What if you could take your emotional baggage on a trip, to find that when you land, and when you arrive at baggage claim to pick it up, that it magically disappeared. Got lost in transit. Where did it go? Never to be found or to enter your life again? Would you care?
This week I flew home to visit my family, and last night we had a family dinner and get together of roughly 30 of us. It was something I so needed. Honestly, I didn’t want it to end as fast as it did. I often regret having moved away from home. Missing all my nieces and nephews having kids. Getting to know their kids as well as getting to know them, my siblings and my parents better.
A week before I left home, I thought to myself. What if they ask me to pray before dinner. I had this beautiful & wonderful prayer all thought out, about despite our hardships, we thank God for all the blessings he has given us. For giving us a family that cares & loves each other as much as we do Him, Prayer to heal us, to give us peach & freedom from suffering and pain in our lives, Etc…..
Never did I think that I would actually be asked to Pray. But I was asked and as usual, as I started praying, I got nervous and flubbed it all up.
I hated it. I sounded so stupid. Why can’t I just get over this praying in front of others thing. I always fear that I won’t sound eloquent enough. I put so much pressure on myself that it just doesn’t come out the way I wish it had. To have it flow out of my mouth effortless, meaningful, touching others hearts & souls & touching them with a thought or inkling of the Love of God; right in that moment. Part of me also wanted them to know, that Look. I have changed. I am a man of God. You can now believe that it is true. I am no longer the lost person I once was.. But I digress…
So I wake up from a dream that really horrified me at 3AM and couldn’t go back to sleep for fear that it would come back. And then the thoughts on this post kept running through my head, weighed heavy on my heart and I had to share them, and as many times in the past, God keeps nudging me to stay awake and write out my thoughts before they are lost. Thank goodness for naps. 🙂
The thing about my prayer is; it is now in the past. I can’t change it. It is done and it is over. Forget about it and move on. 364 days ago, I decided to give part of my past to God, to forget about it and to move on. I asked Him to take my alcohol and smoking addiction completely away. I was using it to escape and cope with my anger at how religion had treated me, and for Who I was (a gay man) and thinking that I was going to hell for it. Being mad at God for making me this way. And amazingly I woke up One Year Ago today, my cravings for it, and my guilt about being gay and being angry with God and religion was done. It was finished.
Matthew 11:28New Living Translation (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
I have been thinking about the many friends who have come into my life, in the last few months. Those in my Bible Study Group and even those in my family, who are suffering. Something in their lives that is holding them back from moving forward and onward. Throwing them in addictions that they just can’t break. Something, maybe even that they themselves are holding over their own head that they just can’t let go of. Escaping into alcohol, drugs or some other coping mechanism to escape whatever it is that is holding them hostage. I get it.. I have been there. Believe it or not, We have all been there and still are at times. If he can forgive me of the horrifying, degrading and putrid things that I have done, He can most certainly forgive you.
If its a loss of someone or something. I understand. It stinks, it’s not fair and it hurts deep and hard. Life isn’t ever fair. I am not saying get over it, but we do need to move on somehow. Life is moving forward and we have things that need to be done and need to be taken care of, and we can’t do that if we keep holding on to the past. Holding onto our baggage, holding on to the thoughts of the idiotic things we do and the terrible ways that we treat each other. We are human. We were born into this sin nature that takes our lives and makes us to stupid things.
Some people find it hard to believe that God is a loving father. Their role models of a father or even their mother has not been pleasant. So that thought of God, our Father being loving is skewed to say the least. But let me be clear before I ask you to take this next step. Our true Father; God, is nothing but love. He is not angry at you. He does not hate you. He never leaves you. He is and will always be there to pick you up.
If you are reading this post and it speaks directly to you. You being stuck in the past and can’t let it go. I ask you to do something right this very minute. And take it seriously. Maybe it would help to have a Christian friend there with you.
Turn off your TV, your phone, your radio, and all the sounds around you. Cut out all the distractions. Now sit in your favorite chair, sit on your couch or even on the floor. Wherever you are the most comfortable and feel at peace. Now close your eyes and Imagine that your best friend, your best buddy; God or Jesus (whichever makes you most comfortable) is sitting right next to you; face to face; with both of his hands holding yours. What is he saying to you?
If he is telling you that you are a failure, a loser, you will never amount to anything, you are worthless… THAT IS NOT GOD, NOR IS IT JESUS. That my friends is Satan, sitting there as if he is God. Did he trick you? That’s what he does and that’s what he is best at. Trying to imitate God and trap you in his snare. Not even he can be happy with his own identity. He is the one trying to hold you hostage. He is the liar, the deceiver and the voice in your head that wishes to weigh you down in heavy chains of burden and guilt. So heavy that you can’t get free to move any further ahead. Speak to him and tell him in the name of Jesus Christ, that he is not welcome here anymore. Tell him to get up and leave your home. Get mad at him until he gets up and walks out that door. That chair and your space is only open to God. Now that he is gone. Never mention his name again. He is done and he is finished.
