We’ve all been spiritually hacked!!
Check your protection software!
In my last post, I shared some thoughts on the need to perform a Spiritual Audit regularly, a self-assessment as to the condition of our hearts, our thoughts, our behaviour, and our relationship with God. This is especially valuable during times of suffering, because it supports our willingness to trust that God is using our suffering for our spiritual success and not as some form of twisted vengeance. Just as we give our computer a scan when it shows signs of not working correctly.
Are we afraid of the judgemental eye of the technician, wondering what we have been up to cause a virus to access our computer? Do we just ignore the virus out of fear of discovery?
Usually we see the technician not as someone to fear, but rather someone to detect the problem and give us the solution. Much in the same way as God can for us, through our spiritual audits.
Similar again to computers, a spiritual audit is required regularly, no matter how long we have been believers, and regardless whether we have had our sins cleansed once, or perhaps many times in the past. The reason for such scrutiny is because as long as we walk this earth we are exposed to sin. Sin has a viral effect upon the condition of the world through us, and the weakness of our flesh. We become exposed to sin, which creeps in between the cracks in our protective armour, makes itself at home and begins poisoning us from within. Just as the internet similarly carries maladies, sneaking under our radar, finding loopholes in our antivirus software.
The origin of sin is in our hearts and minds. Our minds are extremely clever at adopting thoughts, behaviours and habits into our subconscious nervous system, so that we need not have awareness of every single function. Scientific research shows that approximately 95% of our day-to-day functioning is directed by our subconscious rather than in our scope of awareness. That is a scary thought! For we are not as in control as we may like to think. This is a major reason as to why the spiritual audit is so vital.
Who remembers being told as a child “you are who you hang with”. This common saying has been a way for parents to warn children for many generations. Warning us that those we spend time with can influence us to think and behave like our friends do.
In order to understand how we have becomes spiritually hacked, and how these Inner Enemies of sin creep in, we can consider Brain Entrainment. “Entrainment is a principle of physics. It is defined as the synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principles of entrainment appear in chemistry, neurology, biology, pharmacology, medicine, and more.” (Neuro programmer 3). Entrainment is a method utilised in group meditation, as our brainwaves settle into Alpha and Theta frequencies during meditation. These frequencies are transmitted among the group, syncing up with the brainwaves of all, and helping those who usually have trouble meditating on their own, to calm their mind and reach that highly sought after relaxed state.
Lets consider the enemies of sin whirring all around us, in the shows we watch, on the radio, on social media, in the music we listen to, the environment around us, and even in the behaviours and thoughts of the company we keep. Through entrainment our brainwaves pick up these rhythmic cycles and our brain chemicals can actually change to synchronize with them. We begin to have thoughts and beliefs we didn’t have previously, or begin to mimic behaviours without our conscious consent. We see evidence of this when women’s cycles sync up, or when we witness a hearty and contagious yawn.
These prolific enemies are not just aimless wandering entities of sin, these are determined villans, adversaries of God. Malicious and intentional. Our ignorance only encourages and empowers them. Infiltrating us and the world round us.
Self-awareness and the willingness to Spiritually audit ourselves, a close relationship with our Messiah through the Word, and the integrity of the armour of God, are our best form of antivirus! By developing the armour of God we can obtain the Helmet of Salvation and protect our precious minds from adopting the sinful influences of the world around us. In this way we do not need to avoid the world, nor withdraw from it and the abundance of sin, we can overcome it! Amen!
I used to believe that I was dead right about the way I assessed my emotions. I used them as platforms from which to bounce. I saw good emotions as reasons to smile, laugh and brag, and I saw negative emotions as an unacceptable state that I wanted to give away to anyone who would listen. I wanted to avoid and control negative feelings. I believed I was addressing everything and never “swept it under a rug”. I told myself this was healthy.
Realistically I was catapulting from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, and stability was so rare I could barely recognise it enough to know I needed it. Truth be told, I used emotions as an excuse to be reckless in my pursuit of happiness. I thought life owed me happiness, I knew no different. I believed my pain wouldn’t stop unless I focused on it, gave it credit and tried to find a way to stop it. Little did I know, I was adding fuel to the unstable emotional fire.
It was very difficult to firstly accept this mindset and then change it.
