05/11/2019

The Power of Pets

Posted in Family, General, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , at 10:43 am by The Water Bearer

When I was a little girl I was riddled with fear. I now understand that I am highly sensitive and the world is a daunting place for a child when things overwhelm and impact you severely more than your siblings. I felt misunderstood, petrified, ashamed, and broken. When I talk about my childhood in this blog, I usually focus on healing the trauma, but of course trauma is not the whole story.

Every little girl dreams of owning a pony, but as a child of 3 in a home with a single mum, I lowered my expectations to wanting a dog. It wasn’t just a longing, it was a desperate need. I even stole a puppy from a litter our friend’s dog had and told my Mum it just followed me home. “It must be meant to be my dog!” I fibbed. Even after my Mum caved in and let me keep a puppy from another litter the same dog had some years later, we soon realised it was unfair to leave a little dog alone at home all day everyday and my lovely little ‘Buffy’ ended up living out her happy life as a lap dog to my favourite Aunt.

‘Buffy’

Now, when I see how attentive my little Jack Russel is to my mood and sensitivities, and after all the new evidence about the benefits of anxiety pets, it makes sense that as a terrified sensitive child, why I was desperate to have a pet. There is something so spiritually soothing and special about running your hand over the soft fur of a loyal creature who’s purpose in life is simply to make you happy. It’s only now that I’m older and more aware of mental health struggles that I realised the profound impact having a pet can have.

Some years later, when I was on the brink of adolescence, my big sister was given the chance to lease a horse. Mum had always loved horses and had arranged riding lessons for us from when we were toddlers living in England, so when the opportunity arose to exercise and look after this gorgeous Bay gelding in a paddock not far from our home, it seemed too good to be true. “Prince” immediately became a treasured part of our family, and once we were in the local horsey community another horse was leased for me. ‘Crinalea’ was a mountain pony with a bad attitude, but we soon became friends with lots of pony club and practice, and my early teen years filled up quickly with all things horsey.

‘Prince’

Despite the financial struggles, Mum worked her arse off for us to eventually buy Prince, and while Crinalea wasn’t for sale, Mum allowed me to buy my own horse from the Trading Post. He was a stunning chestnut Arabian gelding called “Rusty”. Rusty quickly became my best friend in the entire world! (I have goosebumps covering my legs as I write his name, and happy tears well up). Rusty had been trained to be a dressage horse, (which if you don’t know, is prancing in boring circles) “He doesn’t jump, and he doesn’t do sporting events, he is only a dressage horse!” His owner informed me emphatically. I would have agreed to anything, because I had fallen in love with him the moment I saw him. Rusty and I had some amazing years together, he was the best therapy pet, so trustworthy and such a good listener. Galloping on his back was powerful enough to wash away the most painful of tears and his kisses gave me the unconditional love I craved. Funnily enough after a few months of pony club Rusty proved to be a ribbon-winning sporting horse and a brilliant jumper. He would do anything I asked of him with his whole heart, and soon it was clear that neither of us much like dressage! I was in horsey heaven.

Having a horse taught me so much more than I ever imagined. It taught me the internal fortitude needed to control a huge animal, and a sense of confidence from all that I achieved on Rusty’s back. It taught me about responsibility and duty of care, and once I started working and had to take on the financial burden, I realised Mum had made an impossible dream possible for us. I eventually sold Rusty when I no longer had the time or finances to keep him, and he spent his last years as a cherished horse at a riding school for the disabled. He was the most trustworthy horse they’d ever had and I took my daughter to spoil him with carrots when she was 5 years old. He was fat, happy and retired by then. It was a grateful and teary farewell.

Those years with Rusty remain as the most wonderful part of my childhood, I will forever be grateful for them.

Thanks so much Mum xxx

If you have sensitive children or perhaps you struggle yourself with anxiety, let me give pets a plug. They teach us so much while bringing many blessings. Thank you Lord for the power of pets! 🙌

‘Rusty’

11/10/2019

Balancing Bipolar

Posted in Encouragement, General, Musings, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:21 am by The Water Bearer

Getting diagnosed with Bipolar can be a bittersweet experience. Part of you is relieved to finally have a reason for the strange cycles in your mood and behaviour that causes instability in your life, while another part feels broken, ashamed, angry and even helpless.

But having a mood disorder is a pretty common occurrence in today’s age, and it’s no wonder really. Our lifestyle is highly stimulated and reactive, self-regulation has decreased since the idea of indulgence became humanities priority, our culture’s lean away from family stability, and the impact of spiritual influences increases as time winds up. I’m surprised any of us are actually sane!

There are some simple things we can all do to manage our mood swings and balance out our behaviour. So let’s ditch the stigma and face the situation with hope and these helpful tips.

