I've mentioned the significance of the breath and the voice in previous posts before, so risk sounding like a broken record but I stay with what the Lord is revealing until it has shifted. We are still continuing to see correlations in the natural occur that also point to the spiritual dynamics at play. Let's recap on the indicators in the natural I've perceived over the past two years occurring and also building in number of people effected:
Intimidation and discouragement in different forms to silence the voices and expressions of Godly creativity, prophetic, prayer and worship. Includes confusion, ongoing fogginess to be able to create, unmotivated, or depressed.
Anxiety & panic where it is felt both physically and/or spiritually constricting on the lungs, ability to breathe with ease. Includes those with mental or emotional distress. Also high levels of fear.
Californian and Aussie fires effecting the atmosphere, thus the breath.
Individual lung illnesses, or illnesses that have impact upon lung function. (Could even include the rise in vaping, especially in young, in this if so choose to).
Global respiratory pandemic of Covid-19.
George Floyd death marked by his cry "I can't breathe", sparking global cry against racism.
Censoring and freedom of speech via social media dynamics and debates.
These have just been some of the most obvious areas we have had to contend with over this time. Not just the body of Christ but the world. Christian's, we need to remember that the enemy doesn't just want to interfere destructively in the lives of those who follow Christ, but in all lives, as all have originated in the image and design of God. Not even a servant of satan does he consider his friend.
These specific attacks and challenging times should be significant indicators at how vitally important the breath and voice of God in you REALLY is. Why such an obvious targeting otherwise?
[Before reading on can I ask, that best you can, you read without the filter of these aforementioned events/issues overlaid over what follows unless mentioned directly in the context of that particular sentence. Reason being, if you read with any of the filters of the above events it will not be read in it's actual context as I've written generally for the most part and not in direct relation. I adjusted some lines in case parts were read as such, however I'm not concerned right now about addressing these issues and events, but rather the condition of our hearts and minds to call us all higher above circumstances, not beneath them.]
The sad reality is that despite all our knowledge, we are still underestimating the authority, weight and influence our breath and our voice really have in forming and destroying, in elevating and disarming, in establishing and shifting, in binding and in loosing, in releasing and in creating, in healing and in wounding. Yet we are generally so quick to use it as casual weaponry. And it is this that I want to speak to. To speak to our breath, our voice, our busy tappy-tappy keyboard warrior fingers and the source of it's outflow.
I choose to not look at the conditions of the world and exclaim 'evil!'. I look and see 'God what are you stirring up in people?' It doesn't all need to be good at the outset when the earth is hungering for answers as it acknowledges it's deep questions and embarks on the journey of being found. We get to partake as Godly solutionaries, put our skin in the game and love into - however that may look to each of us. Sounds straightforward right? Yet, we ourselves are confronted with our own questions within these tensions, and that is necessary. These questions test our thinking and hearts in a new way. I think there is genuine fear of being deceived that drives a resolve to remain staunch and unbending. Do you doubt your connectedness with God that you could be so easily corrupted simply by listening? Understand, I am in no way saying to change solid, fundamental truth centred in Christ. You don't need to to be a good listener.
But what I am seeing (and feeling the weight of) in the body is now the level of 'policing' the voices of one another. A war of the words, and this is the current 'war of the worlds'. I am speaking mainly to the body of Christ right now. Opinions are rife. Debate and discussion can be so healthy, and there are those doing this well and with grace. Then there are those, still good, still Godly people, who cannot help but engage in this war of words. Yes friends, I am speaking to you, this is not veiled, not calling out the one or two, but us many. I am not talking about close, permission given, relational accountability of another, but rather the need to be heard and need to be right or considered as such. Some of you may think that the release of 'the word' in response to another is the releasing of the leading of the Spirit of God, but from what I am seeing and sensing I'd challenge that. I saw it in the spirit more like an addiction fix. That each time you 'policed', rebutted, commented or pushed, that it was giving the person a 'hit' like a drug. The hit directly fed the ego with a dose of faux power that exalted itself above the other because it believed that it was more right and therefore righteous than the next person, making oneself feel more powerful by trying to disempower another. It's mostly not recognised at that conscious level, but it is not love and not empowering, it's false power whether your facts or understanding are in actuality right or not, the agenda is subversively to disempower another person in the illusion of leading them to a truth or a 'truth'. Even if its subtle. Oh how the enemy is revelling in this distracting and disconnecting activity and agenda. Don't get me wrong in this, I am not saying don't use your voice, just don't waste your breathe. Honestly I doubt there is a keyboard warrior out there whose opinion you are likely to influence because the dynamic of actual relationship is removed. Use your personal platforms for your thoughts, let others do the same. The pseudo social world is a strange space to navigate, but it's not your job to be it's salvation. The hypocrisy of free speech is 'I say what I want to say about what you said that I didn't want you to say or think or believe so that you will only say, think and believe what I say, think and believe, because I think, and believe more right than you think and believe'. Did you get that? Confused? Exactly ... There is so much clanging of cymbals of intellectual and spiritual arrogance, and lack of genuine love. Have you seen those wind up monkey toys holding cymbals? Yup, thats pretty much what we become when we take the bait, performing monkey's. I don't mean to sound critical or condemning, I only mean to convey the reality through imagery of what we are all susceptible to right now that we may need to do some self checks around instead of trying to keep everyone else in check. When was your last thought that originated in God to create rather than a reactive thought to something external? Selah.
