book review, Men, Women

Be Brave

I’ve been reading 100 Days to Brave: Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self by Annie F. Downs. Little did I know that this was the devotional I needed to be reading. I had searched through many devotionals on a website looking for the one with the “x” factor. Maybe it was the word Brave that stood out to me or the gold accent on the cover? Either way I instinctively knew courage was what I was after. Not that I’m a scaredy cat or live in fear of everything – because I don’t. My whole life is out of my comfort zone and I can look back on my life and see many times I have been brave. I can also look back on my life and see the many times I was not brave. I let insecurity and doubt shut me down. I can also look at my day to day, week to week life and see where I am not stepping up and out. I know God has many things planned for me on the other side of insecurity and doubt.

In the 100 Days to Brave, Annie challenges us to discover what our calling is and narrow it down into one sentence. I had been entertaining an idea like this but it’s been called a personal mission statement. It’s a statement that will give you purpose and direction for your life. Of course, I have over analyzed any idea I’ve had of what the statement would be. So when I read this challenge my brain went to work. For days it was in my peripheral but nothing came to the fore front. I’m called to… I’m called to….? On that Sunday right after worship at church, it came to me.

I’m called to… fortify the weak.

Fortify means to strengthen a place with defensive works so as to protect it against attack, strengthen or invigorate someone mentally or physically.

I reflected on this and could see how over the course of life (so far) I’ve done this in the positions I’ve held in and out of the workplace and within friendships. With a recipe of truth, compassion, and sass I’ve validated and challenged others in the most sensitive times in their life. Whether advocating for others in a court room or meeting, certifying that someone is not crazy for the how they’ve mismanaged their childhood trauma, offering effective solutions for other’s dilemmas, helping someone discern between the truth and a lie, not welcoming the status quo. I’ve heard many times from friends “you make me feel like I’m not crazy.” I used to think – people frequently feel crazy?

This doesn’t mean that I am perfect. I’m far from it. Hearing from the Holy Spirit what my calling is opens up my mind.

The other day I was also thinking of my assignment. I’ve decided there is a difference between your calling and your assignment. Your calling is your purpose. Your assignment is how you are to carry it out.

About a year or more ago, I felt this impression on me that I’m not assigned to minister to those in the church building. I’m not saying this absolves me from any serving that I am to do in my home church. I do serve in a couple of ways. However, there was a distinction I made regarding those already attending church and those lost in the world that don’t even believe they are worthy of salvation, even entering a church building any day of the week. Those so far gone they won’t attend a service or even dare ask God for anything. Those are the people I am assigned to.
I am to be the one that goes into the cave with a flashlight of the Gospel to meet people where they are in their deepest pit. I am to be a light that shines on them while we speak. A light that intrigues them. And when I walk freely out of the cave they’ll want to follow.

I’m drawn to the darkness, not to live but to rescue.

cave

 

For the past 10 years, my resume is filled with a variety of jobs. Topics of trauma, philosophies of care, emotional intelligence, trafficking, disorders & diagnoses, physical restraints, juvenile justice, criminology, addiction, self-harm, stages of change, abuse & neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, CPS, probation, homelessness, and more – all saturate my mind every day. I see the world through these lenses.

I didn’t actually ask for this.

I’ve always been obsessed with the WHY.

Why do people do what they do?
What makes a criminal a criminal?
Why do people choose to do wrong?
How are they different from anyone else?

The Why is often a hard red pill to swallow. We are broken. We are fumbling in the dark with a blindfold on and ear plugs in. As Christians we are to introduce people to the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:12 tells us there are two frequencies – flesh and blood, dark world –AND- rulers, authorities, spiritual forces in the heavenly realms.

Most people function in the flesh and blood. Everything changes when you tune into Heaven. You become acutely aware of the over developed disease of evil. You should be able to see and hear the enemy roaring, strangling and killing souls.

There are many theories out there, you can spend a lot of money hearing about them, taking exams and writing dissertations on them.

The ills of society, the brokenness of people won’t be answered by theories or a national organization or by a federal program. Those systems can bring awareness to the symptoms but they have no concrete solution.

The solution is Jesus Christ. When Jesus became my Lord, His ministry was put before me.

