All posts by LifeTree

My passion is to see every person experience the abundant life available to us right now, to know their truest identity and the Oneness we can experience with the passionate creator of our beings. Married to John, we are blessed with 5 adventuresome sons and a boxer named Zelda. I am presently working on obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.

Standing in the Heat of Conflict

Much of the time when the Bible speaks of warfare, our part is simply to stand and withstand, immovable. In trusting quietness and confidence we engage His strength (Isaiah 30. 15). In one of the most challenging personal & corporate skirmishes I’d encountered, God had someone send me this word–It’s challenging to summon words to express my gratitude, and how it helped me endure through the length of the difficulty, which is one of the functions of prophetic words. Edification, fortification.

My prayer is that in sharing this vision, your spirit and soul will be emboldened and strengthened to stand, and having done all–stand firm. If it helps you, or you have a similar story to share, please leave a comment!

I was simply acting from a place of knowing, a place of rest, being still in my heart and mind. Being unmoved. Knowing that regardless of what was occurring or the backlash that was coming in the natural through people being influenced, that I just needed to stay in this place of stillness, responding and not reacting myself.

Honestly, there were days it felt more than terrible in the natural, but in the spirit, I was learning how to move with God and keep my stance in the heat of the conflict. This is for those of you who may find yourselves there now, or are wondering what you could have done different.

The Lord is good and kind. I didn’t share to prayer chains or ask for prayer about this (not that it would be wrong- I just didn’t feel that was needed) The Lord Himself had this sister contact me.

“I feel I’m supposed to tell you that you need to stand on whatever promises He’s given you. You need to stand.

And I see you, and I’m not used to having visions/dreams like this, but I see you with flaming red hair and you look like you’re almost dancing the way you are blocking every fiery dart that’s coming your way. There’s no effort in it, just that you seem to know exactly where to move ahead of time to the next position. You’re a warrior- that’s how I saw you.

Details of Dream:

It was early morning and I was just coming out of sleep. Picture a light baby blue background. There is one mountain with airy cloud 3 quarters the way up. It stretched horizontally across the mountain in the vision and the mountain was encompassed in this foggy stretch of cloud.

Now this mountain was very high and there was nothing below other than clear blue. You were in the heavens…this definitely represented spirit realm. The top of the mountain was like a small space. 3 ft by 3ft.

Your hair was long and red and orange and it looked like crackling fire. Now there had to be a wind like force as you rotated around combating. I say this because you hair wasn’t dangling but being fanned back with tension, but not enough to remove the wave/crackle.

Now the angle that I could see this from was way higher. You were wayyy below wherever I was being shown from. I interpret this was from the 3rd heaven. A specific” honing in” on this platform. You were in white straight leg cotton pants 6 inches above your ankles.

I saw your right foot briefly fairly detailed. It was a strong foot. I could see when I prayed this morning a few veins around the ankle. I could see the blood in them was light blue but what I got out of this was healthy in a physical sense. Your toes were gripping and moving firmly as you required them to.

No sign of being shaken or challenged. They were still very much female feet and they really had no sign of wear and tear. Like no dead skin. Fresh. I was going to say like baby skin but that’s not accurate.

The word that cut that thought off was-the foot was alive. Like the foot of Eve before she fell. Able to meet the demand easily because you had done this many times and had the skill and precision as a nature above all instinct to do so. Auto pilot is a good word. I did not see any callouses or abrasions. I only recall seeing the right foot briefly in a staggered stance with your right leg forward.

Because I don’t want you to think that this image was intended for you to think about the feet more than the rest of it. Your top was v necked. Not really low but an inch under the collar bones. It had a 2 inch thicker hemming or additional white fabric. 3 quarter length arms were loose but a thick white material too. Like a cross of cotton and potato sac. The bottom of the top would fall just passed the hips. There were small v slits on each side.

I didn’t see much about the 2nd belt you had on but must have been a 4 inch. The first one just tied underneath built in to pants. white. He also gave me scripture but I’ll get into that.

