Peace vs War (part 1)
I am not the me you know...or used to know. (I bet you have been suspecting this already.) I have been called a prayer warrior. I used to be ok with that. Now? Notsomuch.
I pray...but not like I used to. Honestly, I just don't believe in it anymore. I tell God all my stuff. We talk. But I don't beg him for stuff. Not for healings. Not for guidance. Not for interference.
I can't do that and believe He is who He says He is.
This may sound horrible. "You don't ask God to guide you?"
Well, I do ask Him that. I do. You are right. I should not have said that. But I used to believe that I had to consult him in serious "prayer" before I did anything. Now I ask Him. And I trust Him. And I go on with my day.
If He is in complete control, and aware and in the middle of my every deed and thought...then why should I beg Him to guide, guard and direct me? I think He is already on top of that.
So you might say, "well what about the part where your words change the very atmosphere. What about joining with God in making His will be done...Kingdom come and all that."
Spiritual warfare. That is what we are talking about right? Ok.
Listen, I am not coming off of what I said before. I do think you are called to war sometimes. But what the heck are you doing? Forces of evil and all that. Spiritual warfare. I get it. I attended all the classes. I have read the books. Not for me. Not anymore.
I want you to remember that war used to be good for me. Or I believed that it was. I have participated in many a war dance. I have literally spun circles around and on top of enemy forces. I have slapped the walls of a church building. I have opened unseen doors between the pews to allow the church goers to get out and dance in the isles. I have prayed with words that ordered movements of heavenly forces to block enemy forces from every conceivable type of mischief imaginable. I have claimed healings and ordered healings. I have felt that as a daughter of the King I oughtta be about wielding my Fathers power often and with might. I just don't do those things anymore.
Now I tend to run to God. Like...every time. Before I try anything else. Instead of trying anything else. I just run.
Running scared? Maybe. But it doesn't feel like fear. If it was fear I would still tremble from my safety spot. But I don't. I feel like..."whew! God you got it. I am so thankful!"
Then there are times when the enemy waltzes into my house. And I'm all "dude...back OFF" In the name of Jesus.
But it feels so simple. And this IS easy.
(That is not saying that there aren't different levels of warfare... maybe some are more difficult than others.)
The simplicity comes in the fact that I fully get that this is not up to me. I get to stand up for myself and not be a victim, but the power behind the punch comes from the big Papa standing behind me. I seriously see the picture that I am a wee little pup all snarly and “fierce” getting all excited that my bark backed off he enemy. And if you pull back the camera to wide angle you see that behind me is this enormous drooling beast that will chomp any enemy and not even have to swallow if they dare mess with his pup. So when the enemy runs scared it is because of the enormity of my backup...not the fierceness of my bark. Lets just say that God (the big Dog) has given me this yard to protect. All that is within my home is my yard...my territory. The enemy is going to come calling. Yes, he is. And I am going to protect my yard. Bark-barkety-bark. Big Dog is standing right there. (He doesn't ever leave ya know.) Not ever.
Get this....His presence is what moves the enemy. I can bark. Or I can go sit behind Big Dog. Either way...the enemy backs off. I bark because He told me I could. Man it feels good. I used to think that it took lots of barking. I am beginning to realize more and more that I can just stand there and when that enemy gets aloada Who is sitting on the porch they are not coming any closer. Period.
Sometimes the enemy is just stupid enough to cross that fence. And I think that my Source
(Big Dog...in case you forgot) lets me get a big juicy mouthful of the part that came over the fence last.
He lets me feel the rush. He smiles knowing how good that felt. I love that He lets me play. But I know that all He has to do is raise an eyebrow and that idiot that crossed the fence will go flying back over.
So (back to human) I can say “dude back OFF, in the name of Jesus”. It feels great to have defended my territory but I know who really did the fighting. Simple, right?!
Maybe it is a "wax on-wax off" kind of thing. The moves are simple. Learn to trust and respond in very basic ways and you will be ready when the bigger hits come. I don't know.
I do know that my protection is not about making sure that I have done all the right things and said all the right words to keep myself safe. That is how it used to be when I was figuratively putting on the armor and feeling all the anxiety about the helmet not fitting right or a hole in the breastplate of righteousness.