Side note, Facebook wasn't designed to be a news source, it was a place connection. Also the Lord said to me the other day that while everyone is trying to 'inform' each other, what they are not doing is being leaders of the next generation. The young generation are not on Facebook, they may be on other platforms, but I feel the Father's heart for them to be engaged in person, particularly within family context, something that lockdown provided opportunity for.
During lockdown I was forwarded a political message, one that I was not interested in receiving or engaging with. Unfortunately it came with a spirit of anxiety that sat on my chest instantly. I knew the anxiety was not my own and attempted to move it. I eventually did after half a days attempt. That is the level of empowerment we are giving to fuel this atmosphere, and instead we need to be shifting it and not in the way we have been.
We do this also when we give advice. Well intentioned and something we all do, but we tend to want to give answers, an imposed and overlaid perspective rather than just being willing to listen as another processes. Self revelation is always more actualised, even when heard from another source it still has to be received and formed within. And people often already know what they need to know or do, but the verbalisation with another is just part of the personal processing of what is inside. In my own journey of having my voice shut down, the anxiety grew from not being able to have a safe place to verbally process. I just needed to verbalise the inner dynamics in oder to deal with them because that was one specific area that was under attack. As I've become stronger with my voice again, any time someone offers unsolicited advice that I've not welcomed, put words in my mouth, or imposed assumption, (depending to the degree) I feel such a roar rise in my spirit it's difficult to restrain at times. Because I know what it has deeply cost me to climb out of a place of oppression. In everything there are important lessons we can learn, and some of the lessons from the global cry against racism we should be learning that applies to all areas of life, is not only is the breath of life even in one person deserving of value, but that preferring one another in humility includes willingness to listen to the cries of another's need, and that silence shouldn't be a tool of continued oppression. We should know this as Christians, we do know this, but this is not how we are behaving. Has a warped sense of unity become our idol where complete agreement with another is a theology in and of itself that dictates our level of genuine love? I don't know. I do know if I choose to not agree with, or completely agree with what you are saying, the response will be to argue me down until you have had the last say on the matter. No one wants to feel misunderstood. Misunderstanding comes from not actively listening to understand. But to understand you, doesn't always mean I will concede to your desire to be empowered by agreement. Sometimes I will empower myself and you, by leaving more unsaid, doesn't seem logical right? I hear those of you laughing who know me well as you think how could I leave anything unsaid with the amount that I talk! But I have learnt, and still learning, there is little need to justify and explain myself, something I use to feel I had to do with everything, yet others may not have that level of choice in life where there is lack of value of life not simply choices. I have learnt asking questions gives people room for their own answers. I have learnt that it's a high form of value allowing others to hear God for themselves. I have learnt what it has felt like to be powerless and don't want another person to feel that way by any even subtle form of control or manipulation. I talk too much in my excitedness and desire to be vulnerable and connect. But I also commit to grow at listening better and responding with care unless advice sought. Sometimes I think my silence has been misunderstood as something it's not, when I am giving you room to be you and process, and to come to your own conclusions with God because I trust you with Him, and other times I have learnt not to be silent when it would have been less confronting to do so.
Moving on from thrashing this point. I want to talk about 'decision fatigue' for a moment, not to be confused with (social media) feed fatigue. It is sometime I had never heard of before listening to a podcast on my walk yesterday. Then the Lord gripped me with the thought. Decision fatigue is when we have been faced with having to make numerous decisions at length and we begin to deteriorate in the ability to make quality decisions which result in trade-offs or poor choices. Clever marketing will manipulate our decision fatigue in life. For example, in the supermarket we have choices up and down each aisle of specials we make decisions on purchasing or not over and over. We can make good food and budget choices all the way up until the confectionary at the counter. Why? Because all those options have fatigued us and now we have become vulnerable to make a choice we may not have at the start of the shop. Think about tv commercials at dinner time. You are already tired from a day full of decisions and now you have to make dinner, just the thought makes you tired right? Burger ad comes on, you may not even feel like a burger but you are tired and hungry and the ad might just as well have made the choice for you. What is the drawcard about getting drunk? A few drinks in and it's no longer about how it tastes. I'd suggest its the relief from the responsibility or the fatigue of making wise/smart choices all day. To be inhibited from responsible thinking. To have a quality time? Not likely, because how much of the time do you remember, and how much of the memories are of good quality? But the 'good time' is the self relief from the weight of reasoning. I know most of you reading this won't likely be those off getting drunk as skunks. But we are capable of making decisions that are not in our best interest even if they seem like they are if we are experiencing decision fatigue.
