Spiritual Neurosis

We have compassion on people acting badly when we understand their motivation. Not that we put up with it, but then we can respond from a spirit of love rather than from self-righteousness (which doesn’t help anybody). So if we want to speak life to a lost and dying world, it’s important to understand the difference between spiritual psychosis and spiritual neurosis. It’s important to check what’s under the hood.

I heard a pastor once (sorry, don’t remember who), explain the difference between psychotic and neurotic people like this.

A psychotic person believes 2 + 2 = 5. With all their being. They are absolutely, totally convinced. Nothing can persuade them otherwise. They have swallowed the lie hook, line, and sinker. They believe a false reality as if it were true. And they live accordingly, not understanding that the negative consequences in their lives are the result of believing a lie.

A neurotic person, on the other hand, knows 2 + 2 = 4, but they don’t like it. They really wish 2 + 2 equaled 5, and they may even pretend it does, but deep down they know it’s false. They are not friends with the truth. In fact, though they know what the truth is, they hate it for being true.

In my humble opinion, it’s the spiritually neurotic people who are the ones that get angry when sensitive spiritual subjects come up.

A spiritually psychotic atheist will just laugh at you for believing in God. Your belief won’t bother them, and they might even feel sorry for you. But a spiritually neurotic atheist will get mad at you for bringing up the subject. They’re trying as hard as they can to pretend the truth they know is true is not true, and you popping their fantasy bubble isn’t helping. They’ve spent years building that bubble, and they don’t like to be reminded about how poorly it’s working. Spiritual neurosis.

Same with abortion. The angriest pro-choicers in the room are often post-abortive themselves, trying desperately to pretend they did nothing wrong. But their wounding keeps getting in the way, and you as a pro-lifer are not helping them ignore it. Spiritual neurosis.

Often, at the core of spiritual neurosis is some degree of spiritual psychosis. We’re believing a lie that we don’t even realize we’re believing. These can be hard to weed out because we’ve believed the lie for so long it’s become a core assumption deep in our being.

The goodness of God to us is he doesn’t let those things lie there forever. Believing the lie (or pretending to) often gives us some relief from pain temporarily. But when the season comes where God wants to heal us, what worked before stops working. That’s the grace of God in our life, to get us to deal with it, go through the pain to his healing on the other side.

Does this resonate? Have you been, or are you now, going through a season where what worked before is no longer working? What is the truth God’s teaching you? Tell us in the comments or shoot us an email. And please share on Facebook if you think this would help someone else.

A Godly, Sabbath Rest

I’m learning to take a Sabbath rest. God’s teaching me about this. I’m learning to take a regular godly rest.

Honestly, it’s not going very well. My spirit gets it. My heart leaps at the idea, but can’t articulate to my brain what it looks like. So my brain is confused. What am I gonna do, just sit and watch the grass grow all Sunday afternoon? Or crash & take a nap? Although the brief Sunday afternoon naps I occasionally take really help me physically, my brain has this nagging feeling that a Sabbath rest is something more.

I heard this teaching from Sheryl Dudek at a recent ARLN (Abortion Recovery Leaders Network). This really has brought me some Sabbath rest clarity and I pray it does the same for you if you’re as confused as I am.

We all know this verse:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. – Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

Did you know, in the Greek, the two words translated “rest” in that verse are different?

The first “rest”, as in, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you REST, means “refreshment.” It’s not just the absence of doing anything. It’s doing something that refreshes you. What charges your battery? That’s the Sabbath rest God has hard-wired you for.

The second rest, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find REST for your souls, means “recreation.” What’s fun? Some things are fun but exhausting. What’s fun for you and also energizes you, re-charging your battery?

Wow. That puts a whole, new spin on taking a Sabbath rest for me. It’s not the absence of doing anything, which for me would be incredibly boring and not restful at all, but instead it’s doing something fun that re-charges me.

For me, it’s going on a walk or a hike, especially through the woods. Or playing tennis. Or reading a book for enjoyment or enrichment rather than for information. I’m going to do one of these activities on Sunday.