Sheesh. I would just be a mess after armor donning. Nothing left to battle with. Like David in Saul's duds.
I do better with a rock and a sling and a BIIIIG God. I throw my rocks but it is God alone that plots the trajectory. Make sense?
Can I be there? Do I need to shut up to do that? Just shut up and fling rocks. Probably. I philosophize too much. That is for dang sure. (and by that I mean that I use too many words for such a simple thing)
Did Saul need his armor? I don't know!!! Maybe he did. Maybe he was a warrior and maybe I am not. Can I be ok with that? (philosophizing again) Maybe, and please don't hate me for this implication, but maybe.....just maybe Saul could have done more damage with less metal and more pebbles. Hmmmm.....
Some warriors...some rock flingers. ok.
About that armor.. I have been reading about it again in the Word...I really do not think it is about acquiring all these pieces and assembling them into a cohesive wall that you put around you. I think that it is a reminder that these things are available to you...as a Christian...reminding you that these are the things that protect you and that you can rely on them. It says "put on the full armor"...does it mean what I used to think?...grab it and strap it and shine it and belt it...no I don't think so.
I think that it means know it, acknowledge it, rely on it, use it. Use your faith, righteousness, truth. Use your gift...the Spirit of God! At the end..."take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and pray in the Spirit on all occasions."
I think it is encouragement for me to not be a victim. I guess that there are some warrior spirits (maybe such as yourself) that need that to be a bit more aggressive. Maybe they are made with an inner thread that calls for head butting and saber rattling in order to feel the vitality of life. Maybe they neeeed to strap on that armor in a very physical way to feel accomplished. More action forward. Maybe it is just fine to read that scripture both...or a hundred different ways.
I am just saying that it does not mean to me what it used to. It is now more affirmative. More empowering. More faith building. These things are gifts from my Father. My righteousness can be full of holes but He gives me His. My truth knows it part...His sees the whole picture...
So have we established that I do still believe in that "war" part? I know that I seem to waffle a bit. I hope that I have somehow said that war is necessary and I know that we play different parts. I even know that I have a part to play in that war. But I think it takes a lot less words than I used to.
I used to really carry a heavy burden thinking that I needed to say the right words to carry out the heavenly plan.
I used to feel the weight of my faith...or lack of it. The weight of my faith in this sense was not the weight of His glory or the weight of His presence. It was not even the weight of His Spirit for action. It was just weight. (think back to the little pup/big Dog picture. The weight of my faith was like little pup actually believing that the bark was the catalyst for change or that silence meant enemy encroachment. )
I used to feel a guilt (even tho I could not have identified it) when "Gods will" was not carried out by the players involved. I used to feel like the enemy was running rampant and it was up to me (and others) to hold him back lest God's Kingdom be held bound and captive.
I do not feel that way anymore.
I guess the most words I use are directed to the universe (not in an astrological sense...) I tell the universe to back off in the name of Jesus. But I only do that if I feel led to do it. It doesn't happen very often. When my kids are sick...I thank the Lord for providing healing. Then I direct their bodies to line up with it. I tell the enemy to back off and I tell my lovie to be assured that God has this all under control. When people around me are in dire straights...I talk to God about my stress in it and I direct them (not out loud or even in their presence) to open their eyes to the presence of God in their midst.
Even that sounds like too strong in words. I don't tell anyone anything.
I don't tell God what to do or beg Him to do His best for me.
I just trust that He will.
And when I can't trust it I let Him know about how it really rips that He isn't doing things like I would have them done...and then I sometimes remember that He knows more than I do and maybe I should trust that. :-)
So, I just don't have much to say these days. Then again...I guess I do say a bunch...I just don't say it out loud.
Don't for one instant think I think your war way is wrong or bad. Nope. (ok, well maybe sometimes)
Just different. I could sit and listen to you pray...and I could stand in agreement with your need. But I do things differently these days. That is all.
You may hear some disappointment and disillusionment in my words.
But not in God. I am disappointed and disillusioned by all that I have seen and participated in in regards to "Godly" things and theology in the past 15 years. I do not really throw it all away because I know that it was vital to my growing. I learned a ton.