So what I saw coming at you were wooden arrows traveling by a force that wasn’t made to known to me. So the source of where they came from I didn’t see. But you didn’t actually make contact with them and they were snapped in half from my viewpoint looked like 6 inches. So from where you were was nowhere near as close. They came from far enough away that they were moving quickly but you were prepared before they were close enough to be an issue and were already moving into the next position without looking at the next one.

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What I thought was awesome was the way you moved–like fluid and to me….. what this says is the laws of the natural were not applicable to you. They were overridden.

You’re facial expression was focused but not fearful. Just anticipating, really precisely and quickly. Like as if you were being told what to do…not because you were so focused on the arrow. You were skilled, not so much toward the arrows, but skilled on knowing where to be next. You just had to move to the next position. You’re limbs would just respond to your body’s shift. Your force didn’t even need to be that close to the arrow. But no fear at all, and easily breaking these things.”

This is what “warfare” is meant to look like when backlash or an attack comes. Quiet, attuned, confidence. Sometimes it comes because we have done the right thing, not the wrong thing. We stay focused on His voice and the deep knowing– this is faith. Being in faith doesn’t always immediately shift how other’s react; it does shift how we respond. A number of times, someone that would never know my situation, has commented to me that they had an assignment to help me make it through the heat.

Some times we may feel very alone in our battles, yet He has stirred someone out of their sleep to pray, or has someone composing a prophetic encouragement to share. Sometimes we never know at all, due to the sensitive nature of our struggles, that He has someone praying on our behalf. All we may know is we made it through!

I can think of some situations right now that I have prayed for and never breathed a word to the persons involved–my assignment was only to pray, and safeguard the secret that God was keeping for them. He is faithful. And having been made like us, for a time, a compassionate and powerful strength. May you be encouraged and confident in the heat just as in the cool and calm.

 

 

 

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I Have Loved You to Piece/Peace.

It was as a dream. The exception is that it was more than a mere dream. Not even a vision of the night, but an encounter. For those who can believe, I am certain some aspect of me truly was there, even if only in spirit.

Sitting close to the centre in the second row, the speaker was central to my view. One person to my left in the group was debating the truth of the speaker’s words–not to be difficult, but because they didn’t yet know the truth experientially. As for me I sat transfixed, smiling at him as warmth filled my being and nodding my assent.

“I have Loved you to Pie/ace.”

To One Piece, and to Peace. A play on words. The content was about becoming whole, as one piece rather than broken or fragmented, and to peace versus anxiety and fear. I knew it in every way it could be known–I felt whole. This was my reason for smiling and nodding. I am whole. By His constant abiding Love.

Some find it difficult to believe they can ever be whole, they don’t feel whole,

therefore how can they be whole?

Sometimes we are hearing messages that promote this very idea. An idea can be the most dangerous thing if its not true, yet we believe it. If Jesus is telling us that we’re whole, we should question the other information we are receiving; that which is exalting itself against the knowledge of God.

The other person was having a hard time believing his wholeness because his feelings or knowledge were in contradiction to Jesus. It wasn’t Jesus he should have been questioning. Rather that which was contending the truth which would allow him to simply believe Jesus.

I remember a time in my life I felt if one more ounce of pressure was laid on me, I would shatter into millions of pieces. Like glass. Tiny shards and splinters, flying every direction. Trying to hold it all together was an extreme mental and emotional exercise of will and spirit.

Healing wasn’t instant (though for some it is). There was years of injury and malformation, like others born to this planet. It took perseverance and various forms of healing, integrated through various people over time, those with Jesus dwelling in and amongst us.

I began to change, transforming by Love, Truth & Grace…Then came the day, or night, maybe outside of time even, I had been loved to Pie/ace, by Jesus. And as I sat under his teaching, I knew there was even greater things in store.

For every one who is crushed in spirit, for every broken heart or mind, for every one who feels fragmented or even dissociated, Jesus is present to heal you, to make you whole in his love. He is trustworthy, and full of mercy and power. Come sit with him, and he’ll love you to piece/peace.

Today, now, is your healing.

The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent. Psalm 34: 18

Measurement & Evaluation

Not that we have the audacity to

venture to class or even to compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely.

2 Corinthians 10:12

I’ve, perhaps, never been so acutely aware of how measurement obsessed our Western society has become (perhaps the East is just the same). We exist in a continual process of being measured and measuring. Evaluating, judging, weighing. Is it any wonder that safety and trust are major tropes in personal and corporate coping?

