I've had some interesting encounters over the last handful of weeks and writing about any of them too plainly will violate Blog Policy. But I want to write about the common thread through these encounters, which have been moments of faith sharing or praying for someone else. I don't have the full grasp on it yet, but I want to share what I've got so far.
What God is doing in the leadership of the healing ministry I'm part of is revealing a greater understanding of his presence. Presence, presence, presence. It's all we're talking about, it's all we're looking for, it's all of what we're doing. His presence dwells within us, but it's clear that God doesn't think we know what that means. And he's right - if I expand my brain as far as it will go, for the two seconds it agrees to stretch that wide, I can see that a full understanding of God's presence within me will totally overhaul my life.
But, baby steps.
As I talk about it with friends, it's also clear to me that God is calling out different pieces of who we are, and how those pieces are growing and changing with a greater understanding of living in his holy presence. What's going on with me is not what's going on with other people, but because it's God and he knows us individually, and better than we know ourselves, of course he knows what elements to pick out of our humanity. What needs to come out of YOU because you know that God dwells within you?
What is coming out of me is [shocker] a greater understanding of my own authority.
I've walked into these various encounters with a determination to, as I see it, meet people where they're at. Far be it from me to talk too much about God or ask if that person wants prayer. I certainly will not assume I know more than she does about the spiritual, I will not discount another person's own experience and deep mind-work around the character of the divine. I will not equivocate that person's version of the spiritual with my own God, but I will be kind, reasonable, understanding, truthful but not too much. I don't want to scare anyone away, I don't want to offend anyone, and what good would it do for someone to walk away from our encounter liking me less? How is that advancing the kingdom?
Now God is all, "Um..."
During one of these encounters I knew I was supposed to talk about God, but... I DIDN'T WANT TO. I mean, I can come up with a million excuses to not talk about God, but the biggest one, and the one that the others most often boil down into, is: what if I am rejected? And that can look like so many different things. Rejected in the moment, rejected in the future, a halting of whatever relationship I am building, UNFRIENDED ON FACEBOOK, I don't know. They're all terrible. I hate admitting this, but that's been part of my process lately: examining and confessing the Big Real Reason I don't want to share my faith. SO THERE I SAID IT.
But because God is God and I ran out of ways to avoid the topic and also because I eventually DO say yes, I DID share my faith. I didn't share it WELL. I pretty much couldn't have talked about what I was doing - the healing ministry - in a more awkward or confused way. But the conversation took a major turn. Even then, I kept holding back, mincing words, fearful that I might overstep or offend or discount. I don't want to say that it would have been RIGHT for me to overstep or offend, but my overwhelming fear of doing so kept me from having absolutely any (say it with me now) authority on the subject.
Thankfully, God's presence dwells within me. And when the presence of the Lord is inside you, and you have invited him into your home and your life and the Holy Spirit is just in the air, your own lack is nothing.
I ended up praying for this person. I ended up saying "sure" when they asked if they could talk more about it later on. And afterwards I realized, "I didn't get prayed over. I didn't ask to talk more." It was as if, despite my very best efforts, I'd taken authority anyway. Huh!
Another time it took absolutely everything I had to offer to pray for someone, but when I did? It was like this person had been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for me to offer. It gave me courage to pray big too, not just the regular peace and strength blah blah blah, but the big Complete Healing and Restoration! You guys, something shifted in the atmosphere when I did that. I'd taken the authority granted to me by the Father and used it for what it was fully for.
It's like... the more aware I am of God's presence within me and all around me, as I basically swoosh through life through a cloud of Holy Spirit, the less I care about all the other stuff. The more magnified God is in my life, the less room the other stuff takes up, making more room for what he made me to be. The more my authority in him burns through and out and shines. You know? I mean, duh. But also WHOA.