what’s allowed and what’s not

Although today is a great day, I am going to talk about how I found some personal freedom and dilute the stigma attatched to some issues. Overall I am looking forward to the bright side of life, but for a while everything went dark spiritually, socially, and I felt silenced in my pain. I have an infection in my foot that won’t go away, some upcoming painful surgeries as I am having my bladder sling removed, and am battling another health issue bigger than any of these, that scares me. I have been a mess since about last May and I have felt like impending doom was headed my way. I don’t look forward to pain, to bedrest, and generally bad feelings, who does? But I had felt like that was all I had coming to me. But those were not the giants torturing me. Ruling my mind were giants of a spiritual nature. Last night the fog began to lift. I still have an uphill battle coming my way, only I am no longer fearful. I realized what I believe last night.

Ever heard of trichotomy? It allows for a doctrine which is not complete. I had tried to force myself to believe that I was complete, in a new man’s body, while still on earth. Only I knew deep down inside it wasn’t true. I had a really hard time grasping it because I was still the same person, just either a better or worse version of myself. In trichotomy, a man is not saved, but rather a new man is substituted for Him. When the old man is gone (and the old man has to be gone in order for the new man to be in its place), it means that either I am the old man or the new man. Well, I’m in Christ as I have died and risen with Him, figuratively. It was figurative because my body did not literally die and I rose out of water (baptism) and not a grave. I read recently that the problem with trichotomy & the related carnal Christian teaching is that it leaves a foothold for the Gnostic impulse. Like thinking we are no longer men, but completely new beings being transformed into a literal Christ.

Our minds, hearts, and souls are renewed as we age. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully Christian. Only I am aware that I am not the embodiment of the Lord, either alone or with others- not literally. It’s figuratively that I say I am a part of a body and I am a living stone in a house. A friend helped me see this recently and it changed everything. Now it makes sense. That’s why I still have depression and health issues. I remember the day I felt my depression take over. I was 8. It has cost me many, many things, including jobs and relationships. If I was a completely new man, literally, with the fullness of Christ when I gather with others, then those things would be gone when I gather with others or live in community life with others. But they never did. And the only answer seemed to be that I must not be a new man. And no amount of people telling me I am over and over again, no matter how good their intentions were, is going to change my physical make-up.

I am a Christian. My body fails not because of what I believe or don’t believe, but because I spent years treating it horribly. I lived out of cars at times. I used heroin for half of my teen life and into early adulthood. I didn’t care for my body one bit and the food I ate, when I did eat, was garbage. The first time I became pregnant and had a son, my body was torn, this time I mean literally, and bad things happened that I never completely recovered from. That is why I believe my body is failing me. And unfortunately, no matter how much time I spend with Christ, the healing is only up to me to a point. I am taking very good care of myself these days and I try to find great doctors with good reputations in every town I live in. I have seen the Lord miraculously heal people. My husband went in for surgery one day about 4 years ago only to find his body had healed itself. I hope that happens to me, but if it doesn’t, it’s not because I am not a new creation. I am a new creation in my soul. my mind is being renewed daily by the Holy Spirit, and my body will unfortunately have to wait until the next life, when I believe we go to heaven.

Every single issue is still here, only now there’s a weight that’s been lifted and I am happy. I believe, and have always believed that the Lord wants me to homeschool. I know this because I wanted to quit, and almost did quit after we left our community (our former church was a community life group called organic church) last year and I dealt with depression and fatigue. I asked the Lord often if I could put them in school. We live so close that I can see the entrance from my front yard, so it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? The answer was a loud no, figuratively. I had a “no” in my spirit every time I asked. And the Lord gave me the strength to continue. I believe that I have mild bipolar depression and it has shaped my behavior since I was 8. When I became a Christian, the neurons didn’t begin moving automatically just because I believed and knew what the Lord did for me. It would have been awesome if that part of my brain began doing what it was supposed to do, but I assure you that I am saved and I still have ups and downs that are not in my control. I take medicine so I know what’ real and I can have some self-control. I have serious pain every day of my life, hence the upcoming surgeries that will hopefully heal me. I became a chronic pain patient years after becoming a Christian. I even have pain when I am joyful in Him. The point is, we are in failing bodies that will die one day. Therefore we cannot combine our spirits which will go on to heaven, with our bodies which are aging (proof that we are people who will die).

The last thing I want to say before I sign off this morning is this… not every bad feeling or problem is one that we are to choose to ignore. There are many Christians today who focus on problems that others have for no good reason. This isn’t what I’m talking about. Sometimes there is really something wrong, and sometimes when our emotions, feelings, and senses are consistently leaning towards a problem… it could be from the Lord. If there is truly an issue that needs bringing up, and it’s brought into the light in order to help, in order to make things better, and in order that people are made aware, it does not mean that me or you or anyone who feels this is “turning to the flesh”. The Lord still gives wisdom through His people today.

In one of my many, and I do mean many, out-of-the-norm Christian groups, I had a problem that would not go away. Sometimes I talked about how I felt and afterwards others would share that they mirrored what I said. It affirmed what I believed to be a real problem. I was yelled at privately and told to be quiet. Ultimately it was swept under the rug with some verses I was to repeat in the mirror over and over again. When it became clear this wasn’t working, voicing the problem made me the problem. I felt bad, but not with the Lord. I just felt like something bad was going on. It hit me recently that I didn’t believe, nor would I ever buy into, the set of unspoken rules and doctrines that I had been trying to force into my mind. Silence is wrong, and became a real issue when one of the female members in the group felt unsafe in her current domestic situation and went to the leaders, so no one else would have to know and this “gossip” about her home life would not be spread. The leader asked her what she was doing to cause this to be happening. What did she do to cause the man she loved to bruise her arm? Maybe it’s because I’m from Jersey, but that doesn’t fly… no matter what religion or group you belong to. When physical abuse is swept under the rug by spiritual leaders, it becomes spiritual abuse. Yet should anyone say a negative word about a leader or their written down set of rules, it was likened to blaspheme. Am I disgruntled? Not anymore because I am not afraid to say aloud that this was not okay. Was I disgruntled? Well according to the Random House Roget’s definition, yes, I was displeased and irritated. And so were a lot of others who are beginning to come out of the woodwork.

I know we are not supposed to trust our feelings. Our hearts can be deceived. But, deep down inside we have spiritual instincts. And for me, the first place I begin to notice these are in my heart and my feelings. I am learning to tell the difference between a feeling that is just a crazy feeling and a feeling that is real and cause for speaking up. The Lord tells us to be on guard against many things. He would not say this should we never need to handle any problems. I do not hate, or even dislike those who chose to go along with what I deem spiritual abuse because I was once in the same place. I tried holding on so tight to this belief that I was a piece of Christ literally and any wrong I saw happen or any negative thing meant I was “walking in the flesh”. Sometimes it’s okay to be disgruntled with something, especially abuse, and it’s always okay to talk about it. If nobody will listen, maybe it’s time to find people who will. And that’s how I found my freedom.

Thank you for reading today, have a good week, and be free my friend!

Love,

Jackie

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