Two of the courses I’m currently taking are Measurement and Evaluation, and Famous Feminists in Humanities/History-this is what I notice most. We measure Everything!

Implicitly and explicitly, unawares and aware we are calculating, weighing and judging ourselves, each other, and all we come into contact with. For better or for worse.

It should be no surprise that people daily expend copious amounts of energy in emotional labour the moment, or before, their eyes open each morning. Measuring and being measured in multiple manners daily, year upon year, context to context wears.

Frankly, it can be exhausting. It adds to our sense of condemnation and creates insidious drive to try to present ourselves in some perfect facade.

Where did this less than plucky vein of thought flow from? All of this because of red ink and a B grade with comments that didn’t stroke my sense of accomplishment, (not to mention it’s only one of many “first” assignments and in a course with content and documentation I’m unfamiliar with, and have some regrets toward).

Somehow, momentarily, her red ink and not one positive remark fairly shouted from the page, “Welcome back to being average.” Self translation: I’m a B. Internal mood scale: dropping.

I’m surprised, because identity has been a specific focus for me for a couple years or more, and Ive changed tremendously; so even though I’m sporting a 3.7 GPA and have been on the honors list several times in my education journey, it’s odd how receiving a B can still change my countenance and mood. Even briefly. It makes me aware of implicit standards I have set for myself. Non failure=A, preferably A+.

Oh the dread power of a symbol and color! I’m reevaluating. No, the power is in the inference. That is a primary theme in my measurements course.

We can never really measure a person. We can only attempt to measure very small aspects of their behavior at a certain moment in time. Then we make many inferences through our own lenses and based out of our own learning history. The rest is illusionary.

So this is what I want to say:

Don’t let yourselves feel vulnerable based on a world system that has confounded the variables and added error into the measurement instruments, before you even showed up on the scene. They’re not reliable, nor valid for measuring you as a person.

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t grow, or reach for goals. It just means we can let some pressure off ourselves and others. It means we need to realize we are inferring from often inadequate and only partial information. We never have the whole picture or person in our view.

Our evaluations are a drop in the ocean of reality. But we have been programmed from birth, so, it’s going to take some mindfulness to reboot to the new system.

In Christ we function according to a new operating system; it takes us time to learn these new commands and key functions so it runs smoothly in our day to day realities. But as we learn, everything begins to function better, and we experience Freedom from incessantly measuring and comparing.

That’s why I love the opening verse of this post; I’m reminded that perfect performance is not my call, it’s not the highest gain and I can treat failures and less than perfection as learning instead of my identity. In this I am learning what true wisdom is. Being accepted in the beloved is where we find our life and being. The rest is a mere fiction.

Tightrope

Many of us are experiencing a similar scenario-it takes One to set thousands to flight, but a village surrounds the one- we are one. I’m currently believing with 6 friends for total healing- here’s a snippet of a reality walk with my friend Charispsallo.me below…

Charis: Subject to Change

painting on desk ch IMG_8390Can’t pretend that I am blind
Can’t go back and erase the mind
Naivety and wide-eyed wonder are far from me
But at least now I see
It’s like I’m walking on a tightrope
Stretched across the universe
Way too high to go back from where I came
Overwhelmed at the miles I’ve yet to tame

-from Tightrope by Misty Edwards

When I started writing this blog I thought it was about having an outlet for creative expression and sharing, in a grandmotherly way, how the Lord has enabled me to grow and change. I didn’t know it would be about the faith walk in real time. I’m not done yet. I’ve got a long way to go.