What activities fall into this category for you? How do you take a Sabbath rest? Tell us in the comments. Your story is valuable to the whole community. And please share on social media if you think this would help someone else.

The Pig I Have

A rural pastor was out visiting his peeps. In the course of chatting with a local farmer, he asked him, “If you had two cows, would you give one of them to the Lord?”

“Why, of course, Pastor. Absolutely. Wouldn’t even think twice about it,” responded the farmer.

The pastor asked another question. “If you had two sheep, would you give one of them to the Lord?”

Again, the farmer answered confidently and without hesitation, “Pastor, you know I would. I love Jesus and when he blesses me with a second sheep, of course he can have it.”

The pastor asked one more question, “If you had two pigs, would you give one of them to the Lord?”

This time, though, the farmer scowled and said, “Now just hold on a dadgum minute there, Pastor, that there’s not fair. You darn-good-and-well know I have two pigs.”

Sound familiar? Do we do that? Do we promise God what we hope he blesses us with, while withholding what he already has? I bet we do it more than we think, without even realizing it.

I’ll tithe once I can pay my bills. The truth is, you will never be able to pay your bills until you tithe.

I’ll spend time with the Lord once my schedule settles down. You will never be able to spend the time you don’t have with the Lord until you spend the time you do have.

I’ll take a Sabbath with the Lord once I get everything done. You will never get everything done until you start taking Sabbaths.

God doesn’t want the cow or the sheep we don’t have. He wants the pig we do have. God doesn’t want the 2 hours a day we don’t have to spend with him. He wants the 15 minutes a day we do have to spend with him but are choosing not to.

So often we take for granted what we have. We think, “Oh I’ll serve God when ________.” Fill in the blank for you. But he doesn’t want our promise to serve him later. He really doesn’t. He wants our obedience now, with what he’s already given us.

Jesus put it this way. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10). And remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30)? The servants who were faithful with little were given more, and the servant who was not faithful with little, even what he had was taken from him.

So it’s really an opportunity to bless ourselves. Out of God’s great grace and mercy for us, he will never be give us more if we’re not faithful with what we already have. If we aren’t faithful with what we already have, more would destroy us, so out of his great love for us, he withholds it.

Ask the Lord, Is there anything I’m unconsciously withholding from you? Is there anything you’re consciously withholding? Will you go on this journey with us and offer it to the Lord, take the chance, and see where he leads it? It may not go where you expect, but it’ll be good.

So what do you think? Will you give the Lord the pig you have? Tell us in the comments and please share on social media (convenience buttons below). We look forward to hearing from you.

What’s in Your Hand?

“What’s in your hand?” That’s what God asked Moses (see Exodus 4:2). God was calling Moses to do the impossible – return to Egypt and lead a couple million people from slavery to freedom. And Moses was trying to get out of it.

Moses was holding his shepherd’s staff. God showed Moses how to do signs and wonders with his staff; specifically, at this point, how to turn it into a snake and back again.

Now I’ve heard teachings about the theology around why it had to be a staff, spiritually what that’s symbolic of, and all that. And that’s all well and good. But I think there’s a simpler reason why God used Moses’ staff.

As a shepherd, it’s what Moses happened to be holding. And God was like, “That’ll do.”

It’s a good thing Moses wasn’t, say, a professional bowler. He’d have been holding a bowling ball and God would’ve turned it into an armadillo or something. It wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive as a big ‘n’ bad snake.

It was as much a sign to Moses that God was with him as to the people God was sending him to. God told Moses the people would believe him (see Exodus 3:18). It was Moses that had the doubts. Moses was the one who took the convincing. Moses was the one God had to sell. Sometimes others believe in our calling more than we do. Sometimes God’s toughest sales job about our calling is to us. And he uses the things he’s already given us that we take for granted.

What makes your heart sing? What does your heart gravitate to? What’s in your hand? God wants to use it to do something extraordinary in your life, for his Kingdom purposes and the benefit of many people.

What’s in your hand? God wants to use what’s common and ordinary to you to accomplish the miraculous calling he has on your life. Are you willing to let God turn it into something? Tell us in the comments. And please share on social media (share buttons are below for your sharing convenience) if this blessed you. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.