The Healing Page

Standard

I believe in God the Healer.

So, on that note, I am asking God for some “words of knowledge” for anyone out there reading this who might need a touch from the jolly God Who is Love. I am going to list out some things I am hearing/seeing and speak love and life over those parts of you in Jesus’ name, sweet ones! Just receive this as a gift; you are dearly treasured. This is free!

I highly recommend you just hold out your hands like you are receiving a gift and test it out if you find what you are dealing with anywhere on the list. Feel free to comment and share with me any awesome stuff you are experiencing; it blesses my heart to see God love on people!

-Broken/fractured leg just below the knee

-Nightmares, particularly those resulting in heavy sweating

-Broken big toe

-Injury resulting from something involving macaroni and cheese

-Severe coffee burns

-Cigarette burns (multiple)

-Blackouts connected to trauma

-Anxiety accompanied by the feeling of your head being gripped as if in a vice

-Scars on the back from whipping

I love you, and I bless you—wherever you may be!

The Joy Detective

Advertisements

Check Your Source

Standard

I learned an odd lesson as a college student. (I started out as a Religion Major and switched over to an English Major.) It was about checking sources. Generally, in very official-type papers where you want to make an argument to convince people of your point, you quote a well-respected source. Now, depending on what crowd you are catering to, you will—of course—choose a certain type of source.

The goal is persuasion.

Now, who decided which sources were well-respected and which sources were not? Far from riding on who the experts actually were, I discovered that this primarily hinged on who the actual experts were thought to be by a select group of choice members of the academia. It was curiously political. Very “who-knows-who.”

Sometimes this could be helpful. They set certain quality standards like “use correct grammar and punctuation” and “don’t use Wikipedia because anyone can put something on there.” For that, I am quite thankful. Good job!

The rest of time it could be a little irritating. I don’t like when people talk out of both sides of their mouths—simultaneously claiming Christ and knocking the Bible. This is usually accompanied by intimidation tactics and comments designed to make anyone who disagrees feel like an absolute unintellectual dunce. Look, I love some good hermeneutics. I love some good exegesis. That’s all good and well, but I’m not into cultural Christianity with its impeccable church attendance and closet atheism. There persecuted people out there dying for their faith. Quit the bs.

It’s like watching an incredibly macabre dissection of a heart. When one is in love—and I mean head-over-heels-all-in, there is this little thing called trust. You are not combing through your love letters trying to find proof that “he must be cheating.” Call it what you want, that is not love; that is paranoia. Who you trust is up to you.  Trust isn’t earned; it is given.

There are a lot of people with a lot opinions out there, and some even have titles to go with them! When you grow up with little to no sense of identity, sometimes you can be tricked into thinking that these titles matter, of their own right. You want to get your own, so you jump through all those hoops . . . so that you matter. Because human opinion is a big deal, right? Because I couldn’t be that dearly loved by the God of the Universe, right? Because He couldn’t be that good . . .  right???

Maybe not for the guy out his mind dancing naked before the Ark of the Covenant. Man, that dude was in love with God to the point that he didn’t even care what his wife thought. Because if this is real and I’m in love, who really cares what anyone else has to say about it? I will dance. Like. A. Freakin’. Madman. King David went through his ups and downs and questions with God. You can read about it in the psalms. But he allowed his questions to serve his relationship instead of making his relationship serve his questions. He bared his heart to lay it all on the table before the One he loved.

Sometimes Western culture forgets about this little thing called the “spirit realm.” It can be quite chatty, and it contains some spirits with some real agendas. Some are super kind and want to release love and encouragement and all sorts of heavenly things. Others are a bit pirate-esque: pillage, plunder, rape and kill. Many times this realm communicates through what we commonly refer to as “thoughts” and “feelings.” So . . . maybe if you’ve been hit with random suicidal thoughts lately, guys, it isn’t you! Congrats. You’re not crazy. Tell that thing to take a hike! You only empower cranky spirits when you believe them.

Oh, and by the way . . . if you were wanting to get to know Jesus Christ, the Beloved Begotten of Daddy God . . . that’s totally doable. You don’t have to be scared of what people think. Consider this one of many of God’s invitations to a never-ending, very-much-hug-filled conversation.