I was happy to share insights and personal victories – after I could see the outcome when the mess was tidied up and the embarrassing trip through doubt and emotional upheaval faded…

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PEOPLE WHO HOLD SPACE WILL HEAL THE CHURCH

I love this- may we all be so…

When I married my husband, he’d just cut off his dreads and was an avid rock climber. He married me– a girl from a small town, comfortable in everything that I knew, in everything that I’d been and was going to be.
As Johnny Cash says, we got married in a fever, and before we knew exactly what we’d done, we were home from our honeymoon, beginning the long journey toward figuring out who we were–together.
When he married me, he loved who I was, but also saw who I could one day become, and he held that vision steady. And it wasn’t a vision for what he thought I was supposed to be, but a vision still unknown to him, held by the mystery of God…continued below

Source: PEOPLE WHO HOLD SPACE WILL HEAL THE CHURCH

waking up

My heart lurched from still to tears and prayer in .5 seconds… here is Hope for our slumberers,our sons and daughters waking up, by Laurie from the Jane Doe Chronicles

thejanedoechroniclesdotcom

it was a saturday morning. her son slept in while she rose early to have coffee and time with father god. it was her usual routine nearly every day, coffee and worship before anything else.

she went into the kitchen to make breakfast for the two of them. buster the cat took his place on a stool opposite her across the counter. he liked to observe what his ‘mummy’ did in the kitchen. she was the only mum he’d ever known, the first living creature he saw when he opened his eyes as a kitten.

with breakfast going on the stove, she called to her growing teenager to come downstairs. it wasn’t long after her call she heard his footsteps on the stair treads. his face was ashen when he got to the main floor. he was upset, nearly in tears.

“honey, whatever is the matter?” “mom, i had two dreams…

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God Speaks: Perspectives on Hearing God’s Voice – Now Available by Praying Medic

My generous friends, Praying Medic and his wife Denise, have collaborated on abook project with 27 writers. I’m blessed and fortunate to have been included in the project! Here’s Praying Medic….

“For the last 2 years, I’ve been collaborating with 27 of by closest friends on a project. The idea was to put together a book showcasing the many different ways in which God speaks. I’m happy to announce that the book God Speaks is now available. Here’s an excerpt from the book that was written by Matt Hallock.”

“God’s voice is near. It is accessible. It is ready. It is intimate.

The first time I remember hearing God speak to me was during the summer before my senior year of high school. It had been about six years since I had last seen my dad, and I was depressed, feeling alone in my struggle to become a man. Without my dad, I was afraid of life, afraid of failing, afraid of being found out as a phony Christian. I was under so much accusation from the enemy, and I believed most of it.

But I had made a habit of spending time seeking God. Granted, I did so out of desperation, trying to earn my sonship. I hoped that if I asked enough, He would take the time to invest in me the way my dad had not. But God, not caring as much about me getting it right as He did about being close with me, met me there…”

Read more here and find the link to the book! prayingmedic.com

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The Word Opens Up Encounters

By faith we inherit…Therefore inheriting the promises is the outcome of faith and depends entirely on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace, to make it stable and valid and guarenteed to all his descendants… Romans 4 (Amplified).

Grace, Faith and Promise

By grace through a promise we receive. Takes a load of performance pressure off doesn’t it? Whatever point of our journey, God is anticipating using our experiences as opportunities to reveal Himself to us that we might know Him- not just doctrinally, but experientially. One of my favorite things is noticing a verse or paragraph and then experientially understanding it, or having some encounter with God and then finding a verse that affirms it. This is a story about that. Encountering God experientially after meditating on a passage of scripture for a time- Romans 4.

Singing a Love Song

I love to sing. More to the point I love to worship through song. Since I was a child, who discovered she could carry a tune and do a half decent rendition of Dolly Parton’s Jolleen, I have sung my way through life’s joys and sorrows. I grew up on Country and later imagined myself singing Jazz and Blues in the nightclubs (it was the only place I knew where crooners would be welcome).

To hone my craft, I joined school and church choirs, moved on to duets and finally “solos” then on to weddings, christian ladies brunches, and funerals. For a very short stint, I was the singer for a band called Sweet and Nasty– I was the sweet, and other members were the nasty. We had one gig at Klondike Days (K-Days) in the Christian Motorcycle Group’s tent and then I faded into obscurity. I was later invited to join another band that had some small time tour plans but by that time I had a beautiful 5 month old son, and my priorities had shifted. My band days were behind me.

