On Practicality, Subjective Nonsense, and ‘Survival Scriptures’

photo-1456428199391-a3b1cb5e93abSometimes I think I’m being a little too focused on myself when I’m writing these articles. I am constantly confronted by my limitations, one of them in education–I don’t have a college degree in psychology, so the only test subject I have is myself. There is no other human on earth who will be as interested in resolving the problems I face with my mind and emotions, at least not for less than $60 an hour. 😉 But stay with me here, and we’ll get to some useful stuff, I promise.

I recognized when I started this website that I was running the risk of setting peoples’ expectations or having them develop formulas: ‘OK, he got free in this amount of time, therefore I can do the same,’ or ‘he takes medication, so that same medication should work for me,’ or ‘he did steps A, B, and C, therefore this will work for me as well.’

The problem with my sharing from the heart on this site is that it’s all subjective experience. I can’t give you steps, keys, or plans. I can’t make any of this stuff happen for you. I have no magic wand to wave. Unfortunately, I am extremely weak, in some ways still profoundly broken, and often I find that I am still grievously naïve or misinformed on a variety of issues.

So how can I help? The answer is, well, sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. But I can share what happened to me, mistakes I made, what worked for me and what didn’t, and if (probably when) all of this fails, I can definitely point you to the source, the one who has been my constant companion through the ups and downs of my recovery.

It is my hope that by sharing my experiences here, encouraging you to abide, bask, and live in the presence of God, that he will lead you to freedom. I have all confidence that he can do it.

Just so I won’t leave you hanging without anything practical (as practicality, the how-to, is always a main focus when I’m writing), I will share some scriptures here that have been extremely helpful to me during this entire process. I became a Christian when I was 12 years old. As of this writing, I am 37 years old, and while I have learned much and gained much freedom, I laugh because I have so much more to learn. 🙂

I call these scriptures ‘survival scriptures’, in that even when I have been in the midst of the most horrible emotional and mental pain, even when it felt like I was being torn apart inside and that there was no hope whatsoever, these scriptures helped me keep it together enough so that I am alive today.

Philippians 1:

I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

This means that God will absolutely, positively, never give up on me, no matter what happens. I am still a mess, often a complete mess, but I am God’s mess. He won’t give up until every problem is fixed, until I have complete peace and complete well-being, until all of my fears and doubts are addressed and taken away, until every tear is wiped from my eyes.

Freedom comes gradually; sometimes you will have sudden breakthroughs, sometimes there will be long periods of time where it feels like absolutely nothing is happening, and sometimes you can tell that things are gradually improving over time. But God is always, always, always at work, even and especially when we can’t see it or feel it.

photo-1415226481302-c40f24f4d45eIsaiah 58:

And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.

And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

I didn’t want to share this one, because it’s astonishingly personal. For the sake of being honest and sharing what I feel led to, I’ll go into a bit of storytime here. Honestly, you might be better skipping to the next scripture, because I’m about to switch into storytime and teaching mode here, and we could be here a while. 😉

I went on a bit of a rant about corporate prophecy in a previous post, but I don’t mean that because I don’t believe in ‘prophesying to nations’ that I don’t believe in personal prophecy. On the contrary, I’ve had several personal prophecies given to me that have profoundly affected my life, or at least helped me hold it together out of sheer curiosity at what the hell they meant.

How do you know when you’re being given a true prophetic word? A true prophetic word will usually have one of two effects:

  1. It will immediately penetrate straight to your heart, straight to your spirit, like a bullet. You’ll know exactly that it’s talking about you, and you will never forget the moment you heard it.
  2. It will sound weird, will most likely bounce right off your brain because it makes no sense, but you’ll shelve it for later use. I never forget words of personal prophecy because, to use computer terminology, I don’t keep them in ‘onboard storage’, i.e. in my brain. The Holy Spirit remembers everything. Sometimes something will happen in my life and I will get a sense of ‘spiritual deja vu’. The prophecy will come back to my mind immediately, as if in the book of Acts, where Peter stands up and says, ‘This is that that was prophesied!’ All of a sudden, even if the word was given a decade ago and long-forgotten, I will be struck immediately, the same as if it had just been given. A delayed reaction from heaven. Pure prophetic satisfaction.

I experienced one of those moments in, of all places, the local Chick-Fil-A parking lot. There was a woman there who went to the church we attended at the time, but we only knew her in passing (to this day, I can’t remember her name). After we said ‘hi’, as my wife and I were walking on, she turned around and said to me,

“I have a word of prophecy for you. You are a Repairer of the Breach.”

This is the scripture that she was referring to. I still don’t know the full import of the thing, but if you read over it, it’s not hard to see how Christ can do all these things (guide, satisfy, fix, repair, refresh, etc.), and if he can do it through anyone, he can do it through me, complete mess that I am.

The reason this is a ‘survival scripture’ for me is that it’s something that stuck in my heart. I knew I had a destiny. I knew, even in the darkest of times, that God was going to do all these things in me and through me, whatever they meant, so I had to stick it out, even though I wanted to end it all, even though I wanted to give up, even though I wanted to run away.

Maybe it will resonate with you as well. Or maybe you got bored and skipped on to the next scripture. No harm done.

Ephesians 1, emphasis mine:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

God, what a wall of text. The ‘problem’ with this section of Ephesians 1 is that in the Greek it is all one huge, run-on sentence. That’s right, it’s like Paul took one big breath and said it all as quickly as your stereotypical announcer or Valley Girl.

The highlighted sections are the never-say-die parts – the parts of scripture where God has given us three big fat doses of “NOPE!” When we think that it’s all over, that God has forsaken us, that there’s absolutely no hope, God says, “NOPE! I still have a purpose and plan for you! I haven’t lost you! And I guarantee it forever by PUTTING MYSELF LITERALLY INSIDE OF YOUR SPIRIT WHERE YOU CAN’T GET RID OF ME! SO THERE!”

I like that idea, God yelling ‘NOPE!’ when our situation looks completely hopeless.

There are many more scriptures I could share, and probably will at some point, but these are the ones that come to mind and heart immediately. I hope I’ve helped you here. If you have any questions, leave a comment or contact me through the About Me page and I will be glad to point you in the right direction. Cheers. 🙂

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