Do you ever find that certain things in your environment affect the way you are feeling? But you kinda shake yourself and go ‘hang on, I don’t feel like this, that’s not me, where’s that coming from?’.
I have learned recently that if I eat wheat and sugar – particularly together – my brain goes on a kind of bender, and releases chemicals that have the potential to send me into a place I affectionately call “Princess-8:#*h-Face-Cranky-Pants”… This is on top of the other things that it does to me internally. I actively discourage people from having an intolerance to cake!
So, I’m having a moment, lying on the couch, in front of Masterchef, talking to Jesus about some of the things that have been different since I got out of hospital. Some things that I haven’t been able to shake, stuff we were working hard on in my health and fitness; that were tracking well but seems to have hit a road block. It’s been a conversation that we have been having for a while. Several months. Four actually.
In the middle of sifting through my brain to make sure I hadn’t forgotten something: something I had not confessed, something I was withholding, something in my life, or my day that I wasn’t managing in the right way, the full gamut; you know (hopefully). Then in His tiny little voice Father whispers “It’s all illusion you know. The thing that you’re worried about. Just illusion.”
I find that He teaches me His biggest lessons in His smallest voice.
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV)
In an instant, my brain completely readjusted. I had not been looking at the issue I was concerned about from God’s point of view. Somewhere along the way, my view had slid into this time/space continuum that our bodies live in, and I had stopped taking into account the way God sees things.
I had left out what is ultimately real, what is Really Real, the Eternity Perspective.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; Psalm 24:1 (NIV)
When we make a decision to choose Jesus and step into the Narrow Way, we are making a decision to live in a place that has direct access to all of Who God Is. If we choose to live this way, and acknowledge Jesus as Lord, we are acknowledging that with His Resurrection He has taken possession of the keys of death and hell.
In its simplest form, this means that a lot of the things that we tell ourselves, a lot of the tapes that go off in our heads when we stand in front of the mirror, things that we think we know about ourselves, about other people, about the way the world works: if those things are not a complete illusion; like a magic trick trying to keep us distracted from the real things that God wants us to know about who we are; then they’re half-truths at absolute best.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (NIV)
When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by the devil, He spoke these words in response to a literal temptation to turn stones to bread and eat, because He was hungry and a long way into the fast.
It’s true though, not just the bread bit, but the words from the Mouth Of God bit. If we eat from things that we think are real, then we’re not going to get very far. I am going to draw a direct link between bread of the world being the bread of illusion, and food of the enemy.
It’s interesting to note that our biggest interruptions often come from things that look and feel like they are sensible or true. How many times do those things that feel true also somehow feel horrible?
If I’ve spent years working on a particular habit or skill, if I’ve gone to school to learn how to do something, and come out with a qualification, then no one is going to be able to tell me that I am not qualified to do that particular thing. I have a piece of paper that says I am a qualified Youth Worker. It’s a fact. We all know, know of or are people who are qualified in some thing or other. If you work in any kind of job you receive training. The beautiful people who serve us coffee in a coffee shop receive training, it may be as much as several years, or as much as making sure they don’t burn themselves on the steamer when they froth the milk – but it’s all training, it’s all instruction. God bless all baristas – Amen!
Just because I have been taught something doesn’t change the way I feel about my skill. I can be the most amazingly skilled at something, and feel horrible about it and my ability to perform it. Which bit is real, which bit is illusion…? The feelings are real feelings, but the skill is also real.
God teaches all of us things. As soon as He has told us something, taught us something, that is our Reality.
What we need to understand is that anything that tries to keep us locked into the old place is coming from the old kingdom, from the defeated kingdom, from a place of illusion.
The task at hand is to ask God, ‘What is it that I am living with that You know is actually not Real, not the way You see things, not Eternally Real?’