And actually, I am wrong to say "all" of it has left me flat. Not all...but so much!
I have found, in God, a trust. Peaceful. Astonishing at times. Magnificent.
And it is all about me at the very same time as it has nothing to do with me at all. It is there. And I get to participate. It has been given to me as a gift. And it is delightful.
It = trust.
When I look back to that last part of my life I find a woman in great turmoil. Now in fairness we could say that maybe she would have been in turmoil anyway. We could even say that this turmoil was necessary to her survival as it was often times a direct result of old woulds being reopened and cleaned in order for true healing to take place. Healing hurts. A Lot! But it is so much better on this side. So hear me well...I am not discounting all that.
You might wonder what this previous turmoil has to do with warfare and my part in it. I believed in warfare then. I was in turmoil then. Was the warfare necessary to come through the turmoil? Or did the warfare cause or increase the turmoil that was already present. I don't know.
I can tell you how it made me feel. When my world seemed to be crashing and my emotions were taking turns riding the rollercoaster of insanity it felt good to rail against unseen forces and whoop my war cries as I flailed about in my angst. It felt great in fact. I felt like I was accomplishing something. I felt powerful. It was intoxicating. And addictive. It also wore me out. I felt accosted all the time. I felt neurotic. I felt suspicious. When I wasn't hollering I was wailing. I was constantly asking God about that peace He promised. I couldn't seem to find much of it.
Now, my life is not in turmoil. I feel at peace. Maybe you would say that the previous war brought on a season of peace. Maybe you would be right. I don't know.
What I do know is that I walk through my day with the knowledge that I am completely covered. I don't have to fight for it, beg for it, order it or even claim it. It has been given to me. I acknowledge it. I accept it. I can rest completely. My everyday prayers are like conversation. Peaceful conversation. And even when I get heated I get it out and receive peace in return for my trust.
And just sometimes (but I suspect the enemy whispers) it feels like I am a big slacker and not doing anything. Cuz I wonder if it is true that there is a difference in "feeling" between the everyday prayer and the "bedroom" prayer. You know? Eating breakfast with your sweetie vs strawberries in front of the fire. But then I don't worry so much about that. Cuz I get both. But it is hardly ever big and blubbering like it has been in the past. But that was definitely a season. And may come again. I mean...I cried all the time then. About everything. And I am not there now. So is this making sense?
(I realize that I am lumping warfare prayers in with bedroom prayers here. Both of those being prayers that are full of passion and words and big emotional drama. I don't have any problem with drama. I am just trying to establish the difference between the drama and the everyday conversation. Have you noticed that when you are completely confident in your position it just hardly ever has to get to the drama level? That, my friend is what I am talking about living in peace.)
I look at the teaching that I sat under back then, teaching full of aggression and violence. Teaching that said "reach out and grab it...take it...pursue it".
Aggressive meant that you really meant business. That you deserved this. That you were filled with the righteousness of God. And, if you couldn't be aggressive then it meant you were broken in some way and needed to be fixed. That fixing usually was borne with the "entrance" of the Spirit.
As if God was not present before.
It was presented to me (or I accepted it this way) that lining up with healing meant that somebody...some human...needed to move the enemy out of the way so that God could move in. This is like saying that little pup has to police the perimeter in order to make it safe and ready for big Dog to come out of the house for his daily constitutional.
I reject that. Totally and absolutely.
This is what I mean by walking in guilt. I would get so frustrated when "God's plan" was not happening. I would think quiet deep seated thoughts about how I or somebody was just not getting it done in the battle department. (me in the Saul armor)
I felt the weight of my inadequacy.
And I began surely to feel the weight of His.
Yes, I am actually saying that when I didn't see results I found myself questioning not only my inadequacy but also God's adequacy, love and presence.
I found myself asking again and again..."why can't you do anything about this?!
Why DON'T you do anything about this.?!"
I would flounder there a good majority of the time. And in those precious moments of closeness where I could feel the Lord in sweetness, His assurances of peace just simply did not match up with all the piteous cries for help that seemed ultimately beyond His hearing.
Have you heard the term "put your money where your mouth is"?
Yeah, I was constantly asking God about that.
