Honoring the Sacrifice of Fellowship

I had someone contact me this week to interpret a dream.  Basically, she had a dream she was in college.  The next thing she heard was Leviticus 3 and 4.  The highlight of these scriptures is “… sacrifice of fellowship offerings …”

What an incredibly interesting God we serve! And He never ceases to amaze me with the way He plays with words, symbolism, and His unexpected sense of humor.

So, for the backstory, this lady (dreamer) is one of the sweetest you’ll ever meet!  She spends every ounce of her energy, time, money, etc. doing for others.  To. A. Fault.  Yet, this little missy wonders why she’s exhausted all of the time and consistently frustrated because she very seldom ever gets back from others what she pours in.  Often, not even a thank you.  For me, it is very difficult to watch.  With that being said, I pray for her often, and hope her heart doesn’t get calloused in regard to people.

Imagine my excitement when I heard her dream!

I began to explain that her dream basically means that God is “schooling” her in regard to the “honor of fellowship.”  She had read over Leviticus and had assumed God was going to ask her to donate a liver or a kidney, which I’m sure she was already trying to adjust her schedule for the time she would need off to make that happen.   I assured her that was not God’s intent.

He wants to spend the next season teaching her how to navigate relationships.  All of her relationships.  Her relationships with Him, her friends, family, acquaintances, and even folks that drain the life out of her with no interest in her best welfare.  Did I mention, she is a “giver” and is always tracked down by the “takers?”

He basically wants to teach her the beauty of navigating fellowship.  What a beautiful description of the art of learning to honor herself.

Today, I had an appointment and met with another young lady about the same age.  I mentioned the dream.  We discussed the “sacrifice of fellowship offerings.”  She was dumbfounded by the thought and excited to hear that she didn’t have to live her entire life exhausted at the cause of others.  She had also been wrestling with how to navigate a busy career, a young one, husband, and a nationwide privilege of attending and teaching at conferences.  Even before our session, she had actually reached out to me to help her navigate through the guilt of leaving her little one at home while she was away for the weekend.

We chatted about the privileges God gives us.  For each of these young ladies, they have incredibly successful careers, wonderful husbands, and littles.  Throw in health, family, friends, and self-care, and it begins to seem unnavigable or overwhelming, at best.  It seems that something has to give, or at least that’s what they both seemed to think.

Christian Inner Healing
Photo by Jonny Swales at Unsplash

My response to both of them is this:  Do you enjoy all of the things that are on your list?  If the answer is yes, it’s not about removing your passions.   It is, however, more about culling out the things that don’t bring you joy.

Don’t get me wrong, just because cleaning your house doesn’t bring you joy, doesn’t mean you can’t stop doing it.  But you can change your perspective about it.  For example, if God has given you the privilege of traveling the USA and teaching your trade, and you enjoy that, then by all means, do it!  Just don’t sacrifice your family, health, and welfare for it.  Don’t aspire to be a worldwide phenomenon at the sacrifice of your home and family.  But do it as you can and as you are able to enjoy.  It’s all about balance.

I can’t imagine either of these young ladies not operating in their gifting and talent regarding their careers but I pray they don’t let their careers lead their lives.  If your career is about chasing fame, power, or money – your relationships will suffer.  You will probably gain those things you’re seeking, but you will gain them at the altar of your children and possibly your marriage.

I do believe that you and your family benefit from following your dreams in a way that is acceptable for everyone. And scripture says that where there is unity, God commands a blessing (Psalm 133:1-3).  So, if your husband supports what you do, then you should go and kill it.  If you pine away the entire time you’re gone, are not able to be fully present and enjoy yourself, then you should refrain.  It’s all about “honoring the fellowship.” The key is to be “fully present” where you are.

I have several friends that I often take trips with.  Some of my friends will only go away for a day, some a couple of days, and one or two that I think would sell their wares and travel the world with me if I were to ask.

My one particular friend is good for about 5 days.  She’s married to a wonderful man who encourages her to travel with me.  One day, a couple of our friends and I loaded our kayaks in my hubby’s truck and went to pick her up to head to a beautiful cabin in the woods.  He was so excited to load her up that I became a little concerned.  He seemed more excited to ship her off than she was to go.  So, of course, I mentioned what I had observed and my concern.

His response was, “I am very excited for her to go on your girls’ trip!  She always comes home a better person!”

I almost cried.  What a gift he gives her in knowing that she enjoys our little jaunts and she comes back refreshed and renewed in her relationship with herself and with him.  It is so true!  After a few days with a couple of old ladies, she’s ready to get home to her man and back to life “better than.”  That is a perfect example of “the sacrifice of honoring fellowship.”