Selah.

Risk: Exploring Light and Shadows

Standard

Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of judgment. 

These have been a source of paralysis to many, afraid to live their lives.

Why?

It’s a question over the years I have been learning to apply a variety of these different fears, and believe me—I have no short supply of encounters with them!

I started to push back against fear after I was challenged in college with repeat encounters with God’s goodness. Why did I believe what I believed? Why did I have it as my normal? Could my normal be wrong? I had lived so much of my life under  . . . dread.

My instinct as a child was to run towards my Creator before religion taught me that He was scary and that I should be afraid of Him. I wanted to explore God in this place of innocence. It was the most natural thing. But then I started hearing stuff like “sin separates you from God” and “make sure you are right with God.” I thought the pastor of my childhood and other church-going adults were the God-experts, so I listened to them. I listened to them, and I became afraid. There was this consistent chipping away at my sense of security in my relationship with God. Was I ever doing enough? Was I ever believing enough? On top of that, I heard people talking about the rapture and end-times and judgment, and I became even more afraid.

Now, somehow deep inside, I knew that God was good. Walking out on God was never an option for me. I wanted to please Him. I wanted to obey. But that closeness, that safety, that trust . . . somewhere deep down inside–-it felt violated. I suppressed questions I had because I mistakenly equated asking questions with “doubting” and “unbelief.”

The trap that religious people often fall into is that of believing that by preaching fear and converting by fear, we are somehow serving God well. We way underestimate God’s goodness and live afraid that He’s more concerned about number-crunching. We make Him out to be so small and so dependent on us. But what kind of God are we leading people to?

Ever try to have an intimate moment with someone who you think could snap at any second based off of your performance and kill you? Or worse, throw you in a torture chamber? Ummm . . . hell, much? And yet, we are extolled in worship to have intimacy with such a being. No wonder it is so half-hearted at times! No small wonder we deal with hypocrisy! It is the equivalent of sending a woman back—time and time again—to an emotionally (and potentially physically) abusive husband and saying, “Go on, then! Make love!” Yeah . . . she’s really going to put her heart into that, isn’t she?

So, back to my encounters with God’s goodness in college. The Christianity that I thought I knew was completely turned on its head, and I have been exploring this topsy-turvy world ever since. Or rather . . . should I say I lived in a topsy-turvy world, and now it’s right-side up?

But who else know that paradigms are paradigms?

The God of my innocence—the playful Creator God—knocked to tell me that He isn’t what religion had made Him out to be. His very essence is relationship—Trinity. He is more about relationship than legalisms. He absolutely adores humanity! He is joyful and does happy-dances! He is not someone I have to be afraid of—at least not like I was taught! If I fear Him, it’s that His goodness might very well overwhelm me!

I have had  to toss out some of the paradigm that was handed down to me. I did keep some good core stuff. The basic Nicene Creed—awesome. No problem there. The living in fear of God’s wrath bit? I can’t with it anymore. Especially now that my paradigm says that God’s wrath is for me, not against me. Especially now that I see God’s anger directed at that which would destroy and molest me (a. k. a. sin and whatnot), not me. I am dearly loved.

Knowing that, I can risk. I can tell fear to get the hell out of my life. I can start challenging it every time it rears it’s ugly little head. I can stop giving a flip about whether or not I look like a trembling little idiot when I choose to share my heart and be vulnerable. I can process through rejection and judgment and realize that while people are fantastic, loveable little things—at the end I answer to Jesus. I am not bound to human opinion.

Besides, people often judge each other out of not knowing how loved they are . . .  so, it’s pretty much a write-off 🙂 We can forgive that silliness and have a good laugh at it later on. (“You thought I was a cantaloupe? No way, man! I love you; you’re hilarious!”)

There’s a lot you can be brave about when you know that you are loved.

Until next time,

The Joy Detective

Better Left Alone?

Standard

There are some things you can’t unsee.

There are those times when you feel this thing rise up in you. It’s distinct from a sort of bitter-anger that causes you to fall into a pit of depression mixed with deep resentment. It’s this kind of anger that moves on you to fight—to fight on somebody else’s behalf.