At some point I decided my voice had been given by God and belonged to purposes that put the spotlight on Him alone, so I never did croon the jazz and blues as I had dreamed. But He was attentive to my heart desires and opened up a place for me to lead worship in the church, something that I had prayed secretly for but had not voiced. I was delighted! This is the background upon which my personal encounter with Him became staged…

Trial and Pain

Somewhere between singing and diapers I began to experience pain on the right side of my jaw. I ignored it as long as possible until I began getting headaches as well and sharp biting pains that would move from my jaw up the side to the top of my head, and my jaw began to click when it opened and closed. A little trauma at the dentist as a child made me anxious-avoidant but the pain became too frequent to ignore, so I made an appointment. The x-rays showed my wisdom teeth on both sides were turned and impacted. One tooth kept trying to move up into place but because of its orientation it was pushing against the molar in front of it instead. This was what caused the jaw and headache issues.

At the time I didn’t know much about the authority and power given to believers for intervention or how miracles came about, so I made my next appointment with the specialist, and began scrimping to save the cost of the surgery, around $1500 dollars. The day arrived and the doctor came out to speak to me as a preview to surgery. He asked a number of medical questions and what I did for hobbies. I shared with them that I was a singer, I sang in the church and a few other places.

He left and returned after a short examination of the x-rays with some unhappy news. One of the teeth was oriented in such a way that it appeared to go through the nasal cavity. This would mean that when they removed it, it would change my airways and my sound when I sang. Basically it might ruin my singing. Further, because it was an awkward surgery, it would be about $300 more than they had quoted me. I’ve heard this is the same reason Barbara Streisand chose to leave her nose as it was, the nose or the song. If it’s true, I’d say she chose well. Wind Beneath My Wings is a great song.

Laying it Down, Choosing Faith, Believing

This became a hard decision to make in a matter of minutes. I didn’t have more money- not in paper or plastic. And I loved to sing- I couldn’t imagine not singing. But this pain was becoming somewhat debilitating and I couldn’t see myself trying to live with it any longer. As I sat in the waiting room I turned to the Lord and offered Him back His gift I had used for His glory, as best I knew how. I said simply, “You gave me this ability to sing, and I really don’t want to lose it–but this pain is too much. I’m going to have the surgery and I’ll leave it to you whether I can still sing or not when I wake up.” I had an expectancy, and I was willing to entrust it all to Him.

An Encounter with my Beloved

I remember waking up from my own cry feeling drugged and nauseous, the nurse assuring me of where I was, that I was okay, but I must “breathe deeper”. Others had come after me and left before me, and I was having a difficult time waking up from the anesthetic. Yet before the fog lifted from me and consciousness returned, I experienced something that feels just as profound to me now as it did in that moment. It’s a little hard to describe, but I’ll attempt it and hope you can imagine how it would feel to you.

The thick cloaking presence of God was moving over and around me- I imagine like in Genesis, where it says the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the deep. Simultaneously I heard the most masculine, deep, strong with authority, voice speaking to me saying, “Abraham believed God”. Then I woke with a start by my own cry of pain. Please, close your eyes for a moment and imagine the sense of God’s spirit hovering and moving over you and hearing a deep voice speak the Word you have been studying back to you. It is a sense of sacred, of holy, and of power. I was in wonder and awe. I still am.

The Word Is Reality

I no longer would merely muse about Romans 4, and what that might look like in my life. I had a living encounter with my Lord, who using a short phrase and a foreknowing of circumstance chose to personally reveal Himself and His word to me in a deeper way. When I was conscious enough, the dentist informed me that although it had been scrupulously close to the nasal cavity, the tooth was not through it; I could continue to sing to, and about, the one I love. As an odd sort of bonus, a cyst was found on one of the teeth which would allow them to file a type of claim and reduce the cost of the surgery back to the original amount. I was given more than I thought to ask for.

Mediating on the Word sets us up for personal encounters with Him. Believing Him is our most basic need, and our glory. Years later I’m still singing, sharing how faithful He is to watch over His word to perform it, and that He is no respecter of persons. He will meet with each of us and perform His word.

Father, You are amazingly Good. We anticipate meeting you in both typical and unusual places and circumstances. The everyday life is a doorway to encountering your loving kindness. Thank you that your written words are gateways to meeting You, the living Word. Help us to honor your Word, make it alive to each of us, that we may intimately know you, and love you more.