1. Get Informed

Your moods, your behaviour and your diagnoses are your responsibility, they are not the responsibility of your parents, or your Doctor, or your spouse or your friends. We can gain support from these sources but ultimately any issue that comes up in our lives is an opportunity for growth in our understanding. So educate yourself. We live in the Information Age, and if you’re suffering from any condition and haven’t armed yourself with knowledge about it, then you aren’t really participating in life, are you? You’ve checked out, feeling sorry for yourself, denying the struggles of life in the hope they will just magically disappear. That my friend is a recipe destined for Hell on Earth!

2. Seek Truth

There is a LOT of bullshit information out there, and lots of amazing genuine stuff too. Its your job to be realistic about this when gathering research about your conditions. If one article says to sleep more during a depressed episode, look for any articles that promote exercise during depression. Or if one article says you must take prescription medications, look for ones that explain the side-effects and offer natural options, and always use some good old fashioned common sense before doing anything radical. Opposing views aren’t the enemy, they are the way to see the whole picture of your condition without someone’s biased agenda misleading you and wasting your time. Get honest with yourself too, about how your condition impacts your life and the lives of your loved ones. Rather than getting overwhelmed by ALL the issues you’re facing, just pick the most important one to you, and focus on that until you feel you have a good grasp of what you’re dealing with before expanding to a new topic.

3. Self Care

Some simple daily practices can settle your focus and level out the reactivity of your moods. Having a routine filled with self care is vital if you want to take back control of your life and not be at the mercy of whatever ‘wobbly’ your condition throws your way. Things like a morning ritual of stretching, meditation, journaling, and prayer are wonderful ways to start the day inspired and balanced. Peaceful time out away from screens, errands, chores and work is imperitive to reset and restore your body and mind. A few hours on a blanket in the sun, a long slow walk, a massage, or an art project can bring a sense of control back to our minds. Preparing and eating healthy non-processed foods will make a huge difference to the spikes of sugar levels, while avoiding caffeine and alcohol will calm the nervous system and rejuvenate your natural motivation. Of course no self care practice would be complete without a regular sleep cycle. Going to bed and rising early every day has an amazing impact on our neurotransmitters (brain chemistry). If you struggle to fall asleep, use a screen filter on your phone to remove the blue light after 7pm, avoid screens all together 30 mins before sleep, and a simple cup of chamomile tea never goes astray.

4. Choose your influencers

Influencers are all the rage on social media, and what we read, listen to and engage with has a massive effect on our own patterns of mood and behaviour. If you pay close attention to what you’re feeding your soul with and who you spend your time with, you may realise where you need to trim back on what influences your life. Not just what you follow on social media or watch on Netflix, but also your friends, family and co-workers. Learning to set up some boundaries to protect yourself from impulsive, irresponsible or toxic influences can bring a whole new level of peace to your life than you ever thought possible!

5. Acceptance 

Pretending you don’t have Bipolar or any other condition is not going to help you achieve peace and victory in life, and neither is resisting it. Life would be dull and boring-as-bat-shit if we didn’t have struggles and challenges to test our resilience and strengthen our character. So its time to get over the self-pity and recognise that EVERYONE has their cross to bear, their battle to face, this just happens to be yours. There are plenty of things to be grateful for, at least you’re living in a time of compassion and understanding around these issues and not being burned at the stake for being weird. Acceptance and gratitude play a big part in how well you manage your condition, and that’s not to say you’ll never have a breakdown or a blow out pity-party from time to time, but your attitude of acceptance can be an anchor to come back to whenever the wheels do come off.

6. Keep the Faith

Despite the suckiness of your diagnoses, God is trustworthy, He can turn your trials into triumphs, and your tests into testimonies. But its important to remember that the spiritual realm has to be balanced too. So for all the curses you may be battling, there are blessings scattered amongst them, especially if you plant the seeds of faith during life’s storms. King David who wrote the Psalms, had some serious mood swings and behavioural disorders to contend with, and reading his stories can bring much comfort as he pours faith into each tumultuous circumstance. For all the good God can and will do in your life, the enemy is here to level the playing field, so keeping an eye on his schemes is vital to keep a clear perspective on what you deal with day-in and day-out, and where to channel your energy in fighting against him. If you want to read more on this, this blog is filled with heaps of ways to refocus your faith and defeat the enemy, victory is certain!

 

 

 

 

10/10/2019

Waking Up

Posted in Encouragement, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , at 5:36 am by The Water Bearer

two images

 

The tightness in my chest was beyond belief, I could hardly breathe, my throat closed up… I couldn’t swallow. That old familiar feeling was taking me over yet again. My heart thumped loudly behind my breastbone. I needed to do SOMETHING! ANYTHING to stop this feeling. Quick as lightening my mind began scrolling through all the well worn escape plans of the past, as my ego tried to make a selection. Its like a game of Russian Roulette, spinning a wheel of options, hoping the one your autopilot chooses won’t blow up in your face.