It is important to understand that emotions are powerful catalysts to another dimension. A dimension where an alien can easily take control of our ship if we fail to handle these inner enemies with caution.
When we become aware of the destructive nature of emotional instability, we are on our way to laying a new foundation from which to bounce through life.
Try looking at emotions as an ocean, high waves and low, ripples that can carry on for miles, sometimes intense and sometimes peaceful but always temporary.
Acknowledge how you feel, and why, recall the evidence of past destructive tendencies, and remind yourself, “I am not to be trusted to make good choices right now”. Just like standing under an impending wave, keep your head down (lay low, try to engage with the world as little as possible), allow the waves to crash or wash over you and give it as much time is needed until the wave has passed. You may actually be surprised how much more quickly the emotions lose intensity once you learn to ride them out this way. Once it is safe to lift your head you will see how much more clearly you can think. A clear head space is vital for preventing the mess that is often left in the wake of uncontrolled emotions.
We can’t control emotions by stopping them or avoiding them, but we can control how much damage they cause us by controlling ourselves during those waves. Thanks be to God, I have noticed that I can manage the lows much better than I used to, and find long-lasting peace in the present, without all the emotions that only seemed to create temporary happiness.
There is no denying it, strong emotions easily influence our decisions, and not usually in a good way.
We’ve all experienced overwhelming emotions in varying degrees in our lives. Times when clarity evades us under a dark cloud of confusing heartache, desperation, anguish, guilt, fear….
Even enjoyable emotions can negatively influence our decisions, especially in relationships. We feel so strongly, emotionally excited, that we let our pursuit of those feelings misguide our ability to be logical and rational regarding the pace we let the relationship develop and how deeply or quickly we invest our trust. Not just in romantic relationships but friendships as well. Our desire to be loved and accepted can smother the logic that recognizes a red flag and should deter us from believing flattery and false promises.
Negative emotions can cause us to make rash reactive decisions, without evaluating at the time, we may not like the long term consequences. We have all made a decision in the heat of the moment only to realize we would have done things differently had we had control of the emotions effecting us at the time.
I suffer from a few psychological issues, mainly anxiety and a manic/depressive mood disorder. Unstable emotions play a huge role in my daily life. I am extremely guilty of letting emotions control my decisions in the past, and truth be told, they still haunt me sometimes.
So what has changed? …. Lots!
We may not be able to stop our emotions, but we can prevent them from poisoning our choices. Oh and don’t be confused here: Reactions are not choices. However, using our emotions to excuse our reactions is a choice.
Through many years of therapy and self-awareness I have learned not to trust my emotions. I have learned to accept them as a reactive response but I know if I act too quickly while experiencing the emotion I will regret it later. So I had to set myself some rules.
It is important to develop your own set of rules, by looking back over your life and seeing the patterns. If you know you always find yourself in the same predicaments over and over, seek a Councillor/Psychologist to help you establish some rules that are healthy for you and the decisions you want to make in future.
Look carefully at the people you spend time with. Are they empowering your emotions and encouraging impulsive choices? Or do they display self-control and rational choices? We are all influenced by the people we associate with on a regular basis, but the beauty is we get to choose not to spend time with those who negatively impact us.
A stable confidant is vital to this transition, to detoxing our decision making.
When dealing with volatile situations and strong emotions, get some distance from the immediate situation and speak to someone who you know has a calm, unemotional sense of reason before doing anything else.
Remember: A little prayer goes a long way. If you resonate with this post but doubt your ability to overcome your overpowering emotions, ask your Heavenly Father for some help, read His Word. Through Christ’s strength ALL things are possible!
Watching from the outside as someone you love is being put through the paces of a “life changing” experience can be quite nerve wracking. My Dad used to say “There can be no reconstruction without there first being deconstruction”, or simply, “No one can rebuild a better life until they go through the process of breaking down their current life.”
Friends, family and others can offer simple support or short term guidance to loved ones in crisis, but unfortunately sometimes certain attempts to help may actually enable the unhealthy patterns to continue. Offering comfort and attempts to fix or stop the suffering can prevent them learning the very important lesson which only rock bottom can teach.
When someone truly seeks Him, God is the ultimate designer of both deconstruction and reconstruction. The strategy in place is that before we can accept His blessings and have a productive, fulfilling and contented life, we must allow Him to shake things up, to show us where the problem areas are. Then we must learn to distance ourselves from the old ways we have been living and determine our minds to be renewed, through His word and an honest relationship with Him.
