What a strange question! How can my desire be too weak? Everything in me that strives to be good and peaceful nearly cringes at the question.
Desire? Isn’t that the root of my problem?
C.S. Lewis boldly proclaims a mind-blowing manifesto:
“If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is not part of the Christian faith.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
– C. S. Lewis in “The Weight of Glory” (PDF Download)
Could it be that I’ve been wandering away from true fulfillment, trying to play it safe and be comfortable, and missing the dynamic life I was made to live?
I have always felt an infinite longing deep in my soul.
When I started smoking marijuana, I began to believe that psychedelics could open up the path I was looking for to achieve enlightenment. After a couple years of recreational smoking, I decided to go to a psytrance rave and take the plunge. I took my first and only acid there, and after a few hours of non-stop “shamanic” dancing, I had visions of what seemed to be extraterrestrial beings, summoning me to join them in a transcendent realm, beyond infinity. They urged me to deny my childhood faith in Yeshua, (Jesus) and “Evolve or Die.” They said they would ritually eat me so I could become a transcendent being, able to be like them. I accepted the offer, then danced so hard until the music stopped and I found myself sprawled on the ground, begging the bright orb in the sky (which turned out to be the moon) to beam me up. As thick clouds moved in and it disappeared from my view, I fell into a depressed state, wondering, Did they reject me? What did I do wrong?
A few times after that, I found myself “tripping” in the company of hyper-sexual people who had minimal boundaries and basically rejected familial or platonic love. It was terrifying and I still want to throw up when I flash back. (I am thankful that I knew deep in my gut that it was wrong and skirted around most encounters, despite uncomfortable pressures and awkward interactions that made me feel like an outcast).
I threw myself into study of Buddhist and Zen writings, desperately trying to gain spiritual control. I sought to achieve a powerful, stoic posture where nothing, no matter how disturbing, could rupture my “transcendent” state of awareness. This may seem practical on the surface, but I was actually abandoning everything I am – character, personality, talent, passions, heart – a spiritual metaphysical psychosomatic being, created in the image of Divine Creator.
“He begins to die, that quits his desires.” — George Herbert
The question, How will my soul survive death? began to drive everything I studied and every drug I took. I read Timothy O’Leary’s The Psychedelic Book of the Dead, and wrote a quote from it on my wall:“dive into your fear and master it.”
I spent hours, usually high, sometimes sober, meditating on my fears. I sought to develop spiritual and emotional neutrality. The more I tried to maintain composure and not react (as I reflected on the past and braced myself in anticipation of future trauma), the more I internalized my fear and intensified my psychosis.
I was dying inside. And when I hit the marijuana too hard, paranoia easily took hold of my mind. I began hearing voices that deepened every fearful thought that flared in my mind. I was running around on highways and byways trying to hide from evil aliens. I was trying to hold my breath and still my heart so they couldn’t locate me in my own house. I stopped eating, stopped showing up to work, and spent weeks wandering and pulling out my hair, lost in an imaginary multidimensional war. Finally some people saw me having an anxiety attack and sent me to the psyche ward, where my fears grew deeper.
Many people in the ward seemed to be making fun of my thoughts. I decided they must be psychic vampires. I believed I was fractured between virtual and physical reality. As I heard them talk and laugh, I imagined they were watching my virtual reality (broadcasting on TV to entertain the masses) and someday when I woke up to my whole self, physical+virtual+spiritual, I would be an absolute mess, and suffer eternally in pain and isolation.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear. Fear is the anticipation of punishment. (I trembled at the reality of death. I kept trying to figure out a way around or through it that didn’t terrify me). The one who fears has not been perfected in love.
We love because He first loved us.
(1 John 4:18-19)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
My mom came to visit me. I was so afraid. I thought they were manipulating my perception and the food was actually from human flesh. I thought they were murderous aliens in disguise, out to kill, steal and destroy. (which was absolutely true, but happening spiritually unseen more than the ways I was imagining. John 10:10). I thought I was bait to lure in my whole family into their slaughterhouse. I begged her leave.
“This place is dangerous! These people aren’t what they seem, they are evil! Go away! Don’t come back!” I pushed her as hard as I could toward the door.
“Did you call out to Jesus and ask Him to save you?” She asked me finally, flabbergasted at my desperate sobbings and pleadings and blubberings.
“I called out to Jesus….and He never came!” I exclaimed, writhing in anguish, uncertainty, and disbelief. I didn’t really mean what I said, I hadn’t truly called out to Him…I wrote a poem about possibly considering Him again, but hadn’t prayed or even looked toward Him in years.
Even so, the moment I said JESUS, I felt energy course through my body and leave me. It scared me so bad, I writhed and shrieked “they’re murdering people downstairs now! I felt the spirits leave!”
Jesus, Yeshua, Ieso, Jesu, Yesu, Jesús, Yashua.
His name is POWER. In every tongue, every pronunciation. The demons tremble and flee. Even in my weak pronouncement, God was gracious and cast them out of me. The voices in my mind never returned.