Will I let out my fear in anger and yell or cry, force an explanation, shut down, walk away?

This happens mostly when I feel misunderstood or criticised, thanks to a backstory of emotional threats and volatile accusations.

As a highly sensitive person (HSP), being on guard for these types of attacks has made my sensitivities and the activity in my nervous system painfully obvious. For the first twenty years on this earth, extreme emotional outbursts were just a common part of my daily life (especially around people I cared about the most). That was until I got so sick of feeling miserable and complaining about all the drama in my life. Instead I withdrew, I cut ties, I figured life was much safer without these painful emotions or the people who triggered them. I would be much better on my own.

or so I thought…

Loneliness is not a nice place to visit, but moving in there is diabolical for a being designed for social connection.

Whether it was from loneliness or desperation, I went in search of some stability, and found it in the form of my Dad. After 13 years without him in my life, he began to teach me how to fight back… but not in the ways I had been fighting back my whole life.

First I had to WAKE UP and actually see where the fight really was.

Rather than fighting back against those around me, who instigated these attacks, Dad showed me how to recognise my extreme emotions, he taught me to dig into my own heart until I discovered the source of these emotions, and how to use Scripture to help me identify them and gain control over them. God Rest His Soul my Dad’s teachings changed EVERYTHING! My self-awareness, my reactions, my relationships, my faith, my drama, my decisions, my habits, even my nerves.

Gaining emotional control sure feels like wrestling a monster, maybe that’s just me? But I doubt it, I see people all around me day in day out, struggling to wrestle the emotions that so often rise up and cause problems. If we’re honest, if we’re awake, we’re very much aware of the monster within.

Maybe there’s more than one? But at least the monsters within are ones you have a chance of winning against… We are powerless against the monsters around us, (I leave those to the Lord Almighty) but we absolutely can win battles when we see the monsters within!!

For over 7 years this blog has been dedicated to showing you how.

So if you too are sick of feeling the extremes of your emotions, if your tired of the loneliness, if you’ve had enough with the drama and dysfunction in your relationships, and fed up with the problems your emotional decisions create, perhaps its your time to wake up?

Maybe that’s why you’re reading this blog? Maybe, just maybe you’re ready!

13/09/2019

Where is God in all this Bullshit?

Posted in Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:29 pm by The Water Bearer

We’ve all heard the argument that “If God is real, He must be a douche to allow all the horrors of this world to happen.”

This is such a cliched and somewhat ignorant stance… because WE chose thisus humans.

We were warned this would happen, patiently pleaded with to avoid it.

But…

We decided we don’t need to have a relationship with God. We decided not to heed His warnings. We decided not to participate in His agreement. We devalued His promises to bless and protect us, because instead we used our free will to choose to decide right and wrong for ourselves, whatever suits us. And really who can blame us, if institutional religion is our alternative! Sadly, the damage done throughout history in God’s name has warped our understanding of God and many have completely rejected the principles of scripture, and decided we are better off deciding right from wrong for ourselves. We’ve used this freedom to Judge God… How self-righteous we are! In the process we have created a busy indulgent world and cut ourselves off from the still small voice of God within. This is what Eve fell for in the garden, when she was told “the instant you eat it you will become like God, for your eyes will be opened—you will be able to distinguish good from evil.”

The enemy is a dead-set Liar! Of course we aren’t simply able to distinguish good from evil, not perfectly, not without total self-awareness first! (and that is one hell of an undertaking!)

To those who use the argument that God allows dysfunction to happen, I’ll ask; When the offer comes to choose for yourself what is right or wrong, do you take it, or deny yourself and trust God?

Eve didn’t deny herself or trust God. Only a handful truly have. Those who have denied themselves and trusted God, steered western culture towards freedom and unity, towards blessing and healing, prosperity and protection, but many many more have not…

And here we are…

Its an unimaginably hard thing to trust God, because its not until we test Him that we learn of His trustworthiness. In order to test God, we must play our part, and that means denying ourselves.

OUCH right!

Think of it this way…

As a wellness instructor, I see people everyday who are battling one health concern or another. And its easy to become bitter and blame God for dropping us into these defective bodies. In today’s day and age, we have so much information and awareness about how to look after our bodies, and yet we continue in our unhealthy habits. We refuse to deny ourselves the ease, indulgence and comfort we’ve convinced ourselves we deserve. How can we blame anyone but ourselves when we experience preventable health issues?

We are living longer than ever in human history and yet are riddled with chronic disease (many of which are preventable), we would rather live forever and shake our fist at the sky when we suffer, than accept death as part of the human condition and TRUST GOD with our eternity. So we resisted and chose a different reality than the one God wanted to bless us with, and again here we are.