As you may have guessed, this is not a simple one time action. It takes many steps to undo all the unhealthy beliefs, habits and influences on our decisions, to completely remove their power over us. Sure enough, these steps aren’t all forward, we may take ten steps backwards before one faithfully productive step forward is earned. It can feel like we aren’t getting very far at all, and it can appear that way to those around us as well.
It can be tempting to get drawn in by those going through the ugliness of this phase, out of concern for the destruction we are witnessing, or our desire to prevent our loved ones from suffering. However, we may want to remember that progress isn’t pretty, and be reminded of how many times we had to fall and become a complete mess before we saw any progress in our own lives. Pray for them, love them, give them into God’s trustworthy hands, and try not to allow fear to motivate our contributions to their issues. Don’t let it make you lose faith in the possibility of positive faithful progress, which may be just around the next corner they take. Remember and believe that we serve a LOVING, FAITHFUL & AMAZING GOD!
What stands out most to you as you recall being a child, looking up at adult relationships?
Did you have two parents or grandparents who worked together through tough times?
How about your neighbours, family friends or your friend’s parents, were any a really good team?
Were you from a single parent family, where independence and struggle filled the years?
Did step parents join your family for a while and then leave without further contact?
Was compassion and grace obvious? Or was there bitterness and disappointment?
Was there respect, or insult?
Was there silent tolerance and unhappiness, or joy and companionship?
Rejection rather than acceptance?
Were there unresolved arguments?
Did family members gather around for support during the difficult trials of life?
Children absorb everything! Our own childhood effects so much of who we become and what behaviours we choose to adopt as we grow to form our own relationships. The behaviour modeled by the adults in a child’s life are powerful to say the least.
What will our children take away from their childhood? What understandings will they form from the behaviours modeled by us, and those we are in relationship with?
Will they come to believe Fathers are replaceable?
Will they believe the man should be the head of the household and given the respect to be so?
Will they think demanding and holding grudges is the way to make things change?
Will they be able to recognise a sincere apology and appreciate the value of such a thing?
Will they accept abuse as normality?
Will they view alcohol or drug use as a reward for surviving another tough week or even a tough day?
Will they understand and respect money, without letting it ruin them?
Will they cherish hard work and education?
Will they have the belief that they are valuable?
Will they have faith and hope that all will work out in the end?
These are tough questions…
They will grow into whom they determine themselves to be. Our mistakes may make them shudder at the thought and they may refuse to repeat them. On the other hand, they may follow closely in our footsteps.
They may make choices that take them so far from anything we came close to in our own lives, however the influences they received from their childhood will stay with them, deep in their hearts and memory.
Isn’t that worth thinking about? Isn’t that worth praying about?
None of us can claim to be perfect parents or to have perfect relationships, and that is why I believe it is so important for our children to have a concept of faith in the only perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.
I am not suggesting an upbringing with religiosity, with laws and punishment beaten into every conversation. Nor with judgement and focus on sin, which I feel is more damaging than encouraging. Those things they can learn and understand as they grow and begin to question for themselves.
However the precious unconditional Love from God is vital to our sense of self-worth. The concept deep within us that someone accepts us, forgives us, helps us, is watching out for us. Knowing we will never be rejected or forsaken, so long as we keep Him in our hearts. Having healthy, righteous behaviour modeled for us, that we can aspire to emulate in our own lives, is extremely beneficial. Plus the accountability that our actions effect the greater good of the world we have been invited to be part of.
Don’t our children deserve to have these elements of faith in their lives? If we are unable to always show up in the ways that are best for them, I am comforted and so grateful that God will never fail them. Open His word, learn about His Love, share it with your children and invite Him to fill all spaces where our humanity makes us fall short. May Gods Blessings be upon all the children!
Hmmmm this made me feel better….
I had the meanest mother in the whole world.
While other kids ate candy for breakfast, I had to have cereal, eggs or toast. When others had cokes and candy for lunch, I had to eat a sandwich. As you can guess, my supper was different than the other kids’ also.
But at least, I wasn’t alone in my sufferings. My sister and two brothers had the same mean mother as I did.