So, for the next little season, God is going to teach my sweet little dreamer the privilege of learning how to honor who she is in relationship to others.  Ideally, she will learn that often the enemy will keep you busy doing good. But if you stop and seek Him, God will only give you what is best.  The enemy will convince you to sacrifice your family for a career.  He will even coax you into believing that working 80 hours a week is good so your kids won’t “lack.”  While you’re traveling on a fun trip, he will make you feel guilty that you aren’t home. But when you are home, he will make you bitter because you can’t travel.

Bottom line is to learn to be present!  Wherever you are – there you are!  And if you abide in the Lord, He will ordain your steps so you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  If you are miserable, then you probably missed Him and you need to “recalibrate” your choices moving forward.  (Unless you are always miserable.  If you are, then you may need to assess whether or not you are just choosing to be a miserable cow.  If you have good friends, they will tell you.)

Bottom line, wherever you are, be fully there!  If you have a bratty little one who’s going through a hard time, it might seem like a relief to wish she were old enough to get her own snack or do her own homework.  Don’t fall for it.  Spending time with her during snack and helping her with her homework is the “honoring of fellowship.”  One day you’ll look back and would give anything to join her in snack and the process of mathematics (never thought I would say that?!) But it’s true, that is the best of life.  That little one is soaking up every little thing you think about her.  Whether you say it out loud or not, she knows if you enjoy her company.

In scripture, the definition of joy means “I am glad to be with you” (Psalm 16:11).  And that is the epitome of the honoring of fellowship. It means I have made the sacrifice of all other things, and I am glad to be with you.

So, here’s the skinny on “the sacrifice of fellowship offerings:”

  1. Honor your time alone.
  2. Honor your time with others. Give because you want to, not because you feel you owe anybody.  God has blessed us to be a blessing, not to be indebted to others.
  3. Honor your company, whether you are alone or with friends.
  4. Choose friends who make you a better person. The world is hell bent on making you a bitter person.  Don’t take the bait.
  5. Practice gratitude.
  6. Don’t be a miserable cow.
  7. Breathe. And Rest.
  8. Honor a Sabbath, with or without others. It refreshes your soul.
  9. Have no worry for tomorrow or thought for yesterday.
  10. Wherever you are, be fully present.

 

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Dedicating Your Home and Land to God

Here is a testimony regarding sin/curses passing with the land and the beautiful process of consecrating your land to release the blessings.

When my husband and I moved to our property 22 years ago, almost immediately, we started ending every argument with the word “divorce.” Strangely enough, we had never used that word previously to moving to Dahlonega. Before long, we began to feel that divorce was our only answer. Thankfully, we both turned to God for direction. The Lord prompted us to repent for any sin/ trespasses that had occurred on our property. (Not only ours but with anybody that had owned the land before us). We followed the processes of consecration (pouring new wine, oil, new grain into our land, planted a Bible, and took communion as a family).

We later discovered that every time our land had been sold it was because of broken relationships. (The curse of broken covenant had passed with our land and we were starting to reap the fruit of it).

That took place 22 years ago and the word “divorce” has not been a go-to for us any longer. As a matter of fact, we have lived safe, peaceful, blessed lives on our land. As well, others who visit have commented about how quiet and peaceful our home and land are.

Have you ever thought about dedicating your home and land? We call it “consecrating your land.”

Here are a few reasons you may want to consider it.

If you have ongoing issues that are unexplainable such as
(not an exhaustive list):

  • Ongoing illness
  • Continual bad dreams/nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Behavioral problems
  • Relational problems; ongoing fighting/arguing
  • No peace
  • Restless, disturbed children
  • Unexplained illness and bondage
  • Ghosts
  • Poltergeists (movement of physical objects)
  • Foul, unexplainable odors
  • Continual nausea/headaches
Land Consecration and Christian Inner Healing
Photo by Roberta Sorge at Unsplash

Here is a starter of how to dedicate your home and land.

  1. Accept Jesus as your Lord & Savior
  2. Take spiritual inventory of your life
  3. Dedicate your home & land
  4. Prepare for Battle (praise music, Psalm 91)
  5. Cleanse your home of anything ungodly
  6. Cleanse each room and cleanse the land
  7. Consecrate your home
  8. Consecrate your property
  9. Fill your home with Glory (Communion, praise, pray),
    testify of His goodness, speak the Word in your home.
    (Keep your house bright, refuse to invite anything dark in.).
  10. Maintain spiritual victory

These are just a few of the strategies that we teach at the Center for Inner Healing. If you would like more info on consecrating your home, land, business, church, etc. or would like to acquire a ready-made kit of the elements and instruction for consecration – please go to our website and reach out to us:  http://centerforinnerhealing.org/.