Its the same as with our faith, if we spend our days ignoring our prayer life, ignoring the scriptures, ignoring the still small voice of God within us, and avoiding giving thanks for all that we DO HAVE, How can we expect God to keep up to His end of the agreement? How can we blame God for the dysfunction we asked for, by thinking we can do a better job of deciding right from wrong than Him? How can we expect God to swoop in and fix everything for us, when we chose to go down the road that takes us as far from Him as possible?

Seems pretty simple to me, but what would I know, I’m only human.. I could be wrong, and so could you? And that’s precisely why we need God.

As believers it is up to us refresh the faith of this world. No more gimmicks, No more manipulation, No more threats of a future HELL! Use the hell we experience right now as evidence that we need to change our ways. Those of us who are genuine in our faith walk will have plenty of actual lived experience and testimony of how AWESOME God is, without having to bully people. They don’t fall for the fear tactics of the media. They walk in faith between the blessings and the curses. Remember, it makes no difference what the state of the world appears to be, because God is still faithful to His word even when we aren’t and we know who wins in the end. Yeeeew!

06/08/2019

To KNOW Who You Are

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:41 am by The Water Bearer

If I had a dollar for every time in my life when I hid my own truth, and willingly swallowed someone else’s opinion, I would be a very rich woman. Far too often, a people pleaser will stay quiet when someone needs to speak up for the truth, and a people pleaser does this because they have no idea who they really are.

It was a couple of decades ago when I first realised my people pleasing tendencies and began to question the costs of going with the flow, I started speaking up, I stopped always following the advice of others, and began to stop believing every judgmental opinion cast upon me. Sure, I’ve come a long way, but realistically, I still catch myself giving a few pieces of mental real estate to those who have proven they don’t know me, nor have my back.

That is something I still find disturbing.

Iron sharpens iron, and I want to be sharp! I am not so deceived to believe that I am incapable of being wrong, I am well aware of the sinful nature that tries to trick me into defending it when it rises up and undermines my character, as I am sure many of you will nod in agreement. Most often, the negative opinions aim to undermine my faith and my message, or to accuse my heart of arrogance & self-righteousness.

So I go away and pray “Lord, I know I am capable of being arrogant, just spend 5 minutes with my ego! I know I am capable of being self-righteous, just spend 5 minutes watching adverts for reality TV with me to witness the judgmental comments fly! Lord, I know I am capable of doubt, in those moments when my faith is shaken. Yet in each situation, when I have spoken boldly of your truth, and the wonders you have led me through, and shared the wisdom you have graciously shared with me, read my heart Lord and show me my sin.”

Then I can trust His mercy and conviction to tenderly handle my short-comings, and reveal to me where HE wants me to improve. And the added bonus is He can create situations that actually bring about the changes He wants!

I’ve always tried to give value to each persons voice, because I value their soul and perspective, and don’t want to be blind-sided by my own ignorance, but there is a line that must be drawn in order for me to step even more boldly into my purpose. And that is to still value the soul of each human being, but not simply see myself through their eyes, nor change my truth to suit their narrative. It is far too toxic, especially looking through the eyes of those who aren’t even aware of their own arrogance, their own ignorance, their own doubts, or their own self-righteousness.

They don’t know themselves, so how can they know me & how can they know you?

There is only ONE who knows our hearts, even better than we know ourselves… and He is the ONLY one we can depend on when it comes to knowing who we are. The scriptures have the perfect precision of discerning the intentions of our hearts and revealing to us where we’re being led astray by our nature, or our ego, or the enemy.

Men and women of Remnant Faith have been called to speak boldly, especially in times when its not popular or convenient. And be assured if we do this, we will be persecuted for it, just as our Lord Himself was. It is the voices that make us doubt who we are that prevent us fulfilling this calling.

So here is a reminder to focus on who God knows me to be… (Feel free to apply it to yourself too!)

I am His!

Whoever the world thinks I am is none of my concern if I know who I am!

04/07/2019

Folau’s Poor Doctrine & a Media Shit Storm!

Posted in Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:31 am by The Water Bearer

I know I know, If you’re an Aussie you’re probably sick of hearing everyone voice their opinions on the recent scandal surrounding Australian Rugby Player, Israel Folau.

I’m sorry, but I promise this won’t be like any of what you have heard so far!

But for those of you across the pond around the world who are unfamiliar, here’s the highlights as far as I can tell.

  • He had a contract to play Rugby Union for Australia.
  • He used his position as an influencer to share some meme’s on social media that were deemed homophobic, hate speech.
  • He was warned he would lose his contract if he did it again.
  • Oops, He did it again.
  • He lost his $4million contract.
  • He started a #gofundme page to raise the money to fight Rugby Australia in court under grounds of Religious Expression.
  • #gofundme closed his page and refunded all his donations to the contributors.
  • Most of Australia laughed at his page closure, saying “serves the homophobe right”.
  • Australian Christian Lobby used their platform to reopen his campaign. Folau received more than triple the refunded donations in two days (over 2 million AUD).
  • Rage ensued across our nation as arguments were voiced on either side, for Freedom of Religious Expression and Freedom of Speech vs Hate Speech, Homophobia fury and defense of Contractual Law.

