame overwhelm me to the point that I can’t look you in the face. But even when symptoms manifest in outward ugliness, the battle is within.

And so 1 Corinthians 15:34 has all the more impact. I cannot afford ignorance in times like these. I cannot give into temptation to be viewed as “cool” by quoting New-Agers to make my point when it’s scripture that feeds my soul. It’s time I conceded to holiness and straight thinking. Yes, I’m embarrassed it’s taken me so long to take the plunge into a truly Godly life. But I’m willing to do it openly and honestly, because I believe God wants me to share this with anyone who needs it. And so I hope that my rambling tonight is helpful to some of you.

The war is on, and it’s a battle to the end. Pray with me that it ends in resurrection.

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