 

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Liminal Space: The Act of Observation

I recently had a session with a friend who started out by saying “Everything in my world is spinning.  I can’t get any peace about anything that is happening in my world.”  (It might be important for me to say that this lady has everything in the world to be content.  She has an amazing husband, lives a very successful lifestyle, a beautiful career in a field she is gifted in, and two beautiful children (and this is not an exhaustive list of her blessings).  I was surprised to hear her say how frustrated she was, and I was intrigued as to what we were about to explore.

As it unfolded, she is in a place that I have had the privilege (lol) of being in for going on five years.  This place is called “liminal space.”  Liminal comes from a Latin word, limen, which means “threshold.”  I have heard it referred to as “the space in between the ‘after’ and the ‘before.’  (Go ahead and shake your head and read that again).

I believe there comes a time (or times) in a person’s life where they stop and assess everything they have built.  Whether “successful” or not, there comes a time of reflection, followed by a deep feeling of dissatisfaction, discomfort, and (as she described) irritability.  After we paint the living room, trade in the car, buy another dog, etc. we realize it is not external.  Eventually (if we choose to look inward) we will acknowledge it is inside of us.

What are we doing?  Who are we doing it with?  Am I living my best self?  Am I satisfying God with all of my time, gifts, service, and talents?  Or am I just living day to day, paycheck to paycheck, with no real meaning in my life?  If you look at that truth long enough, you’ll eventually come to a place where you have to (as we say in the country) “fish or cut bait.”  We will decide, I am not going to go through the motions of life anymore.

Christian Inner Healing
Photo by KT at Unsplash

I probably need to clarify that if you don’t know God, or if you know Him but choose not to walk with Him (there is a difference between Jesus being our Savior and Jesus being our Lord), then you might not delve any further into the self-discussion other than to take another drink and shrug it off, or take another puff, buy another house, etc.

But if you really want to live your best life, you’ll pull out all of the stops and wrestle intimately, with the reality that you have spent your entire life pursuing something that is not acquirable:  The “American Dream.”  The wife/hubs, two kids, puppies, and a minivan are not your best self.

After a series of ugly cries, you realize you’ve got work to do.  This is what that looks like.  Begin asking yourself,  Who am I?  What did God create me for?  Am I living my best life?  Is this all there is?  If you survive those questions, you may move on to,  Who do I need to purge? What do I need to purge?  Who can help me with myself?  What makes me smile?  How can I make a difference?  And then, you put it into action.

Wake up each day and ask God what He wants you to do.  Right now, and for the day.  Don’t allow your phone, calendar, or others to dictate your day.  Honor God.  Honor others.  And honor yourself.  Invest in those that are in your peripheral that are worthy of your resources (not the ones that perpetually suck the life out of you but those that you can pour into that will “bear good fruit”).

Change.  Change what hinders you.  Take inventory of yourself.  Find a community that speaks truth and life in you, and invest!  Stay fully present in the work of your heart and soul.  Do the hard stuff.  Speak life.  Rest.  Breathe.  Enjoy the sabbath.

And once you’ve purged (your purse, your car, your closet, your friend list, your activity list, etc.) then practice Presence.  Be still.  Observe.

Study God, study His Word.  Study others.  And when you observe the discontent in others, ask God how you can contribute to their peace.  Do you speak, act, or just pray?  Or maybe all three.  You never know until you ask.

When I ended the session with my beautiful friend, she was at peace.  More importantly, she was excited that “transition” is a beautiful thing.  It means she loves herself, her family.  All of that is enough to do the work to be her best self.  She doesn’t have to measure up or perform any longer.  She can let go and let God have His way with her.

And He will.  The beauty of our “liminal space” was God asking her if He could have it.  All of it.  The beautiful life that she is frustrated with.  He wants it.  He gave it to her to enjoy, and now He wants to teach her how to do so.  So cool.  So God.

 

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Wearing a Matter

As many of you may (or may not) know, my son just picked a university!!!  Not without many visits, many explorations, etc. that go along with such an important decision.

Finally, we had it narrowed down to two schools.  One has an incredible sports program, is more than 36 “driving” hours away from our house, and offered him an incredible scholarship.  The second school (and my personal fav) offers an incredible Biomechanics (also sports med but more robotic) program, is only 5 hours away, and offered him an even better scholarship.