So what did he post that sparked this media fire?

 

I’ll not bore you with the typical arguments that “he broke the terms of his contract” vs “Religious Expression is Constitutional Law and therefore overrides contractual law” and I won’t get into the fact that the word “homosexuals” was picked up and ran with as “hate speech”, when clearly the message was for everyone, as ALL of us are guilty of at least a few things on that list.

Even one Atheist was quoted saying “Folau’s post was no more filled with hate than smoking warnings on cigarettes is hatred against smokers”.

Yep as you can see, Everyone has an opinion!

This blog is called Inner Angels and Enemies, So I’d like to take a deeper look under the hood of what’s really going on here.

This meme is a classic example of poor doctrine, and theological ignorance, and clearly touches on a sore spot in our current societal climate. However, as I’ve written many times before, in my posts The Beauty of Hell and Are You Chasing People Away?  and Religion Vs Relationship, if you want to be obliterated in open debate, then tell someone they’re headed for Eternal Burning Hell in front of me!

We are not in the dark ages anymore people… Most of us are more scared of what our friends and peers think of us, than where we will spend our eternity after this life.

It’s time we realised that manipulating and blackmailing people into the Christian faith is a cheap trick which fills church pews with inauthentic mask-wearers who become the very reason people are flooding out of the church and away from God in droves, and lets face it, these threats are not Christ-like in any way, shape or form.

Yes I know that the scripture’s talk of ‘Hell’ where the ‘worm never dies’ and ‘eternal fire & brimstone’, but until we actually die, we don’t really know what comes next. Surely, if your a genuine believer, who has a true relationship with God, then you will have plenty of actual personal testimony to encourage people into the fold, without needing to resort to playing God!

Yes it is playing God!

The exact thing that apparently got Lucifer kicked out of the heavenly courts.

No wonder, institutional faith is riddled with so much corruption.

We are all human, and God alone is God who reads the human heart and looks not to external behaviour. Lets leave the big rulings to Him hey!

Folau didn’t exclude anyone and he doesn’t have the keys to the kingdom so lets drop this ridiculous argument! PLEASE!

So perhaps you might be thinking after reading all this, that because I’m against Folau’s meme that I must hope he loses in court? Just as the rest of the haters do!

But you couldn’t be father from the truth.

For some time I have noticed a hidden conspiracy, lurking under the surface of this world, deep in the spiritual sub-structure of weak men’s hearts.

It is a war against words.

The word LOGOS is the Word of God, which in spoken form, has the power to bring creation into existence. His word in written form, or scripture, has the power to overthrow strong holds, divides soul from spirit, and discerns the intentions of the heart. Scripture explains that the power of life and death are in the tongue.

Words are a mighty and powerful weapon!

As Voltaire said so beautifully I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I may not agree with what Folau said, but I will defend his right to freedom of speech, even if it severely damages the reputation of the God I know and love, even if I believe he has missed the truth entirely. I just simply trust God to sort each of us out and I know I will be in agreement with whatever He decides, even if its at my own sufferance.

I defend Folau’s right to speak because I feel with all the attacks against freedom of speech, and the increasing limitations due to shifty concepts of “hate speech”, before long none of us will be able to voice our beliefs, our opinions, and debate the very issues like this that need some discussion!

As someone who has spent their entire life trying to stop speaking my opinions and having no such luck, if I don’t speak now while I still can, very soon I too will be silenced, and so will you.

This Folau incident was nothing more than a media propaganda shit storm trying to incite anger within the LGBT community so they will fight to change laws, handing over more and more rights to our government, and less rights to the people, because of nothing more than a knee jerk, emotional reaction, without any genuine freedom for ALL in sight.

The LGBT community might recall that it wasn’t so long ago when they weren’t allowed to speak their opinions and belief’s in public, or how many Christian’s actually died to fight for their right to share their faith publicly, but oh how quickly the rights of others become fodder for the crowd mentality when you’re on the other side of the argument!

 

 

 

17/06/2019

Catching Zzzz’s & Escape plans

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:41 pm by The Water Bearer

Loud snores rattle out across the room, as the group lay on their Pilates mats in astronaut’s rest pose, trying to stay focused on the guided relaxation portion of the class.

This is a common occupational hazard if you’re a meditation instructor.

Its hard for clients to direct their attention to the “sounds around them” without bursting into laughter at the chainsaw buzzing from someone’s nasal cavity. :o)

I’ve been told that having the ability to put someone to sleep (especially at their first class) is a unique gift I have. I must admit, it is sweet that they are so comfortable in my class that sleep is easy to find.