 

Attraction, Authority, and Leadership  

Attraction, Authority, and Leadership

Part 4 of Secret Longings, Confusing Feelings & Paths to Healing

It was a confession that sparked this sexuality miniseries. This was the catalyst, a misunderstanding of attraction was crushing a life, and one conversation unlocked the door to freedom…     James 5: 16; Hebrews 12:15-16     (Note: embedded green links lead to more info)

Scenario
A person finds they’re attracted to a leader; a leader finds they’re attracted to one they oversee. It’s not deliberate, and one or neither, is unattached.

When such an “accidental” attraction occurs, the experience is likely to draw the involved parties into any number of reactions. Here are  four common ones:

1) a superlative leap of assumption that the issue is immediately identifiable as _____. (often lust, including for females)

2) an attempt to endure a secret torment, trying to understand how to shut down the sense of attraction, while simultaneously trying to maintain the relationship in a proper manner.

3) sabotage of the relationship due to the conflict, abdicate position or function, isolating in the process.

4) engage in an emotional and/or physical affair.

Listening to the self-despising cries of confessors who have dared to risk feeling vulnerable enough to disclose their heart sickening secret, I’ve realized we don’t often think to stop and ask ourselves the right questions. Rather people engage in all kinds of judgments–self and otherwise–and may misinterpret the situation. Feeling stuck, and perhaps ashamed, many self-incriminate and further entrench themselves through secrecy.

Whatever is hidden cannot heal. What ever is exposed can be healed. (Hosea 7:7)

The Origin of the Attraction
So what about lust? Maybe, but even if lust is a part of the issue it isn’t the whole of it. Lust alone is not usually the reason people find themselves in an ‘accidental attraction,’ even though it’s often the first causation they may identify.

People tend to compartmentalize many things. It seems that if we can identify anything at all with a label, we will name it, blame it and conclude it the end of a matter; (self) judgement served.

However, the problem we may first identify is seldom the real issue that needs discovery.

For example some people will identify with having an “anger problem”. “I get so mad I can’t control it.” In this case, the real problem may be an issue of self-control, or fear. Related, when an inappropriate attraction activates one’s conscience, a sense of lust may only be a signifier of something more covert. When one’s conscience is triggered, it functions as an alert of being in a position of choice (a way out). We are created with a governance code written into the essence of our beings, and when we are in a position of choice which might violate our conscience, or has, we receive notice. Some experience this as a sense of guilt, fear, or conviction (much may influence how individuals experience this notification; more on that in the next post).

We are tri-part beings. Along with our spirit, our minds and our physiology work in unison  (psychosexually & psychosocially). Does a thought cause a physical response? Does a physiological response cause a thought? What is really happening?  As we go through developmental phases all our parts intertwine and work together; for better or worse. At each stage our mind develops memories in conjunction with emotions and physiological responses. As psychologists and neurologists are fond of saying,

What fires together wires together.

When these connections happen in an appropriate way, time and place, healthy bonds and unions are created in a experiential, purposed design. Sometimes though, connections occur in confusing ways and can cause us to respond in a manner that we don’t understand.

These unsolicited experiences can trigger either avoidance or engagement. The contexts of such experiences matter. The conclusions we draw are crucial to our outcomes.

Often an attraction develops within a power imbalance relationship. For example, people who have been sexually abused or taken advantage of, even through suggestion, are likely to encounter confusing experiences again later in life, especially with someone they see as an authority figure or a leader. Why? 

Something got cross-wired back a ways and now the connections are firing at an inappropriate time and place.  Research shows a physiological response does not have to be premeditated or conscious to occur. Without recognizing that a misfire is occurring, and that it can be rewired, people often panic, wrestle inwardly, or perhaps fall into an emotional or physical adulterous affair.

Other people may get inappropriately involved trying to fulfill a genuine need in a ‘confused’ manner. Take for instance the young woman experiencing confusion about her identity and developing sexuality; a married leader invests in her spiritual growth which she interprets as attraction. Maybe she has “daddy” wounds (or has been abused) and the person in leadership that she looks to for guidance unexpectedly erupts all types of confusing feelings and thoughts.