In the end, we told McKinley he was the one who was going to have to live with his decision and we would support either.  So, the process began.  I offered advice (as usual).  My suggestion when choosing between one or more options is “to wear it.”

“To wear it” means that on the first day of the week, I “put on” my first option.  Everything for that week lines up with that decision.  Where are you going to school?  Option #1.  Have you picked a college yet?  Yes!  Option #1.  Have you narrowed down your choice of schools?  Yes!  Option #1.  I orchestrate my entire response based on Option #1.  Everything that I contemplate for my future is based on Option #1, for one week.

And then comes week two.  And I change things up a bit.

For week #2:  Where are you going to school?  Option #2.  Have you picked a school yet?  Yep, Option #2.  I keep “living,” “wearing,” “supposing,” “concluding,” that Option #2 is the answer to everything that is involved in my decision.  Option #2 is my answer.

The goal is to see what fits.  Does it feel “heavy?”  Do I feel that this answer “weighs me down?”  Do I have peace with this answer?  I have learned that over time, I can get a sense of peace based on how I feel “yoked” to my answer.

If Option #1 feels heavy and cumbersome, then I take note.  If it feels “unfitting,” I take note.  For each week that I have made that determination, I look for the results.  How do I feel saying it out loud?  How does it feel as my future?  Do I feel peace when Option #1 is my answer?  If not, then I continue rotating my options until I feel peace.

Soon enough, I will be able to determine if my choices are a comfortable fit for me.  If not, I cast them off.  Each time I am wearing them, I am asking the Lord to yoke me with His best for me and my future.

You see, I’ve learned over time that He has a path for me (Jeremiah 33:11), but it’s my responsibility to search a matter out.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “God puts a plan in a man’s heart but He directs his steps.”  For me, I have discovered it’s best to “wear” a matter to see how it “fits.”   Once I’ve “worn” it long enough, I’ll know if it’s God’s best or not.

Thank God McKinley is open to wearing his options instead of just flipping a coin.  I’m looking forward to watching God’s best unfold for him, and the best part is that I don’t have to worry if he made the right choice.  Go God and CONGRATS High Point University. You are gaining a great kid!!!

Inner healing

 

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Sabbatismos!

If you’ve been around me for any amount of time, you’ll know that one of my favorite words is “katartismos.”  This Greek word comes out of Ephesians 4:12 and refers to “fitting together in proper order” (referring to gifts, etc. in the Body of Christ).

Another definition of this word (which is my personal favorite) is “a chiropractic adjustment in the Spirit.”  Many of you experienced this during our most recent retreat.  You will also experience it many times during your ongoing prayer ministry sessions.

Today, however, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite word!!! “Sabbatismos!”  (Ref. Hebrews 4:10.)

As you begin to familiarize yourself with me and this ministry, you’ll quickly recognize that one of my goals for you is to learn to rest in the Spirit of the Lord.  That has a two-fold meaning:  1. To live in a place of rest.  2.  To move, and live, and have your being in the Holy Spirit.

This week while reading Hebrews, I came across the word “Sabbatismos.”  Oh!  My word!!!  I can’t tell you how excited I was to now have a word that perfectly describes our goal.

“Sabbatismos” means “living in the Sabbath rest,” which is exactly what we should desire.  Most folks think the Sabbath is only relegated to a day, but in fact, it is a promised lifestyle for us as Christians!!!

Inner healing, sabbath rest, peace
Photo by Javardh at Unsplash

Ideally, we all should grow in our spiritual maturity to the degree that we are completely unaffected by our surroundings, our environment, and our circumstances.  We then can choose instead – and are able – to live in perfect Peace.  (Notice the capital letter that begins Peace – which means we live in the personhood of Peace, promised to us by the cross and blood of Christ, in the promises of the Word of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit).

So, if we know all of that and believe all of that, then we should aspire to live in it.  And that is one of the goals we have in this Journey.  Which brings us to the next point.

How do we choose to live in Sabbatismos?  First, we have to acknowledge that it is a promise of God.  Not only does He instruct us to “take a day of Sabbath” (one day a week), but He also offers us this every day.

For me to learn this process, He first showed me the importance of honoring a Sabbath day.  I realized the difference in my life with just that small shift in my heart and mind.

After I realized the incredible results that the Sabbath had on my life, I started trying to bring that into the other aspects of my life.

