The other night I was hyped up on election results (my candidate won big) and online discourse. Once the adrenaline died down, I was left drained, agitated, and not at peace. If you’re not at peace, you don’t have anything, so I thought about it and it came to me: where was I getting my power from?
Turns out that even an introvert can get benefit from online discussion and debate, even when I’m such an awkward wallflower in real life. The palpable energy of an online political rally 24/7 can bring you up, but you will crash eventually. There are only so many articles you can read and memes you can laugh at before you get tired.
That’s where my unlimited energy source comes in:
Christ in me, the hope of glory.
…the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
When I was a young Christian, I was pointed to the book The Practice of the Presence of God. It’s a short set of letters about a monk named Brother Lawrence who tapped into something powerful: the fact that God was present at all times, 24/7, and that all he had to do was recognize it. He constructed a series of mental disciplines, which I tried to do but failed miserably because my emotions were so messed up from undiagnosed mental illness.
Two things fixed this: One, learning about grace. The other, getting my mental illness treated (depression and anxiety).
Grace! I learned that Romans 8, being free from the law of sin and death, means that I am no longer ruled over by the principle of sin. Sin has no dominion over me, because I am not sin. I was crucified with Christ over 2,000 years ago on the Cross. I died with him, was buried with him, and was raised with him. I am no longer strictly human! I’ve been made one with Christ, and it’s a glorious thing.
Side note: If you don’t understand what I mean about grace, here is a good recommended reading list:
Desire Found Me by Andre Rabe
Adventures in Christ by Andre Rabe
Divine Embrace by Francois du Toit
Saints in the Arms of a Happy God: Recovering the Image of God and Man by Jeff Turner
Hyper-Grace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God by D.R. Silva
Mirror Bible by Francois du Toit
Mystical Union by John Crowder
Cosmos Reborn by John Crowder
What I do to recharge is this: I turn inward. Not to my thoughts and emotions, which are most likely at that point unsettled. If possible, I’ll put on some uplifting music. It doesn’t have to be worship music–in fact, I find most worship music distracting because of the lyrics. I’ll hear something that conflicts with my understanding of the Scripture, such as self-pity (‘I’m so wretched’ – no you’re not, you might be a mess but you just don’t know who you are yet) or asking why God is distant (he’s not–the Spirit was given once and he is inside you forever). My mind catches that nonsense, my inner theologian says, ‘NOPE!’ and my attention is diverted towards the refuting of bad doctrine. Not exactly the kind of thing you want your mind doing when you’re trying to settle into the presence of God.
These days, I find The Moody Blues (chronological playlist) or Yes particularly conducive to spiritual openness, along with Truthseekah. “But those first two are secular artists!” some might say. Yep! I find that artists who are open to spiritual experiences and not confined within the bounds of a terrestrial, empirical interpretation of Christianity to be the kind of music that gets me into the presence of God. I don’t have to worry about demons any more, or getting ‘polluted’ by ‘secular’ music, because the secular/sacred divide has been broken down in my mind. More and more, I’m able to see the image of Christ in everyone, and so things that are beautiful, are beautiful to me.
When I have music on, I’m able to ‘space out’ a little and just bask in the flow of the presence of God. I have a very long commute to and from work, and so sometimes instead of listening to audiobooks, I’ll just put on some music and I’m able to chill. Thoughts and worries come to me and my mind starts working on them, but after a bit, the reassuring presence of God comes and just eases my pain. He answers my questions, or at least answers the fears in a warm embrace, and I’m left with peace. After spending that time, I’m able to concentrate more on work and writing, and the part of my mind that worries what people might think about what I write is gently silenced. I’m free to write whatever I want here, on Twitter, and Facebook, without fear. If I think of something that’s just a little too edgy, I’ll sense it and tweak it or remove and revise it. I don’t always need to specifically interrupt what I am doing any more, because I sense God working through that flow of emotions. I can feel when something’s right or wrong and can steer in the right direction. Things just flow. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
The political atmosphere of 2016 is one of chaos and anger, of the unfulfilled desires of the working class clashing with those of the angry liberal elite. Where before I was afraid to write, afraid to speak, now it just doesn’t bother me any more. I can boldly speak for Jesus Christ or political issues, switching between the two with ease. It’s a wonderful thing.
If you have any questions about the presence of God, grace, or this ‘spiritual recharging’ of which I speak, please let me know. Leave a comment here or contact me via the contact form on my About page.
This year is going to require a lot of energy in the United States, if you have any political affiliation. Make sure that you know how to recharge by the Spirit of God, and to take as much time as you need, to do so.