However, jokes aside, there is something about it that highlights the necessity for increased mindfulness practice in today’s world.

While I’m flattered that some find my voice and relaxation techniques so relaxing that they drift off to slumber, this is not exactly what Sanctuary Stretch is aiming for. If we are on auto-pilot hour after hour and mind-wandering is our mind’s default setting, then trying to slow thoughts and focus them is extremely difficult at first. The mind simply looks for an escape, because focused attention for that long at that slow pace is like lifting weights for our concentration. Falling asleep is a common and initial phase when practicing mindfulness meditation, but its not helpful if we are still falling asleep regularly after a few months of practice.

Many of my clients come to Sanctuary Stretch to help with mental health struggles, as well as seeking flexibility and physical wellbeing. When reality is a place of emotional upheaval, or fear, or pain, or lack of hope, its common for a client to be searching for an ESCAPE.

Peace is certainly a state we are aiming for, however escaping reality to find peace is not a healthy long-term solution. I try to encourage my clients to practice staying awake, staying with me, and watching out for the mind’s escape plans.

You may be asking.. “What’s so wrong with falling asleep during meditation?” (Aside from the obvious snoring that is!)

One of the reasons I believe in the practice of Sanctuary Stretch so deeply, is because it is a carefully considered strategy to combat the struggles of life. That’s right I said combat! Because Combat reminds us of what’s at stake.

I understand the desire to want to escape, to wish you could give up, to feel the pressure is just too much sometimes, I honestly do, just read this post to see for yourself. But I know you are capable of much more than you give yourself credit for, and there are resources that can fill up your arsenal so that rather than looking for an escape, you are more likely to step forward to the front line of the war for your soul and feel competent because you have on your armour, you have your weapons, and your know how to use them.

Its pretty clear to me, that having the confidence to face life’s trials is far more realistic and beneficial than trying to avoid them. Our Inner Enemies of doubt and fear are hell-bent on depleting our confidence and faith, they want us to feel helpless in the face of struggles and trauma. But let’s not fall for the lie that Life is meant to be easy! Its not! Falling for this lie only leads to self-limiting beliefs and bitterness. The friction and contention we come up against in life has a very specific purpose – To prepare us, to mature us, to show us what we are capable of, and to help us reach our highest potential.

Without these things we become atrophic, useless, and defeated, when we didn’t even accept or realise that we are in a war.

So next time you practice mindfulness meditation, catch yourself before your mind escapes, and use your intention to strengthen the muscles of the mind, to get familiar and skillful at wielding the weapons of faith and self-awareness so that you may claim your victory, rather than your retreat!

12/05/2019

Is there a Quick Fix for Evil?

Posted in Finding Faith, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:55 am by The Water Bearer

I was recently invited to a healing and deliverance evening, a dear friend of mine asked me to go with him to give some spiritual discernment. The reason for his interest was curious and open as his faith has begun to blossom in the past few years, plus he was invited by someone we have known for decades. Still, as with all things ‘religious’ we can’t go in with blind faith, except blind faith in God, specifically the God we have a personal daily relationship with.

I appreciate that the people who ran this event, and the guy who invited us along, had good and perhaps even the best of intentions. They believe in the healing blood of Christ and had quite a bit to say on their experience with deliverance from demonic possession, and healing. I’ve seen events like this before, when I was very young. However, they seem archaic and unsophisticated to me these days.

Picture grown men standing in front of a group of seemingly sane and healthy people, (no one was deaf or lame or having fits of demonic insanity) they stood calling out to a whole host of specific evil spirits such as witchcraft, false tongues, Jezebel, psychology and unforgiveness, etc and requesting the demons ‘manifest’ before them as they claim to burn them with the fire of the anointing which the ‘Holy spirit’ had apparently filled the room with. This ‘calling out’ type performance went on for more than an hour, while everyone in attendance was asked to stay in prayer and connect to what they want to change in their life. I was disturbed initially, because while I consider myself someone who prays almost consistently throughout each day, focused prayer for that long was like running a marathon. I was equally disturbing being encouraged to empower my own will instead of submission in prayer.

There are a number of other reasons, besides the common ‘this is bullshit’ assumption, as to why I came away feeling disturbed. Let me be clear when I say that I’m not a sceptic, I’m emphatically discerning, and casting out demons is no game, it is something I have had some personal experience with, but I struggle to find authenticity in these dramatic performance type scenarios. I wasn’t around in Jesus’s day, and I’ve never witnessed (with my own eyes) any instant healings personally. The only way I’ve witnessed a soul tie be broken and someone finally purge an entity that has held them captive, is with love. Pure, close, personal, challenging, faithful, patient love. Love that endures, loves that hopes, love that never fails. Ok, yes fervent Prayer and Love. And the times I’ve experienced miraculous healing has been in God’s perfect timing, as my faith grew, and not much to do with who prayed for me.