Even if they don’t think that they deserve it.

I have watched religion beat-up on the Bride of Christ like the proverbial abusive husband. Sometimes it’s physical abuse. Sometimes it’s verbal abuse. Sometimes it goes further.

It gets to the point where I go into a church worship service and hear the Beloved speaking absolute crap over herself like she’s some sort of horrible monster.

“God help me; I’m such a horrible sinner.”

The mantra.

What good, loving husband wants to hear his wife speaking that over herself? What good, loving husband wants to hear his wife call herself a worthless piece of _______? The Jesus that religion preaches is a far cry from the Jesus I know. The Jesus I know totally called me on my self-hatred and told me it was a load of bunk—and that I was WAY too hard on myself.

I’ve seen the scars and the bruises on the arms and the faces of women who have been trafficked. It isn’t too far off from the marks left on the hearts of the people who hear a message of “love Me or be tortured eternally by my sadist of a Father.” That’s the ugly face of religion, folks.

It isn’t the gospel.

Worship is not singing to the Lord about how bad and worthless of a person you are. That’s not worship; that’s spitting on the face of the Lord and denying the gospel. That’s taking the Lord’s name in vain—claiming to believe Him while spouting blatant unbelief in His ability to have accomplished a ________ thing on the cross. Pun-intended.

Worship more has to do with being overwhelmed with the goodness of God. Letting Him wash your feet and speak words of loving-kindness over you. Worship is believing and trusting in a Lover who treasures you beyond anything else in all creation. It’s about being thrown into a sheer ecstasy at the reality that God has forever joined you to Himself. Far from humiliating you, He has allowed Himself to be stripped bare in front of the whole of creation, declaring His love before the cosmos.

Selah on that, folks.

 

 

The Ecstatic Dance

Standard

Who needs a blast of joy today?

I am telling you, ladies and gentlemen, there is more than enough to go around!

Do you want to know what dearly frightens all of the demons of hell? Ecstatic joy exuding and pouring out from the bliss of knowing that you are forever and always embraced in the arms of your Creator, never to be parted!!! WooHOO!

So, today on the jolly blog, I am going take us back to the basics. If your grid for God has been derived from a bunch of religious guilt-trips and hating-on by haters, I have got splendid news for you: you got messed up on the head! God is the happiest Person that ever there was! (No matter how many times we forget that!) God’s a spinning dance of joy and love and community, and you are a dearly loved creation. Brilliant idea!

So, there’s this guy named Jesus, and He is really awesome. And I believe in Him. I believe in a God who is Three-in-One jolly happy dance and loves everyone. One of God favorite past-times? Loving on everyone who has been completely screwed over by religion! I believe that God is most clearly personified in the Person of Jesus.

You want to know what the cross was? You really want to know what the cross was? Well, that’s what you call spreading your arms wide-open for a hug, folks! Come at me, atheists! God completely loves you. You are amazing! Every time I run into one of you, I am reminded of God’s goodness. You want to know why? You help God deconstruct religious oppression. God doesn’t like oppression, so that makes you one of God’s favorites!

I believe that God wants everyone blissed out on the goodness of Jesus. No one excluded. I don’t care what the heck you call yourself; I call you loved!

I Challenge You to a Duel

Standard

“Don’t mess with Mama-Bird!”

If you grow up in a bubble and are suddenly confronted by a difficult problem or situation, it can be easy to start quoting platitudes. Anything to make that discomfort go away. If you are taught to always say, “Yes, ma’am” or “No, sir” in response to everyone and always to be “polite” and “respectful,” it may be hard to practically function when a crazy person comes at you with the clear intent to harm, spouting racial slurs and swear-words you never knew existed until he showed up. If you were taught that in all circumstances, defer to and obey authority—and all of the sudden you are transported to the age of the Third Reich in Berlin . . . . well, it may be time to question all that stuff you learned.