Though I was set free spiritually, my mind was still in confusion. I stubbornly clung to my twisted reality for several weeks (paradoxically afraid I would lose grip on my reality — MY TRUTH) until the electro-shock therapy zapped me some new neurons. It felt like the forest of my mind was paved with a superhighway, but I’ve healed from it and am thankful to have been zapped back into reality.
Only Jesus can drive demons out. He upholds the universe by the Word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). He has THE power over darkness. I run into His presence and the darkness flees, for YAHWEH ELOHIM, the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY dwells in “unapproachable light” 1 Timothy 6:16.
After He set me free I began to seek Him. I was depressed at the livelihood I felt I had lost. I didn’t smile for a few months. I started running through the forest every day between jobs, I would run as far as I could until I fell down sobbing. I mourned the loss of everything I was, my brain felt so quiet and empty. But I felt God moving in on me, like a quiet premonition of a beautiful thunderstorm in the distance.
I had been baptized in humility. I had lost everything I thought I was. I began seeking sacred fellowship with Him, praying, reading His scriptures, being mentored by other disciples in the Way, and listening to Biblical teachers. After 3 years I encountered God in a deeper way, realizing that Jesus not only suffered crucifixion, but the greater suffering was the fact that He drank the cup of God’s wrath:
The wrath of our holy God poured out on sin.
HOLINESS! What is that?
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said:
“Woe is me, for I am a]”>[a]undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin b]”>[b]purged.”
We can glimpse His holiness in the majesty of His expansive creation which He spoke into existence. We can glimpse His holiness when we see how tangled we are in evil.
As my soul thirsted for His living Water and I responded to His drawing I began to notice my thoughts. I was repulsed by what I found there. God was exposing my selfish, self-righteous nature. My heart was not full of love, but of selfishness mixed with self-loathing. I craved an easy life, I craved relationships that provided my needs but didn’t interfere with my goals.
Jesus, save me!
He did. As I struggled against my flesh and prayed, the nature of my thoughts began to change. He was setting me free as I pressed into His Word and in prayer before Him. As I repented before Him and before others, He freely gave me freedom. I experienced this freedom flood me in His Spirit in extremely tangible ways when fellow followers prayed with me.
In 2016 I was invited to a prayer meeting with young adults in California. I was on my face asking God to set me free, I felt so overwhelmed with anxiety and I felt so far from Him. As I was praying a girl I had just met that day came over to me and said, “The Lord says you have a lot of worries on you. They are not yours to carry.” She prayed with me and I felt it all slip away. I came home happy and free and slept more soundly than I had since…probably childhood. My mind was less cluttered and I had more energy. Two weeks later, when my mind began recoiling with anxious thoughts. I went back to the prayer meeting. A girl I had never met (who just got back from a missions trip) came to me and said the same thing again, “the Lord says you have a lot of worries on you.” I said “YES!!” and she began praying scripture over me and the moment I opened my mouth to say “Yes Lord” and lifted my hands, I felt this burning sensation, like hot fluid bursting out of my ears and disappearing. My mind was healed in a way that I have never struggled with anxiety to the same extent since then.
Another spiritual healing followed in the same church about a year later. My friend had just taught about things Satan uses to get a foothold in your life. Bitterness was the top issue. God pointed out the mass of bitterness twisting deeply in my heart against someone, and I made a bee-line for the Deacon waiting in front to pray with anyone who came forward. He prayed, “Father…Pull this bitterness out by the roots, and fill it with the mighty cleansing blood of Jesus…” as he spoke the words I felt it happen. Metaphysically, spiritually, the roots were loosening and pulling out, and I felt this lively pouring sensation filling my heart. It was surreal.
Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The fervent prayer of a righteous person has great power. James 5:16
THIS WORKS. It is now the rule in my life, when I am overwhelmed, struggling, sad…I seek out siblings in Christ — whoever is there, my husband, a mentor or friend at church, my parents, my siblings…And I experience God work immediately wherever I am struggling.
The struggle becomes increasingly complex as one matures in growth in the Spirit. I heard my brother listening to this free course from Dr. Jon Coe, Spiritual Formation (you need to sign up but it is free). It really pulled me through a spiritually dry season, learning that when God isn’t just healing me immediately when I cry out, He’s leading me to press in deeper, in greater desperation and stronger awareness of my need for Him to rule and lead my life.
This video is a masterful animation that totally resonates with my journey away from God and back into His arms. I cry every time I see it, amazed to tears at His mercy and love:https://youtu.be/QW5tGtCJjmU
Another resource awakening my soul is this:https://youtu.be/ygb7vLPhpfc
“Who is this, within the veil, Who dwells in fiery manifestations?” Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer, free audiobook on youtube.
The Bible is the best resource, the most direct source to know God. I love listening to the Word of Promise audio of the NKJV. Scroll down for a playlist of all the books.
I pray your journey into God’s light heals and sanctifies you, and fulfills the ultimate desire of your heart that only God can satisfy. Please let me know if these words minister to you and how I can pray for you.
In the Glorious Supernatural Name and Love of Yeshua, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, Son of the Living God,