So what has changed? For this moment in time I feel at rest. I feel at peace. Not dead mind you. But maybe death brought on some understanding.
When mama passed there was a tremendous about of pain. You know this. Yet there was also such a peace.
I saw some of my family stand right up to God and demand her healing. Maybe not in so many words but they were surely stamping their foot. They battled the enemy to keep her here. They ordered her body to be well. They stood in defiance against death. And after all was said and done, they lost. Death won.
To their way of thinking yes. If she died, then death won.
But I don't agree. I see no defeat in her dying. The scriptures say, death has no sting. It has been conquered. Done. I am not simply toeing the party line here in saying "God's will be done...it was her time to go." No, I am looking deeper than that. I am saying that for all the fighting that went on in the hearts of the sweet ones battling for her life, there was an equal peace, acceptance, transcendence. (scary word)
There was available a peace beyond understanding. I know it was available because I partook of it. There was a trust in God that really trusted. Trusted that He was so completely in control that the enemy was absolutely barred. It makes my heart swell to think these things.
I believe that God is in control. And I believe that He does not need my help to stay there. If you go and look at all the great breakthroughs in your life I would bet my bottom dollar that they came when you gave up. When you resigned your will. When you said..."I don't know what to do here, can you take it?"
Now I am not saying that I do not ever feel angst. Boy do I feel angst! When mama was sick and on her way to Heaven I could be found full on anxiety. Or maybe it just looked like anxiety. Or maybe it was all inside and I looked calm on the outside. I could not tell you that.
I just know that when I really centered on God I felt at peace. When I took my eyes away...when I tried to take the steps on my own...I just could not do it. I began to sink every time.
Sound like anything you have heard before?
Another for instance; when I birthed my baby, I had a dear friend that came in and warred for my sake. She prayed mightily. But did she hold back the enemy with her warfare?
Or, did the manifest presence of God keep things on track that day.
Did He need my prayer warrior to do what she did in prayer? See, I don't know that answer.
But did God need her to say the words? Need it? No. You would agree with me there.
Did she need to say them? Yes. I needed her to say them. I couldn't even hear her but I knew she was there speaking health and beauty into my life.
(So her prayers were needed. But what was needed? Her warfare? Her speaking on my behalf?
Or did her words of prayer, offered in faith and love, become the comfort that she was praying about?)
I relied on her. On her love.
But my trust was in God.
I know hers was too! And if things had not gone as sweetly? Would I have blamed her?
No. Yet I would have blamed myself. (especially if I had been in her position)
And that blame is wrong. That prayer warrior mindset has got to be removed from the equation.
Or at least re-defined. In my opinion.
We have got to return to a trust in God's will. The current teaching is missing the point. Our parent's understood it. I have thought my parents fools because of their trust. Yet, I am returning to that old way. What has seemed to be a "turn over and die" philosophy (and who can say...maybe some of it is) has attracted me with it's simplicity. I would so recently have called it laziness.
But if I will believe in God, I will believe in His ability to accomplish His will according to His good purpose. And I will believe that He has the ability and the desire to bring all things together for my good. Get that. This is more than just believing in God. This is believing His heart... His goodness toward me. Throwing myself entirely on His love and goodness for me.
So, all things. For my good.
Yes, I said all things.
Even the things that seem outside His will. And I get that all the things that happen are not in His perfect will. I get that. I believe that. Bad things happen and He can turn them for good. Yes. But further....bad things happen within His will. Read that again. Ugh.
And I don't get all the ins and outs of that.
( And please God I do not want to be tested in all this. Just so ya know.)
And I reserve the right to amend any and all of this at any time. So check back with me.
What am I saying?
I am saying I think differently about the will of God and my part in it. I feel peaceful in trusting Him even when things look terrible. I don't always make it . I doubt a lot. But when my head clears I come back to this. Peace. The invitation from God to dwell with Him in that peace. Today is where He dwells. The enemy would like for me to live forever in a snit about securing my tomorrow or crying about my yesterday. The enemy would like to keep me at war with my future and my past. But today has been given to me with the invitation to spend it with my Lord. At peace. If the Lord of all, who can see ALLLL things, can be at peace with today...
well, maybe I can too.
That, truly, is a gift.