Then, I realized this is His desire for me – to live absolutely unaffected by the things in the world.  Ideally, nothing should steal my Peace.  Nothing should affect my ability to remain in Presence.

The second thing He introduced me to was to practice “centering prayer” or “contemplative prayer.”  (They are the same thing.)  This form of prayer requires you to sit quietly focusing on the Kingdom of God within you.

(You can download a centering prayer app to help you with this process.  It’s located under Health & Fitness in the Apple store and is offered free.  You can also read about centering prayer and other contemplative processes in Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.  I highly recommend reading that book as it offers many of the disciplines that I suggest for growing in this Peace journey.)

The process of centering prayer not only offers the Peace that is promised, but also it actually rewires your brain to peace.  I’ll teach on that a little later, but for now, just trust that any and all forms of prayer re-train your brain to return to the “Joy center” of your brain which is where peace and rest are for you.  I call this “coming back to peace” or “coming home.”

Once you recognize this place is accessible for you, then you can practice it and choose it anytime and anywhere.  Then you will become so familiar with it that you will not want to be anywhere but in perfect peace.

While you’re in traffic you can “decide” to go to peace.  When there is chaos in your environment, you can choose to go to peace.  Before long you will realize that you are living there without even consciously making a decision to do so.

Out of practicing a Sabbath and practicing prayer, you can choose to live in this place of rest (body, soul, and spirit) no matter where you are or what you are doing.  You just have to choose over and over to bring yourself back to peace.

I believe this is the promise of living in Sabbatismos!!!  And we are going to become residents of this promise!!!

 

“Still / Live at Peace on Earth” by Amanda Cook

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Questioning Everything

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by _Marion at Pixabay

Have you ever felt like one day you woke up and everything you believed was in question? I’m experiencing this right now but am quite sure I am not yet even fully awake. So, not only am I questioning all of the things that I have always “known” for sure, but I am also groggy from the process of getting here. It took a lot of upheaval to get me here.

About three years ago, after a series of very traumatic events, I found myself questioning everything I had ever believed. I questioned myself, my identity, my “calling,” my choices, my beliefs, my faith, and oftentimes, even God. All those things I had always felt so secure in suddenly weren’t. And, quite honestly, I didn’t know how to respond.

In my quest to stop the spinning (envision the little icon on your computer when it can’t settle), I felt like the only way I could get any peace was to be very still and quiet. Before long, quiet was the only thing I desired. I was completely raw inside and out. My brain felt foggy, my body lethargic, and my heart broken. I didn’t know how to get out of this experience.

Generally, when I have had a circumstance of upheaval in my life, whether emotional or spiritual, I would just read all of the books, articles, etc. on how to deal with it. This time I had no energy to read, and if I did attempt to read, I was unable to process information. I knew I needed help, so I reached out to a few friends that I trusted knew me enough to help me navigate this chasm of chaos.

I called on those friends to sit in the darkness with me. I didn’t want to be around anyone very often because I found that conversation was exhausting. However, I had been through depression before and just needed to make sure I was safe, still somewhat sane, and didn’t need professional help. “Taking my emotional pulse” kind of friends. I knew these folks wouldn’t discount me when I needed to rant, cuss, spit, and growl. They had no idea what they were in for. God bless them for persevering. I ranted, spat, cussed, and cried for a couple of years. They were enduring to say the least. Most importantly, they didn’t try to fix me. They just sat with me in my pain.

Sometimes we would sit at the barn with the horses, a stray cat, chickens, and a rooster that I’m sure needed deliverance. Or we would sit by the creek with a bottle of wine. Sometimes Susan would treat us to her homemade cookies and infamous chicken salad. They seemed to be completely content just sitting and listening. Wherever we were, no matter what we were doing or not doing, they seemed content to sit in my mess with me.

I called on another couple of friends to counsel me into or out of this experience that I began to think was a mid-life crisis. I didn’t really want to admit it, but that thought ran through my mind. I didn’t google what I was going through. I just knew it was pain. Deep emotional pain. And, quite honestly, I couldn’t remedy it with the things that had worked before: eating, drinking, art, good music, nature, etc. It just kept hanging on like a bad cold. It affected me like a bad cold too. No energy, stuffy headed, just wanted to rest and be quiet.

After a couple of prayer ministry sessions with friends of mine, I began to understand that what I was going through was called the Dark Night of the Soul. The dark night of the soul is just that – a place where your soul questions everything and the Teacher is quiet. The thing that stood out like a siren was the silence of the Lord. I had never gone for such a long time without hearing, being led by, or enjoying the Lord. Not only did I not hear Him or sense Him, but also I certainly didn’t feel His peace or presence. I thought He had abandoned me at my worst.