My mother insisted upon knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were on a chain gang. She had to know who our friends were and where we were going. She insisted if we said we’d be gone an hour, that we be gone one hour or less–not one hour and one minute. I am nearly ashamed to admit it, but she actually struck us. Not once, but each time we had a mind of…
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One of the concepts my Dear Departed Dad always used to explain to me, has come back to me recently. It’s as though he still helping me, even after his passing.
Back when he was still around, and I was struggling to keep the faith and stay on track, He always had a phrase of comfort, or a story with stability to ground me. During series of events that made me freak out with fear and dread, events that set off all my triggers of my psychological issues, when I was filled with self-condemnation and depression etc. He knew exactly what to say to provide the support that I needed.
This is another one of his concepts that has come back into my recollection…
“Life is a play, earth is the stage. You are merely playing your role. What you face here and how you must react to it will not last forever. You are just up on stage reciting the lines, responding to the actors, the director and the plot. This is not your permanent place, this is a stepping stone to the next place. Just hold on, play the best part you can, and know that when the curtain drops it will all be over and you will never have to play that role again.”
Does that resonate with you as much as it does me?
If an actor makes a mistake on stage, they just keep going as if nothing happened (yet determined to do better next time). If the audience isn’t paying attention to them they just keep on going, doing their best, the reactions around them hardly effect the play.
In the past it helped me avoid so much dread. It helped me step aside and look at the issues without letting them overwhelm me. How I dearly miss his words of wisdom. I am so grateful that they come back to me like this so I can lean on them once again.
Even though life is tough, and gets to be too much at times, we have also been given some great roles to play that balance out the bad. The times I feel like a good mum, when I play with my girls and nurture them with kindness, approval, affection and attention. As a wife, when I can comfort and support my man. Times I feel completely loved as a child of God, Or am brave enough to share something I created. Amongst gatherings of loved ones filled with laughter and companionship, or as a servant to those in need. Even just the ability to enjoy my own company while staring deep into the blue sky above or a picturesque sunset, or the crashing waves of the ocean.
There are so many fabulous roles for us to play, let’s not allow the harder roles drag us into despair. One day all will be washed new, the curtain will drop on our time here and the next place will be where we can be our true authentic selves, not poisoned by the inner enemies we carry around with us while we are here.
It is just a play and this is just the stage!
A lot is changing in my neck of the woods of late. Much of it I knew was coming in advance and it grew like storm clouds in the distance, looming and grey, with the possibility to bring either destruction or renewed freshness of life.
It has been a strange couple of months adjusting to each change as it tacked itself onto the growing cloud, and the upheaval of emotions brought with each new turn. Even though I am aware of the effect these changes are having on me, I have been trying my best to stay balanced. Trying to be aware of my sensitivity to the friction and fear that are close acquaintances of the unknown. Trying to hold myself in, keeping tight grip on the emotions that are brimming up inside me, but to be honest I have been failing much of the time.
As I read my older posts, I know I have had a true sense of peace at various points over recent months. Yet at the moment, the concept that I can get back there anytime soon is not tangible enough to calm me. I accept that so many changes are bound to cause unpleasant reactions to slip out and I have been endeavoring to demonstrate some self-compassion. Not very successfully, but still, I am trying.
When life gets many bursts of change all at once it can take on a manic appearance, and mania is an old foe of mine. I have had too many encounters with manic episodes to trust myself in its presence. I have a true deep affection for people in general, I love engaging and connection, but even so, I have come to learn over the years that I am not good at being around other manic people. Not for long anyway. I am too easily influenced by the emotions expressed by others, they add onto my own dysfunction. It is unhealthy for me to spend too much time with someone else’s mania, which I have no ability to calm or control.
So, as changes come thick and fast, the faster time seems to pass, not enough time to regroup my thoughts and get a grip, and it’s nearly impossible to slow my thoughts enough to seek God before I act upon them.
I have been hit with a condition that has had me bed ridden for almost 2 weeks. My Iron levels dropped so low that I could barely stand for more than a few seconds. I have had to watch and cope with all the pending changes from a horizontal position. You would think resting in bed for two weeks would encourage time to slow down, but feeling useless only added to the upheaval I have been battling with. Those enemies of friction and fear were not appeased in the slightest. The weight is still building on my shoulders.