True, Powerful, Godly Love holds no account of wrongs and yet these guys were intent on making anyone in the room who experiences, for example unforgiveness, feel possessed, and then offered a false hope to relieve the victim of these ‘evil spirits’. Again, I’m not a sceptic, I’m emphatically discerning. I’m not denying the awesome power of the blood of Christ, I have seen for myself how powerful it is. Nor am I dismissing the toxic effect unforgiveness, among other disorders, can have on our health and our hearts. However, aside from the Lord’s return, there is no end to evil, no quick fix, no one time cure all for the evil within us. As I’ve touched on before, the Cross and achieving the Born Again condition are continuously increasing processes of development. I love how Steve Furtick says it something like this… “Salvation is immediate, but sanctification requires a process! Forgiveness is instant once you recognise the truth of Christ on the cross, but freedom happens little by little!”

It is how we endure with faith and confession in the face of our sinful human nature that keeps us hungering and thirsting for righteousness, it keeps us humbly at the foot of the cross. The love found there has the power to help us overcome the things which seek to enslave us, such as sexual depravity, addiction, gossip, and so on however there will always be deeper evil in us, such as selfishness, bitterness, pride, fear, greed, envy, stubbornness etc. When they hint that simply ‘calling out’ a demon allows the victim to be ‘free’, it suggests that there is only a certain number of demons in someone and once they have been ‘cast out’ then there are no more demons! I have strong inclination that this is a lie from the pit of hell!

Its a false hope to claim that there is an end to the demons within us, for as long as we have breath we have sin, the blood of Christ has paid for and removed the death penalty of sin, but to be free from captivity of sin is a very specific heart condition, until then we are still in the process of purging our inner enemies! Even afterwards, we aren’t sin-free because we intercede for others, we experience sin, even if its not coming from within our own hearts. This deliverance performance is the exact type of thinking that has led many so-called ‘Christians’ into comparing sins between each other, creating a hierarchy of dominant believers who falsely judge the hearts of others. It makes my blood boil, for ALL have fallen short of the glory of God, and continue to do so as long we live! This is why we need a saviour daily! Why we need to take up our cross daily!

Even the apostle Paul, prayed for God to remove his tormenting demon, his ‘thorn in the flesh’, but God showed Paul how that demonic weakness was the very opportunity to perfect God’s power!

“So to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

This blog has been dedicated for 7 years to exposing the enemy in his true form, within us! If you want to understand how these systems work and find your own personal deliverance, then search through the archives of this blog until your heart is content. Self-awareness and a personal relationship with God are the most vital sanctifying aspects of any faith walk, we battle the enemy as long as we are in the flesh, for the purpose of revealing God’s power in our lives so that we may have unwavering faith during these end days. Let’s not skip over that process looking for a “quick fix”. Let’s trust that God knows how to handle these beasts within and is willing to guide and teach us if we turn our ear to His voice and are willing to obey, even if we suffer for it. Let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking we have a better way to heaven than His way.

Remember, we know who wins in the end, until then we keep on taking up whichever cross the Lord has deemed us able to carry. We do it willingly. We do it trustingly. Allowing God to use our circumstances to purge the soul ties from our lives, bearing with one another and trusting the Lord with our own personal thorns in the flesh. Allowing His light to shine brightest in our weakness, so that He may receive all glory, and not us or our deliverance ministers.

15/03/2019

The Devil Made Me Do It

Posted in Encouragement, Family, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:32 pm by The Water Bearer

Have you ever reached a point of anger that has become uncontrollable? Has it made you act in ways you never thought you would?

Have you ever felt so much pain and fear that defensive protection mechanisms caused you to say terrible and hurtful things to people you love?

I sure have.

I do understand how powerful emotions can make us want to lash out. I lived it for the first 20 years of my own life. I blamed everyone around me for my own feelings of disappointment and anger, I accused people of being unloving if they failed to meet my ideals of what love should look like. I called people I love names like “F’ing Asshole” and “F’ing bitch” and pointed out all their failings with nastiness, and then I shared all of their misgivings with anyone who would listen. I wrote letters outlining all the reasons I felt mistreated, all the reasons they were wrong and I was right.

Worst of all, I believed I was justified. I believed my emotions were valid. I believed my behaviour was not as bad as what they had caused me to feel. I believed that they had asked for it, that they deserved it. I took zero responsibility for my emotional outbursts, and in return I expected and longed for close happy relationships.

The real trouble with blaming, accusing, name calling, put downs, backstabbing etc is that once they leave our mouths or are written and sent, they break the precious trust that is needed to be close in that relationship.

Each time we say these things we feel, and they are directed at someone as a personal attack, more trust is broken. Broken trust creates distance, division, stress, triggers, defensiveness and many mental health problems like anxiety, depression etc.