So, for three years, almost four now, I have been sitting, waiting, resting, arguing, growling, contemplating, wondering where the Lord is and what His intention is in allowing me to be in this place. I still don’t know. But what I do know is that I am not affected by dumb things as much as I used to be. I have way more sensitivities to the things that do matter. I am more at rest. More at peace. I have more tolerance for “stupid” (the one conclusion from the doctor out of my psych test when I went into ministry was that I had no tolerance for “stupid”). I was perplexed (and still am) as I had no idea I was supposed to tolerate “stupid.” Hey, I was just glad for documented evidence that I wasn’t crazy.

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by Comfreak at Pixabay

The dark night of the soul is the process of the Lord stripping you of the things that are really irrelevant regarding the issues of your heart. He wants to bring you out of any of the crutches you have depended on in your relationship with Him. He wants you to give up your faith and give up what works and what doesn’t work. He wants to tear down the falsehoods you believe about yourself, others, and mostly the falsehoods you believe about Him. Take you back to the beginning, so to speak, in your relationship with Him. No pretense, no knowledge, just the decision to walk alongside Him blindly without trying to figure things out. Pulling down all strongholds of belief about your religion, your denomination, your worship. He even took away my interest in reading and studying about Him. I just wanted to be still and quiet. And still do.

I understand that anybody who has asked that the Lord use them to any capacity will go through this, and I did ask that. I have always prayed that I wanted to serve Him more than anything. Now, in hindsight, I question what that means. And what did I commit to?

I used to love preaching more than ice cream. I haven’t been able to do that but a few times in the past couple of years. I have always loved leading a group of folks into their best spiritual selves, and He is restoring that opportunity. But I still long for the old days where I sensed Him, heard Him, and almost knew His will. Or did I?

Now I don’t know much of anything except that He desires that I live in this quiet, restful place even among others, amidst chaos, and even when I don’t feel like it. That’s His best. I am much more observant these days, and I watch folks buzzing around with miserable scowls on their faces. Then I think to myself – Is that what I look like? Is that how I affect my environment? If so, I don’t want to any longer. I want to bring peace and rest wherever I go. Most importantly, I want to love well.

I am in the process of recalibrating, trying to follow the Lord as best I can. I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I have the best company (a couple of friends, good prayer ministers, a wonderful family, and a couple of dogs – we finally had to lay to rest the demonic rooster). And if I don’t hear Him, sense Him, or feel Him, I can trust that He works all things to good for those who are called according to His purpose. I’m called, and I have a purpose. For right now, I need to be okay with being still and in peace.

 

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Love Letters in Your Dreams

I love dreams. I love having them. I love interpreting them.

Most folks have dreams. Dreams are often crazy. Let me rephrase: Dreams often seem crazy. They are, in fact, created in amazing symbolism. Some folks think that in itself is crazy. But in case you haven’t noticed, God is crazy. I mean, come on, have you read His book?

Dreams are an extension of our conversations with God. I often think God gives me dreams at night because he can’t get enough of my attention during the day. (Not proud, but it’s probably true).

Inner Healing and Dream Interpretation
Photo by JR Korpa at Unsplash

This month, our tribe (The Journey) met together to go over dream interpretations. They each sent in their dreams, and they were asked to pray for interpretations for each other. I gave them some pointers to help them prepare. I would like to share these with you, so you can explore dream interpretation.

Rarely do we get the interpretation for our own dreams. God gives us interpretations for each other because He wants us to work in community.

Here are a few pointers when praying for an interpretation for a person’s dream:

1. Prayerfully read over the dream. Ask the Lord to show you anything that would be relevant before you work on symbolism. Look for “plays on words, dark speech, etc.”

Make note of anything that pops out during reading.

2. Take your dream materials (I recommend the book A to Z Dream Symbology Dictionary by Barbie Breathitt, and John Paul Jackson has some amazing resources also) and research all of the symbolism. Type it into your dream in a different color.

3. Now reread the dream with symbolism included. Ask the Lord to give any additional revelation. Try to recognize the tone/position of the dream regarding the dreamer. Symbolism has a negative and a positive slant. Try to follow the “perception” of the dreamer. For example: If the dreamer has a dream of cats, it’s important to note that the symbolism of a cat can be positive or negative, all depending on whether the dreamer is a cat fan or not.

4. Check for emotions/perspective from the dreamer. If you have any questions or need elaboration, call the dreamer for more info. It is always very helpful to talk to the dreamer so you can grasp their emotions, motives, etc. of the dream.

5. Pray again and ask God for the interpretation.

6. Write out the interpretation above the dream in story form. (Leave out specifics of symbolism, notes, etc.)

Present your interpretation to the dreamer, but the dreamer must have a revelatory response to the dream or you may not have the appropriate interpretation.

If the dreamer doesn’t resonate with your interpretation, that is okay. Just present the dream back to the dreamer to take before the Lord for His revelation in His timing. God may want this person pursuing Him for revelation instead of someone else doing the work for them. We very seldom are able to interpret our own dreams. But often, the Lord wants us all to Himself and desires that we pursue His heart for His nighttime love letters.

So, there you go. I hope that will help as you begin the amazing experience of interpreting dreams.

Interested in more experiences like this? We have a Healing Retreat coming up soon (March 18-22, 2019) and would love for you to join us. Or for more info, join our ongoing revelations at The Center for Inner Healing or sign up for our e-newsletter.

God bless and keep dreaming!!!

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Lovers v. Fighters

Inner Healing and Identity
Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

I am convinced that whatever our natural instinct is, God wants us to operate in the opposite. Take “lovers” vs “fighters” for example. If you know me, you would know I am a fighter. I’ve been fighting my whole life. History would support that I have been fighting since the day I was conceived. In fact, one definition of my name means “tenacious one, or persevering.” I have to “fight” not to fight.

For someone like me, fighting is natural. It comes easily. But if you’re a lover, fighting goes against every fiber of your being. (And for the sake of this article, the term “lover” isn’t the same as Mother Teresa, Jesus, or Gandhi. It is more a reflection of one who doesn’t stand up for himself or others.) Most lovers can’t muster up a fight for love nor money. You can’t even force a lover to fight. Lovers would rather walk away, cow down (good ole southern term), or even worse, decide to become a martyr. Some lovers finally get up the nerve to assert themselves but do so only passively. Passive fighting to me is cowardly, but that’s easy for me to say. I’m a fighter.

I’m learning as I grow older that whatever I can do in my natural strength is not what God wants. He wants me to trust Him. As a matter of fact, one of His names is Defender. Well, that’s not what I was taught my whole life. I didn’t know Him until I was around my late 30s, so I’ve got a lot of undoing to do. And 50-plus years of fighting isn’t easy to undo overnight. It takes work. Just like I hear it takes work for lovers not to “love.”

I have a lot of friends who are lovers. Exhaustingly so. They just want everyone to be happy at all costs – mostly at the cost of themselves. Most of them have been (or are being) used. Most of them are used up. It’s infuriating to watch. I want to just shake them and say, “Stand up for yourself.” They can’t; they are lovers. Or should I say, they can’t on their own. Which brings me back to my original thought: God wants us out of our comfort zones. Whatever comes naturally for us is the opposite of what He wants for us.

God wants lovers to become fighters and fighters to become lovers. He wants misogynists to become heroes and victims to become overcomers. It’s just the way He is. He wants to take every one of our natural strengths (or for lovers – weaknesses) and turn it around. He wants to empower us to be able to say, “I can’t, in my own strength, but I can, in Him.”

It’s so frustrating, until He defends a fighter who stood quietly. It’s frustrating until you see a lover stand and fight. It’s so cool to see a victim overcome. That’s one of the reasons He came: to set things right. He doesn’t want me to fight in my own strength. He wants to fight for me. He wants to win the battles I go through.

So, what do I get to do? He wants me to be a lover. Hardest thing for me. Kinda like a lover becoming a fighter … goes against every grain of their being. But, then again, that’s one of the many reasons He came to earth – to change the way I think … the way I am.

 

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Take Off the Masks and Find Your True Self

My name is Kerri Johnson. For the past 20+ years, I have searched for answers to my own struggles. My lifelong passion has been in pursuit of my true identity and the healing of body, soul, and spirit. Out of those studies, The Center for Inner Healing (CIH) was birthed. CIH is an interactive healing process and a catalyst for helping people come out of the lies they believe and into the fullness of truth and identity.

Unfortunately, many of us spend our entire lives trying to mask who we are. That’s what we are taught. We are taught that we should hide our scars and shortcomings to survive and thrive in this perfect world. Neither of those statements is true. We shouldn’t hide our hurt, and the world is far from perfect. To be authentic, we have to identify our pain, bring it forward, and offer it on the altar of life to be able to be free. Otherwise, pain is our autopilot in everything we are, do, and say.

