Saturday, November 26, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Emotional Healing & Maturity

During this--my--journey of healing I, until recently, constantly held onto one assumption. I had assumed that the majority of adults in my life possessed some degree, if not a large degree of emotional maturity but because of autism, I didn't. My primary motivation to be healed was to obtain this elusive maturity so I could grow into the kind of mind I hoped it was possible to possess. 

I'm here to tell you, my autistic friends, that my assumption was 100% wrong. First of all, maturity is not a product of the mind. It is a product of our emotions, and our emotions cannot change if our spirit is in need of healing. Most people do not recognize these things about themselves so the second part of my assumption--that the majority of individuals in my life possess emotional maturity and I don't because of autism--was also flat out wrong.

Emotional maturity is marked by a willingness to love. It's not necessarily measured in how successful we are in loving because learning to love and walking in it is a continual process. Although it gets better with time, loving perfectly doesn't happen until we get Home. Our efforts must be empowered by the Holy Spirit for one thing, and additionally God allows us to fail at our attempts to love others in order to teach us lessons about Himself that are more valuable than gold!

But the second mark of emotional maturity is a willingness to forgive. And that needs to be followed by a willingness to give up the right to be offended. Jesus was never offended by anyone. I'm not saying this is an easy road to walk. But I'm saying it is a necessary one--to desire to be like Him and to walk in His ways. 

You've heard it a million times--you know what the fruit of Holy Spirit is: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Many Christians I know at the moment are anxious to show the world how spiritually gifted they are. I implore you, however, to be anxious to show how much fruit of the Holy Spirit you want to see released into this world through you.

Pursue the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Especially gentleness right now. The Holy Spirit gives us power, but the definition of meekness, which Jesus was and is, is "controlled power." We want to use this power--the power of God's love to destroy the works of the enemy which is precisely what Jesus came to this earth to do. We are meant to do what He did. And to do these things, we must always walk in love.

The need for emotional healing never ends. I don't care how much prayer you've received for your wounds. I don't care how old you are. I don't care about your professional background. I don't even care if you are a healing prayer minister (prayer ministers are usually in greater need of healing than those to whom they minister), I'm telling you today this journey to healing never, ever ends.

You cannot love if you are emotionally broken any more than a bucket can hold water if it has a hole in it. 

Let God heal your wounds. He can. He wants to. He loves you. 



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Social Life

Last week when for the first time I learned all about weak social ties, it was truly a moment when it took everything I had not to facepalm myself. 

Why? Because for literally all of my life, if another individual didn't feel like a friend to me, I rejected the relationship. It wasn't honest or so it seemed. Yet, these casual acquaintances are apparently the primary fuel to the networking fire that pretty much keeps life moving on a forward track for all of us. 

Sigh. Even after stumbling upon the revelation of this type of human interaction, I still think I have issues with it. Not too long ago, one of my own neighbors introduced himself to me and in less than two minutes, he told me he wrote a book, pastors a church he planted himself, and is friends with Bill Gates. And of course, he concluded the conversation by handing me his business card. 

You might chalk up my ambivalence to these types of interactions to autism (my ignorance of them--yes, but my ambivalence--no), but it isn't. The truth is, I'm kind of an idealist Actually, I'm an INFP to be exact. And I love the way Jesus taught us how to relate to one another. In today's world I can't help but think that when we look at each other all we see are dollar signs or some other means of personal gain for ourselves. Jesus, on the other hand, saw right into the heart of every person He ever met, and His response was always the same. He loved. And His love healed. That's how I want to be. 

There are some benefits to networking. I can't dismiss those. But there are also benefits to having things like sacred spaces where no business cards or shop talk is allowed. I long for the days where I can sit quietly in the sanctuary of a church and bow my head in prayer without hearing the latest on the stock market from the people behind me. Silence is golden, and we need to rediscover its worth. 

While I'm glad I am learning to get the inside scoop on how we all relate to each other, and in the future I won't be so quick to ditch the fake feeling "friends," I just want to encourage you to do a little more than working on the branding of your own name, building up your online presence, and handing out the business cards. The truth is if you want to receive, you need to learn how to give. And if you want to be lifted up, you need to learn how to humble yourself. That's the backwards logic of the Kingdom of God. Live by it and you will never fail to walk in blessing. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What Happens During Healing Prayer

It occurred to me today that maybe some of you, if not many of you, would like to receive healing prayer but haven't because you aren't sure of the process. 

Protocol probably varies from ministry to ministry, but I can describe the process with which I'm most familiar. 

In a nutshell, prayer ministry starts with a phone call. You find a church or para-church ministry and contact them to make an appointment. There is no cost for the appointment, but some organizations require you to fill out an intake sheet (a questionnaire of sorts) so they can kind of get to know you before they ever see you. Personally, I like the intake sheets. They are a big time saver.

The intake sheets contain questions that ask about your nuclear and extended family. That is because patterns of illness tend to run in families. For example my father had diabetes and died at age 59. His father also had died diabetes and died at age 59. Also, cognitive issues have been prevalent in my father's family line for at least three generations. These types of patterns are pertinent and should be addressed during ministry. 

After you fill out the sheet and email it back to whoever sent it to you, then comes the actual appointment. A prayer ministry that cares about accountability will always have a team of two people doing the praying. The atmosphere should be quiet, inviting, and peaceful. 

My prayer appointments have always been about 90 minutes long, but for about the first 20 to 30 minutes, you will be asked quite a few questions. Basically you are sitting through an interview, and while you are giving your responses, both team members are listening to you but are also listening to the Holy Spirit for His wisdom so they will know how to pray for you. 

When that part is over, that's when the praying begins! Again, it's typically a quiet, peaceful process. No one doing the praying should ever shout, move suddenly, or touch you inappropriately. Prayer ministers should let you know if they feel led to hold your hand, give you a hug, etc., and ask for your permission first. I rarely say this, as I don't like the expression, but truly during a prayer session it's pretty much all about you. Your safety and your healing come first. It's all that matters.

Healing can and often does take place even as prayer is still continuing, but in my case, that has never, ever happened! When I first began receiving prayer, I used to feel disappointed and a little jealous of others who got noticeably zapped by the Holy Spirit during their own ministry appointments. But then I would go home and about three days later my own healing would quietly appear, pretty much without fail. 

Through that (having to wait and return home empty-handed so to speak) I learned that healing is not dramatic at all. It's actually kind of boring and often hard to initially notice to the point I can't help but wonder if that's why people don't really want to be healed. It doesn't draw attention the way injury does. That may be not be true, but still...the thought has crossed my mind a time or two... 

So there you have it. If you want to be well, you know the first step. Don't wait. Pick up the phone and change your life. The Holy Spirit is waiting for you...