I bring this up because we can all agree that 2020 has looked nothing like how we expected for starters. Added to that, there are many who have experienced a lot of very significant challenges, and painful life changing situations even before this year rolled around, much of which is likely still playing out. With all these challenges we have had to make a lot more decisions about life, not only for ourselves, but likely for our families, work places, Christian communities, finances, relational lives, health, you name it, it has been a lot any which way you swing it. We will encounter phases of decision fatigue, and without preset boundaries or understanding of need, we will be prone to making choices that are less than our needed or intended best. They may present to us as beneficial because they fill a want, who doesn't want to eat the chocolate! Though speaking to much deeper things than chocolate here. But our temporary wants and the relief it gives us from the fatigue of making all the responsible choices, will only disguise our actual needs lingering us longer and deeper into a spiral of uncertainty. I know, it's tiring making all the good choices and still not seeing the breakthrough. I know, its exhausting being the one saying yes to the hard stuff when others seem so carefree and do what they want. It's the exchanging of the immediate trade-offs for the long term gains. It's knowing where you tend to hit your decision fatigue and giving yourself a way to restore in a way that doesn't compromise, and getting to know your true needs and how to have them met in a God given way. Give yourself grace to leave the decision making on the things that can wait and stick to the simple, regular choices, strategically balancing out making more complex choices to your prime time of day and week where possible. Ask the Lord what will keep for later releasing worries that are behaving demandingly. Tip, if you are working at length convincing yourself as to why something not sitting right is a good idea, it's probably not. Double down tip, if you message a wise, trusted bestie asking if something sounds like a good idea and they say no, and you do it anyway, it's probably not a good idea. Triple down tip, if you are too scared to message wise, trusted bestie to ask if something is a good idea in case they tell you not to because you want to do it anyway, it's probably not the right thing. Quadruple down tip, if you have started avoiding the person in your life you see as the most connected with God, you are likely on a deep spiral into some decision fatigue and need to ask them for help to bring hope, relief and clarity again. This is of course a general statement, where things like sharing brave dreams in new places and spaces may challenge the comfortable nature and understanding in others and should be looked at differently. What I am speaking to is that niggling in you that knows that this is likely not a 'best choice' scenario.
As I was praying yesterday, I had a picture of fish hooks in the mind. It's something many of us, including myself, have experienced unaware. The enemy has used different means to put hooks in our minds. These can be trauma memories, fear, confusion, doubt...anything that has assailed the mind during this time. There is no condemnation over having been 'hooked', but the strong sense was that we had become the BAIT ON A HOOK. Wow, that thought hit me powerfully. Literally like worms on the end of a hook, being used as chum for devouring. If that doesn't challenge you to take EVERY thought captive to the submission of Christ, I'm not sure what would. I don't want to be the hooked bait for anyone to be caught out. We are no ones bait, we are suppose to be fishers of men, yet we are conceding and even enjoying too much, the chum bucket of world domination in false power over world reformation and restoration. (Yes, yes I am a Spongebob fan).
We are going to be lifelong learners, and won't always get things right, but we can choose to see that which we are not seeing in ourselves as we are called higher. There is a real need to shift the spiritual climate right now, in an effective way, not an argumentative way. This is what I felt led to propose. We know that with beginning any health regime, detoxing is often part of the process. I feel that we all need a good mental detoxing to restore from the despairing hopelessness and fatigue of this season, while still feeling engaged. So I'd suggest for the month of July fasting certain things that are actually mentally and emotionally draining, and that have possibly become more of an addiction than realised. For myself as well as certain food fasting, some things I am going to implement is to fast news outlets, prophetic posts other than a specific ministry I feel to track with right now and will go review others after the fast to see how I have tracked, limit social media scrolling and posting, spend time incubating on the things God is saying for right now and to come, blocking being able to receive shared messages, and being aware of shifting conversations that feed into any areas of being baited into lesser thinking. Here are some practical ideas to pray over as options or spark other fasting ideas:
Don't comment on any social media opinion posts, and only discuss opinions in non typed relationship where possible.
Practice some conversations where you don't offer any advice.
Don't go reading comment sections on posts where you are looking for controversy.
Limit news intake. Negative news can be more taxing than we know at the time, and it compounds.
Feel free to use your own platforms to use your voice. Consider turning off comments. This isn't about not discussing, but rather a way you are not looking for approval. If you want to go further, consider not posting all month, or spend a day praying actively into each post theme before posting.
Spend the month asking the Lord in prayer to refine and define your voice and how He wants to direct it.
Spend the month consciously putting on the mind of Christ each day, submitting every thought.
Take notice of all the responses you want to make. Write them down. Ask God what He says about each one.
Ask yourself often, and honestly, do I mostly want to be right about a person or situation that is not my own? Are my prayers based on what I am assuming is right and therefore manipulating spiritual influence?
Ask yourself often, would this be worth my last breath? Would it be important enough?
Try fasting from negative talk or complaining, replace with something positive.
Do you need to fast watching certain tv shows/movies/tiktok etc?
Do you need to fast or limit even reading prophetic words to hear and note down some of your own and then compare afterwards to encourage how you hear God for you?
Examine your areas of decision fatigue.
Ask the Lord if there are any mental hooks, what they are, how to detach and how to restore.
Pray scriptures of the mind, sight and hearing.
Seek to find original creative thoughts in God, not reactive thoughts.
Psalm 27:13-14 AMP
"I would have despaired had I not believed that
I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord."