Sometimes being a spiritual being in a physical body can be so difficult. Your body is connected to your emotions, which is your soul, and they can often lead you astray. Especially where pain or pleasure are involved.
For me, pain and pleasure have always seemed to be a leading factor in the decision making processes of my life. Is this going to bring me pain or pleasure? Things that bring pain are left for another day and things that bring pleasure are brought to the forefront.
Yet seeking pleasure has not been my main agenda, it has actually been seeking more pain. I know that sounds completely counterintuitive to what the human body would desire, but I have been so greatly interconnected with pain and death that my soul naturally sought it out over every other thing.
Pain has been such a consuming experience that I almost felt lost when I wasn’t in pain. Day after day I have been stuck in the cycle of feeling deep and intense emotional pain, often accompanied by physical symptoms – some sort of distress in my body. Without knowing or realizing it, my soul flourished under these conditions. It was feeding off the intensity of the pain in order to create more.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
I honestly believed that this was just the lot I was given in this life – to suffer and strive daily. I have cried out and begged Jesus to heal me and free me from it and even though I continued to see massive breakthroughs I would still never be “well”. Working to help calm and free dissociative parts became an almost daily task just to make it through the day. I came to believe that I was never going to be free, that I was wrong about what freedom even looked like.
Yet even in the midst of this suffering, God has used it for my good. He has taken my utter brokenness and used it to refine me in the Potter’s fire. Even when I thought I could not take one more second of the scorching heat, He was building me up and renewing me, day by day.
Sometimes renewal does not feel good. As a matter of fact, it often feels awful before you see results. You could say that is part of the curse of sin that came from Adam and Eve, but I say to view it as a blessing. If we do not get to the absolute end of our ropes, we can never have the courage to truly face Jesus Christ and surrender all of your muck over to Him. He’s not going to just come in and take over and get permission later; He has given us free will and allows us to decide whether we truly want to be free or not.
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
I can tell you right here and now that I have passed through the fire and the only smoke I smell is the incense of my worship to my Creator. We mustn’t lose heart in the battle but instead trust that the One who created you has a plan for you even in the midst of all of this.
We are so used to letting our souls lead us, overwhelming us with pain, shame, and fear, that we cannot see the forest for the trees. Emotions are merely a tool to be used to gauge a problem. If we are overwhelmed by them then we are not submitting them over to the Lord, but instead trying to be our own masters. Sometimes, being our own master means deciding that the powers of witchcraft and darkness are more efficient than waiting on Jesus.
Trusting Jesus isn’t easy, but that is why the outcome of the process is so rich and wonderful! It takes us outside of our soul and brings us to a place where we can feed and nurture our spirit instead of our soul. When we feed our spirit, it connects to God’s Spirit and we see an endless supply of strength and courage to live life for Him. Yet if we feed our souls we will be stuck in a place of nurturing our emotions and every action we make will come from that place.
A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.
I have spent a lot of time feeling horrible and thinking negative thoughts to feed that disease. I have nurtured pain and death within me until it grew larger than the life God gave me, and I had no choice but to beg God for mercy. What I didn’t understand was that I was begging for mercy from my own bent heart.
That is not to say God looks down on us and feels anger or disgust at our attempts to run our lives. He has the utmost compassion and tenderness for our poor broken souls. He is constantly working things for the good of our spirit, leading us toward salvation and saving grace. It does not matter what your life looks like on the outside. It does not matter how horrible you feel or how bad things seem, what matters most if coming to the end of your rope and truly surrendering it to Him.
You can’t just surrender your heart, you also need to give up the rope too, because that rope is what you have been using to be your own god. It felt like a place of safety to believe you have control, but there is no one who has control outside of the Lord God Almighty.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.
God knows your heart, and trust me, He does not see you as evil. All the power of evil and hell may have been poured into your soul, but Jesus took the brunt of it when He carried it to calvary that long-ago day. He carried it for you, for your family, for your future generations, and for everyone you know and love. So you can let go of holding on to them to protect them because it’s no longer your job.
Your only job is the love the Lord your God, with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your strength. Let Him do the rest. It is not your yoke to carry or your burden to bear. We have a Savior who will do it all for you! Rejoice! Take heart for you are His and He is yours.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33