So I guess this is my prayer request, in Yeshua’s Name:- That I stop trying to maintain control over things God is obviously trying to change, because they may be the keys to changes I have been asking Him to bring about within me. To have a subconscious level of trust in His plan. To recognise the stirring of mania as an opportunity to faithfully hand all my cares into His capable hands.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated…..
On the last day of a recent 3 day blog fast, my girls asked me to watch a movie with them. The movie was a Japanese Anime Film and the boy in the movie had no technology in his home. They only had a dial-phone and lots of books.
My youngest daughter (9yrs) was fascinated by this film, it inspired her to want to take a break from technology herself. She expressed to me her desire to go on a technology fast. This little angel had ideals of lasting a whole week with no TV, no Nintendo DS, no Wii, no computer, no mp3 player, no DVD’s, nothing!
We discussed this at some length, I explained that a whole week is a very long time for a little girl and perhaps it could be something she works up towards. I explained my theory about 3day fasts. They are achievable yet still a trial. We have more chance of hanging in there and keeping our promise, than risk being tempted into breaking our agreement with God. She seemed quite happy with this, wrote out her agreement in her prayer journal and the next morning began her task.
As my fast had now finished, I was sitting in my office replying to comments when her little face popped up over the back of the couch at me.
“Mummy! Guess what I just nearly did!” She blasted at me at top speed.
I gave her an inquiring look “What did you just nearly do?”
“I just turned the Wii on because I am finished getting ready for school. Good job I realised in time hey!” She grinned as she flipped around to turn it back off.
“Well done Honey” I cheered, “Good for you! It’s easy to slip-up, but well done for being strong enough to catch yourself.”
She grabbed her Children’s Bible, curled up on the lounge and read it until we left for school. When she got home she was heading to her room and had to pass the TV, which was on. She got caught up, it was like it reached out and grabbed her, after a couple of seconds she shook her head and kept on her way (Bless her).
This kid has so much faith it astounds me. For the next two days she kept to her word, she read books, drew pictures and played outside. I taught her how to play Gin Rummy, which we played a lot.
On the third day she started to struggle. It was a weekend and the day was dragging, we had tidied up and completed some chores, but she was being tempted with dreams of Mario Kart. I reminded her that this fast was her idea, that she had wanted to go a whole week and here she was struggling on only day 3. I encouraged her to ask God for help and explained that if we can resist something when it is hardest, in those times we really really want something, it gives our faith a huge boost. Plus, we show God how much we really want to keep our promises to please Him, rather than pleasing ourselves and our flesh. She said a prayer and then began reading a hefty novel, which she had been too overwhelmed to attempt before.
As the day turned to night, I was getting ready to head out to a friend’s birthday, and my daughter began yearning again. Snuggling up at the end of a Saturday with a movie is a common practice for our family, and she was itching for it. She didn’t want to just ‘break’ her promise so instead asked me if she could. I told her if she wanted to break her fast it would have to be her choice, and that I wasn’t going to give her permission so she could blame me for not reaching her goal. I reminded her of all the things I had said earlier, that she was so very close now and that is always when it gets hardest. I explained that if she broke her promise now, before her agreement was fulfilled, then the past 2 and a half days would be wasted.
She went back to her room to pray for more help and I left unsure of how strong she would remain without me to support her. So I said my own prayer asking for the Lord to keep her strong and keep the enemy from tempting her. When I arrived home later that night all was quiet, everyone was asleep. I wanted so desperately to wake her up and see if she had achieved this monumental goal.
I waited until my eyes sprang open then next morning, “How did you go Honey? Did you end up watching a movie or did you manage to keep your promise?”
Her little face beamed back at me “I didn’t watch a movie Mummy. God helped me keep my promise and I read this much of my book” She held up her novel and showed a quarter of it sectioned off with a bookmark.
I was so overcome with joy as tears ran down my cheeks, I made such a big deal of her triumph. Throughout the day I kept reminding her how very pleased I was with her, because it is one thing for a parent to discipline a child, but for a child of 9 years old to discipline herself was a huge accomplishment. I don’t know many adults who have that much self-discipline or faith. I strongly feel that exercising faith and self-control is extremely important, especially in a day and age when self-indulgence is so widely encouraged. Proudest Mum ever!