Now imagine the true God sits down. He reaches over to you and places his hands, gently on each side of your face, lovingly he forces you to look into his eyes. Then he places his hands on your shoulders, looking you eye to eye, and He say’s to you, “I Love You”, “I know everything you have done. It doesn’t matter”. Then he starts stroking the back of your head and pulls you into him and holds you. Placing your head on his shoulder, He puts his arms around you and He says, “It’s all in the past. You are my forever child. Nothing you have done, or said, or thought. Nothing that you will ever do will affect our relationship. I love you. You are forgiven. All those things you have done. All those things that others have said to you. All the ways that others have tore you down. All the ways that you can’t forgive yourself. My child, Its all in the past. Neither you or I can change that. So let it go. Gather all your baggage, All the dead weight, all your heavy burdens and hand them over to me. They are no longer your burdens to carry, they are mine to deal with now. Never to be seen or heard of again. I died so that you could live. So you could live free of all the mistakes and failures that you think you have created or done. You are human. I made you perfect. I knew all that you would do even before you were even born. Yet despite all of that and this. I CHOSE YOU. I chose you to be a child of God. I Love You. Just as you are and right where you are at. LET IT GO. I am your real and true father. My Love is all you need”.
I know it is hard. Trust me. I still struggle with things that I did yesterday or the day before. But I forget about it. I sincerely cry to God and ask him to forgive me and I move on and move forward in my walk with Him.
I am sincerely asking you, begging you and pleading with you to make this change. This is what changed my life. I know that you may have been hurt by religion. But remember, religion is made up of people. It’s not religion that hurt you. It’s people. It’s not God that hurt you, It was people. It was the devil and his minions. You will always be hurt by people. Even Christians. People hurt people, even when it was not meant to hurt you. That’s our past baggage welling up inside of us again.
But I urge you. Find a church. One that fits you. None of them will be perfect, and it my take visiting quite a few before you find one that fits. My fit was one that was non-denominational. I didn’t want to fit in the box of Lutheran, Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, etc.. on and on. I already have a label that is given to me “Gay”.
I don’t need another one.
I am a Christian. A follower of Jesus. I don’t need a denomination telling me how to live or what rules to follow. That is not what it is about. Man made most of the rules. The Jews came up with 613 commandments. 😥 Not God. Who do you know that can even follow the 10 commandments that God did give us, let alone 613? Even God knows that we can’t keep his 10. Why do you think that Jesus had to die and shed his blood for us?
So find a church. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE FIXED BEFORE YOU GO TO CHURCH. Go to church first. Right where you are. Be honest and up front with people. If you need help or prayer. ASK FOR IT. If they are true followers of Jesus, they will talk you thru it. they may want to spend time with you. They will pray for you. Going to church, learning the Bible (join a bible study group) this is what will fix you. It will be a slow process.
Psalm 34:18Living Bible (TLB)
The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; he rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins.
It took me a year to break the alcohol and smoking addiction. One year later I am still dealing with other things. If you have been following my blog, you know what those are. One day.. I will break those chains that are holding me down as well. Hopefully with this 40 day challenge those will be broken off.
Here is another challenge, and I wrote about this exactly one year ago. In the Bible, 40 days is talked about often. And it always has to do with testing or judgement. It is usually the length of time necessary to accomplish some major part of God’s plan.
New Year’s day is just about 40 days away. On day number 1 of the new year, most of us make resolutions to change. But last year, I made a new resolution. On New Years day, I want to be able to celebrate change, not start it. So last year I started the 40 day challenge. My challenge last year was to never again pick up another drink with alcohol in it or another cigarette. I gave in on each once during that time, but the instant they hit my lips. I tossed it. Never to touch them again this entire year. It is finished.
This year is a new challenge. And when I get back home from visiting my family, the New Year will be 43 days away. I will fast for most likely a week, possibly more and praying earnestly to God to forgive me and to change me. For his will to be done in me.
I ask that you look deep within yourself. Are you happy in your current life? Is your life getting any better without God, Jesus or church in it? Have you listened to all the things religion has stuffed down your throat that is a complete and utter lie? Is your pattern of life making you happy or plain miserable?
My life has been so much better since I found God. Since I found church. Since I joined a Bible Study Group and am learning what Christ really is about. You won’t find out the truth from TV or the news, or non-christians.
John 8:32New International Version (NIV)
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
My life has only gotten better. It took me decades to figure that out. Don’t let decades pass you by.. Do it now. Make this year truly a year of change for you. The change that truly matters. Not the change that matters to others. Stop worrying about what others think of you and focus on what God wants for you. He is the only thing that will matter in the scope of things now and when you are gone from this earth.
The beauty is that God loves us so much that he gives us the free will to choose, but we are not free from the consequences of our choice.
Place Your Life Before God
Romans 12:2The Message (MSG)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.