It has been nearly two months since I have blogged. Externally, my world did not change much since my last post, internally, I feel as if I have been to hell and back. Well, mostly back anyway.
About a month ago I underwent an extreme trial with some heavy spiritual oppression manifesting in intense inward introspection and questioning my salvation. The one Monday was the worst day I have had in years, and the whole week was the lowest I have been since being married.
There were numerous contributing factors; unaddressed stress buildup as a first year teacher and first year father, fatigue from disrupted sleeping patterns, weighty thoughts that have gone unvoiced, the pressure of decision making, reading too many articles, wasting too much time on the internet; I am sure there are more.
I didn’t realize how much all this was weighing on me. I thought I was doing alright, but apparently I wasn’t doing as well as I thought. I don’t doubt that there were (and are) spiritual forces oppressing me for one moment; but what was alarming to consider was that this oppression was most entirely internal. There was no persecution, my schedule was the same as it has been for most of the last year, and no sudden emergencies or situations that I can recall, nothing that would necessarily trigger something like this.
I was awakened to just how open I am to spiritual oppression. It is alarming how vulnerable and susceptible I am to oppression.
I have mostly emerged now, and I have learned a few things from my ordeal.
1. I can loose it all: my joy, my peace, my desire for God, my ability to pray, my zeal, my job, my marriage, my family, my health, my sanity, and my mental stability; and ultimately I will be okay because:
2. I can never lose the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus, by which I stand blameless before God. It was never mine to lose in the first place, only mine to gain. Jesus already lived the perfect life, and he already gave that perfect life up for me. I can’t change that. I may lose everything in this life; I cannot lose the work of Christ on my behalf.
3. Theology books or articles are only of benefit to me if I am in daily fellowship with Christ through his word.
4. If I am not walking with Christ daily through prayer and his word, theology becomes lifeless and even poisonous to me.
5. I am in desperate need of integrity and personal, practical holiness. (NOT more knowledge)
6. I need to connect with friends more, even briefly.
7. I need to be in bed before 10pm whenever possible.
Walking with the person of Christ can be tricky for me I guess; when things get uncomfortable, I see just how much I love to turn to all manner of christian activity or thinking to fill my soul instead of going to the person of Jesus. I hope to never have to learn this lesson again!
Jesus help me walk daily with you in simple submission to your tender loving leading. Don’t let me wander from you! Stay close to me, you are the only good I know and the only hope I have. Apart from you I will surely be destroyed. I covet your presence, for I am weak. I need your strength, for I am easily swayed. I need your resolve because I bend to compromise. I need your guidance because I wander into danger. Save me from myself and all that is around me by the joy of your presence, the peace of your kindness, and the power of your word.