Love them and lead them back to me.

Loving like Jesus isn’t hard, loving like a human is hard because no one will meet our conditions 100/100.

God has given us special people to love.
-the homeless
-the unborn
-the military
-the developmentally disabled
-the sick
-those trapped in modern day slavery
-pedophiles, rapists
-pimps and johns
-children
-addicts, dealers
-parolees, probationers, felons, death rowers
-those in hospice
-post-abortive mothers and fathers
-the suicidal, the homicidal
-the abused, the raped
-the unseen and unheard
-the invisible

They are everywhere at all times. Your assignment is who God told you to love intimately and fiercely.

Ask Him right now. Who do you want me to love? Show me how to love them well. If you have yet to identify who God wants you to love, you are living in rebellion.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
-Matthew 22:36-40

You don’t want to face God and tell him that you spent your lifetime unburdened for the souls of others. You had an extra ticket to Heaven but you threw it in the trash. Be brave and send out invites on behalf of the Bridegroom.

 

Related Reading:

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs.

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Journaling, sex, Transformation

A Lonely Girl’s Cry

I’ve been pursuing deeper things with the Lord lately and examining the issue of soul ties. Soul ties are the bonds we make with others. They can be healthy or toxic, Kingdom building or Kingdom breaking, holy or unholy.

Recently I looked through a workbook from a transformative conference my church calls, All Access. In the conference we cover the deeper topics of Identity, Generational Inequity, Father & Mother Wounds, Inner Vows, Soul Ties and more. I’ve participated a few times in the past couple of years. Each time new issues in my heart and mind are brought to light. Soul ties are always on the forefront of my quest. I have on multiple occassions prayed prayers breaking soul ties to people of my past, specifically sexual in nature. Honestly, each time I do I haven’t felt much happening after that. I’ve prayed but the pull in my soul still persists.

During one of the sessions at All Access, a deep intricate thought came to me but I didnt jot it down in my notes. I assumed it was such an epiphany that I’d remember later…but…I didn’t remember! Grrr! About a week later I reviewed my notes and tried desperately to remember that great thought. I searched the internet for more information on soul ties and watched a teaching video from Jennifer LeClaire. The link to the video is at the bottom of this post.

Everything I read included the steps to breaking soul ties. One of the steps was always to get rid of mementos or gifts, anything that could link you back to the soul tie. I kept thinking I don’t have any objects at all, nothing. I have gotten rid of things like that. But the Holy Spirit reminded me I had journals in boxes in my closet. He told me to get rid of them. Its true, I had journals and journals of documentation of the past, exploits with men and all kinds of unrighteous and spiritually dead themes.

Amongst these journals I had been holding onto a photograph of myself and my “first love” from 2002. He was my first sexual partner and yes first love. He died in 2011 of alcohol poisoning. Sad & Alone. We hadn’t been a couple since 2004. There were some brief sexual encounters years later. I hesitated putting the picture in the throw away box. It was the last item that would link us together.

There were many more stories I threw away in between all those pages.

Included was a play by play of the unrequited love that defined my life. Someone I wanted to be with since I first slept with him. Talk about a Stage 5 clinger! He NEVER wanted me more than to sleep with and I wanted it all from him. To this day I’ve still wanted him. This person has always been the object of my soul tie prayers. I’ve *always* been conflicted about it.

At All Access, our Pastor’s wife (oversees all counseling needs at our church) said something about being Bonded to Loneliness. Those pages were filled with a lonely girl’s cry, confusion, rejection, insecurity etc. Thats been the theme of my heart for decades, and I’m only 32! On that day, March 12th, I threw away all the old scripts and memories. I know I have to cling to the New Life Jesus gave me.

Did magic happen on that day? No. God is not a magician. I’m unaware of what all took place in the spirit realm when I followed through with the Holy Spirit’s directive to throw away those journals. I’m unaware of all the unholy doors that were slammed and bolted shut that day. Im unaware of what Heaven is is now able to do on my behalf because of my obedience. I dont know everything but I know it was a move I had to make to get closer to Jesus and the Father.

Related Videos:

Related Reading:

https://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-warfare/25853-7-signs-of-an-unhealthy-soul-tie

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