The only way to repair that broken trust is to own up to the nasty things said and done and truly apologise, to feel the remorse of having said and done these things to someone cared for. Truly feeling the remorse of becoming untrustworthy and not being as close as before, and to promise to try not to do it anymore, while accepting that they get to choose whether or not to give another chance. Then to do everything possible to alter feelings and behaviours so that the pattern stops happening.

It is very hard to break patterns of emotion like this but it is possible, with time, therapy, faith and techniques that build self-awareness. This whole blog Inner Angels and Enemies, is dedicated to empowering us to succeed.

Being held hostage by powerful emotions that push us to treat the people we love that way, is not how I wanted to live my life. I saw this pattern in myself and my family and I desperately refused to pass the curse onto my daughters. And for the last 20 years I’ve been working hard to break this cycle.

I had to realise that not all my emotions are valid, and there is a devil who can create emotions within me, I was his puppet and emotions were his strings. Then I would be his weapon against people and all I had to say was “its not my fault its how I feel”. But what we say and how we act is our responsibility, and yes there is more than enough grace to cover all our failings, yet God can’t forgive based on the excuses that our ’emotions made us do it’, which really means ‘the devil made me do it’.

However God mercifully forgives our confessions, which is when we’ve taken responsibility and showed true remorse.

It is the devil at play, but we can overcome the devil through Christ’s example and He will help us change and break the devil’s hold. So then it is possible to gain control over our emotions more and more. Its a constant war. This is the spiritual war. This is what its ALL about.

“These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures” Galatians 5:17

The constant battle within each of us between the devils powerful emotions, and God’s forgiveness and power over those emotions. So we can move into Freedom from all the devil’s games and find real lasting unity with others.

Selah!

07/03/2019

Shifting The Blame

Posted in Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 1:05 pm by The Water Bearer

I’m pretty lucky to have found a select group of people who defy our current untrustworthy culture. The people I trust in this world are far from perfect, none of us are. The reason this group are trusted is because they own their own shit. They have the courage to have the hard conversations, to admit when they’ve let their emotions get the better of them, to recognise when they deserve the consequences for those times they refused to listen to their conscience, and to face someone to address issues without resorting to abuse, gossip or slander.

These people give me so much hope! Though sadly, they are few and far between.

Our culture is so warped, it has become too scared to admit its faults (possibly for fear of a liability suit) that we’ve lost the art of conflict resolution. Its far more common to make excuses or ignore personal faults and magnify these same faults in others, than to seek resolution to conflicts with a little honesty, humility and compassion.

The masses of legal action pointing fingers at human errors has gotten way out of hand, and had some serious consequences on they way we resolve societal problems. It’s almost as if we find our flawed humanity as far too big an inconvenience that we no longer accept it as part of reality. We are now shocked beyond words when we suffer at the hands of someones mistake, and allow that shock to catapult our emotions into condemnation and worse. The rage increases when they refuse to own up, surely denial adds to the injustice, and yet saying sorry now admits liability, so we just don’t hear it.

But there is something profound about a genuine apology, it can resolve so much tension. Maybe we would hear more apologies if society just remembered how to accept one, without always demanding compensation. There is no denying that we all mess up royally from time to time, and people get hurt, yet there’s something wonderful about being able to admit your flaws without fear of ridicule and rejection.

It has only been in the last half of my life that I got to experience the value of these things. Once I understood the grace of Christ, I knew I could be honest with myself and with Him. This gave me the courage to be honest with others as well.

It was just over 18 years ago when I hit the bottom of my shame pit. My behaviour had gotten so out of hand, I was the worst version of myself and the shame of it almost killed me. I clearly remember sitting down with a friend and confessing it all. I’m not sure why I felt I could open up and tell this guy my innermost skeletons, but I still did it. I expected shock, horror and a lot of guilt trips, but instead he barely battered an eyelash, he listened, he understood and strangely enough he still saw my value. That man showed me what its like to not have to hide my flaws out of fear of rejection, instead I felt loved like I never had before. See, people often ‘love’ our best selves, yet hold our worst self against us, like a trophy of our worthlessness. A trophy that gives them permission to berate and belittle and condemn. Not this guy. He saw my absolute worst and ended up marrying me anyway! (Go figure)

I’m not sure how we can undo the damage this blame culture is having on our relationships and our lives. We have become bound up by so much red tape that no one knows who is accountable for what anymore. The lines of accountability are so blurred that we no longer know which way is up!

So once again I fall at the feet of Our Saviour and plead with Him to help us learn how to love each other at our worst and not be so offended by human faults, and to bring back the beauty of self-awareness. Then we may no longer have to hide our sins, no longer have to pretend we aren’t scared and broken and capable of hurting people. Can we see ourselves through God’s eyes and claim our limitless worth and face our demons, for we all have both. None are innocent, yet all are loved.

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