Now, let’s be clear: in most circumstances, I am in favor of deferring to authority. Proper order and all. (I also like to be polite and respectful—in general.) But there are certain instances where authority seems to have forgotten who it is and is acting as something it ought not be. There are also certain instances where individuals do the same thing. And in those cases, I think that the most respectful thing that can be done is to call it out. Don’t be a jerk about it, but call it out. Do it from a heart that wants the best for all involved.

I know that we are all peace-loving people here, but it is really okay to be willing to fight if necessary. If someone tries to invade your home and attack your spouse and kids, I really don’t think that God is going to be angry with you for protecting them. Conversely, don’t think it’s okay to go and invade someone else’s house with the intent to “steal, kill, and destroy” and believe that you are under His protection when you do so. That’s just stupid.

I’m a woman. If a man comes at me and tries to rape me, I believe that I am perfectly justified if I incapacitate him so that he does not succeed. That’s self-defense. Conversely, if I stalk a man with the intent to pull something equally destructive, he is justified in defending himself against me.

I think that it is important that we do not mistake apathy and passivity for a “kind, gentle, peace-loving spirit.” That opens to us up to all kinds of wickedness. Not just anyone ought be allowed to influence us. King Ahab did alright when he was under the influence of Jehoshaphat, but under the influence of Jezebel . . . awful. Killing people and stealing their vineyards. Not okay.

I was recently given two pictures of a clearing. In one, there were either no guards or completely passive guards who stood by and did nothing while a whole bunch of angry skeleton monster-things came at me with clear intent to do harm. In the next, the clearing was surrounded by guards who did their job and did not allow any of the creepy skeleton creatures inside.

I felt like I heard the Lord ask, “In which scenario did you feel more loved?”

I responded, “The second.”

Love protects.

 

Not So Jaded

Standard

I am not looking for love.

That might sound a bit odd to some of you. How many different posts and articles out there are giving tips on “finding love”?

I stopped looking for love when I realized how absolutely silly that is. I don’t need to find love because I already have love. Or, more accurately, love already has me. It’s the very fabric that holds together my being. I cannot function without it. I would fall apart without it. It is the very substance that I breathe. The image in Whom I was made. It’s just . . . there.  Kinda like that dog in “Up” that just won’t go away. He keeps following Carl around no matter how many times he is rejected. That’s a tiny glimpse of what love looks like. Tiny glimpse, mind you. Tiny! Tiny! Tiny!

Now . . . I am looking for love.

????

Actually, I habitually enjoy looking around and appreciating what I have been blessed with. So, yeah, I look around to see what I already have. Sometimes, I look around for the air. Sometimes, I look at my toes and think, “Nice! I have toes.” I love to go on treasure hunts because I always expect to find a treasure. It’s just out there, waiting for me. Set up for me to find.

Now, as the argument goes, “You just don’t live in the ‘real’ world.” I am sure that anyone with that argument has sources and experiences ready to be quoted. They may do so to their hearts’ content, and when they are done feeling tired and weary and depressed and weighed down by the worries of the world, perhaps they will come and consider Someone different.

I did not mistype.

That word-choice was quite intentional. Capitalization and all. I said “Someone” instead of “something.” Truth, for me, is not merely a list of facts and figures subjectively manipulated to support whatever is morbidly trendy. Truth is a Person. “Truth is Life is Love is Jesus Christ in relationship in the Trinity.”

And if you can say that five times fast, I salute you!

I really, really like being alive. It’s awesome. The thing about seeing the Christ everywhere is that it’s like perpetually being surrounded by a hug. You can have a miserable day, but in the end, you are held in the arms of love! The misery fades, but the love lasts—because love is faithful, and misery is such a cheater!

I define “love” or rather “Love” by Jesus Christ (and—for that matter—the whole Trinity) because I can’t find a better definition out there. Everything else just seems selfish and sad in comparison.

I say that knowing that people have all sorts of ideas as to who Jesus Christ and the whole rest of the Trinity is/are. (LOL, language limitations!!!) I say that knowing it’s not always the best communicated, and people get confused about it all the time. It just can’t stop me from falling head-over-heels and stumbling around like a really, really happy drunk.

Feel free to message me if you would like to taste the Source of the Bliss.

Until Next Time,

The Joy Detective