Pain is a great teacher and has helped us to be molded into who we are today. Unfortunately, no one teaches us how to embrace our pain and allow it to be a directive of the truth of who we are. We often need help to acknowledge our identity and the lessons pain has taught us, and to embrace our testimonies of how we have overcome life. We have to take every circumstance that has come to us, acknowledge the best of it, and let go of the worst.

We can’t cloak ourselves in pain, bitterness, and lies and expect to live a healthy life. We have to take off those issues and come into vulnerability and acceptance of all of the issues of our life and how those circumstances have affected us. Freedom comes in stepping out of the lies and cover-ups. That is where we will find who we are truly meant to be.

inner healing, pain, and identity
Photo by Lars_Nissen_Photoart on Pixabay

With masks off, we are free to be exactly who God created us to be and we are fully accepted. No more secrets, nothing to hide – the good, the bad, and the ugly. When you have no secrets, there is no fear of being uncovered. Everything is out in the open, and it’s all good. You become an instrument of truth, and folks can’t deny truth. As you’ve always heard, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

God created all of us with a plan and a purpose. With your help, He intends to see that plan and purpose come into fruition. He created us to satisfy His heart – just the way we are. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Far from it. But He does expect us to be willing: to be real, open, honest, and transparent, just like little kids.

Many of us spend a great deal of time doing life. We are living up to the measures of others in an atmosphere where the bar is constantly being raised. That is neither God’s best nor God’s plan for us. Instead, that plan is a diabolic initiative to destroy us and keep us consistently, miserably trying to become someone or striving for something that is not attainable. We have to say: Enough is enough.

We have to realize that we are enough simply because of who we are – bruises, warts, and freckles. We have to learn to accept ourselves and everything that has ever happened to us. We have survived and overcome. God wants to use our stories to help others live in truth. As our authentic selves, we are a unique tapestry of the events and stories we have lived, and in that, we are enough.

Inner healing, pain, and identity
Photo by Klimkin on Pixabay

Often, in the unveiling of our unique, authentic selves, we need someone to come alongside us and help us get back to who we were created to be, like children. Children have no problem walking into a room or relationship with their hearts wide open. As we grow, we start believing the lies about who we are.  Before long, we forget who we are. We forget how to live in freedom and fullness of a healed heart. Life drapes us in counterfeits and lies, so we often don’t know how to get back to that original self.

That’s where CIH comes in. We can help you take off those masks and frauds and unveil your best self. Your true identity is the only place you will find peace, rest, and true joy. Otherwise, you are just like everyone else, walking around in your pretend world, masked and miserable.

So, if you are searching for your true identity and a tribe of wounded warriors, we are here, waiting to come alongside you in this pursuit of non-perfected, real, authentic testimonies and messages of hearts healed. Join us on this great adventure. You won’t regret it.

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How Trauma Settles in Our Bodies and Emotions

Trauma affects mind, body, and spirit. Trauma locks itself into our bodies.

I discern things in my body. Often, I can relate pain to circumstances.

One time, I was pushed onto my back. For years, whenever I experienced something similar, I immediately felt pain in my back.

When I asked the Lord, He showed me I had locked fear into my back from that first experience. I was still carrying it. Every new trauma triggered that pain.

So I prayed to release the trauma. I don’t have trouble with my back anymore. If I do feel back pain, I know I need to check spiritually how I’m doing.

Often we manifest physically what we are carrying spiritually.

Like grief – it often settles in the lungs. A friend went through several funerals, just a few weeks apart. She started experiencing respiratory problems. Her body was compromised as she was walking through grief.

Another friend developed chronic respiratory problems after her father died suddenly. He died in the autumn, and every autumn she experienced respiratory problems. Grieving is a process, a gift God gives us to work through our pain and loss. But if we know the ways we are carrying grief in our bodies, we can ask God to lift that.

When we don’t resolve our trauma, it can build over time.

Think about a person who experienced childhood trauma. She never found healing for it. As an adult, she experienced other traumatic events, whether physical or emotional. Again, the trauma wasn’t resolved. So it just builds up.

One day, the slightest thing goes wrong – maybe she misplaces her car keys – and she has a complete meltdown. She feels overwhelmed, like she can’t handle one more thing. Her overwhelm isn’t really about misplaced car keys. It’s going back and picking up all that unhealed trauma.

We have to invite the Prince of Peace, Jesus, into those old places of trauma. He is able to lift out the trauma and replace it with peace, so we don’t keep carrying it and constantly feeling overwhelmed.

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