If she doesn’t express them she’ll likely not resolve them, repeating a cycle of vulnerability, and if she does express them, she may be judged, rejected, or used. What’s a girl to do? She needs the leader to be strong and wise, to separate the precious from the common, but noticing her reactions, he may have changed focus himself.

What’s a leader to do? Everyone has their kryptonite don’t they? Perhaps he’s become dissatisfied in his marriage, maybe there’s not much intimacy left and he has needs; Western culture tends to be needs driven. Or perhaps it’s more of an identity issue for him–fulfilling an emotional aspect, and receiving the attention makes him feel appreciated again or masculine. Thoughts come, physiology responds, the struggle begins.

Who can he confide in? Maybe the first person he should confide in is the last person he feels he can– his wife.

Perhaps his wife has her own identity issues, trying to understand her own inhibitions; maybe she even did everything right, saving herself for the wedding night. She should be free to love, but the restrictive hard wiring that shaped her growing up paradoxically short circuits her “drive” and how she feels about herself, and truthfully, she is just as disappointed as he. But, maybe her leader/boss seems more understanding than her husband and she finds herself emotionally involved. The nuances are subtle and deceptive; people become collateral damage.

These types of scenarios may sometimes involve what some call Transference or Counter-transference, old concepts in counseling relationships.

Basically, transference occurs when something of one’s past is re-experienced in a non-conscious way, and the associated feelings and attributions are projected into a present relationship with an authority figure or someone who reminds them of the person from their past. For some people, a caring encounter with a leader or authority figure may be one of the few times in their life they have experienced a genuine and proper relationship, which may feel confusing. In reverse, a person in a role of authority or power projects their experiences onto someone who is in a dependent role (counter-transference).

Unaddressed, this distorted relationship interference may become a clash of emotional reactions without much reason involved; thus being aware of such possibilities and discerning such vulnerabilities may make the difference.

A further type of relational confusion may be related to a good kind of desire. One time when my dad was doing a controlled burn on the farm, I realized I couldn’t see any fire as the burning was occurring along the roots underground; but there was a lot of smoke. As I gazed into the smoke trying to picture the fire burning beneath, Holy Spirit began to express the confusion people experience in attraction to leadership (or reverse) is often due to confusing Godly desire with male-female (or other) attraction. As odd as it may sound, people genuinely perceive the fire and smoke of the Spirit of God dwelling within another (the temple: body, soul, spirit), yet mistake it for attraction to the person, because their discernment is off. The presence of God is truly attractive, Jesus is the desire of nations. With proper understanding, a person will draw closer to God, recognizing it’s Him they are attracted to–sometimes a person simply needs some gentle redirection.

As a last, but not exhaustive, common scenario: “something wicked this way comes”. Many years ago I sat across from a pastor who brought up another church member in conversation. He confided, rather unexpectedly, his wish that she would allow him more access to her inner world: he “only wanted to be a Father to her, he saw her as a daughter.” I had no reason to disbelieve him except, I knew by the Holy Spirit in that instant that this was not the true desire this man had for this woman. However, I didn’t yet know how to use such prophetic knowledge and approach him about it–nor was I sure he even realized the true nature of his confession.

So instead of empathetically confronting him in that moment, I went home and prayed with compassionate understanding. Although I couldn’t bring myself to confront the pastor (truthfully, I wasn’t sure it was my place to confront and I was also afraid of his reaction), I eventually did share with the woman (who had no knowledge of his inclinations at the time nor interest in him in that manner) and she confirmed that he had confessed it to her at some point with a witness present; and the relationship was corrected.

Unfortunately, not before there was a rippling fallout within the church, because in this situation there was more at work than one man’s confusion in trying to meet his needs or experiencing counter-transference. It became evident as more and more marriages began to experience tensions and rifts as pastoral advisement began to include suggestions of separation, and other poor counsel.

Men began to suspect something amiss, have their authority challenged or usurped and feel emasculated. Too many stories were coming out to be coincidence. It got rather ugly. Some call it Jezebel (Rev 2:20) or by other names, but when it shows up, you know it. This “thing” took advantage of weak areas of the pastor and the people. And I deeply regretted my choice to stay silent.

In this case, by not speaking to the pastor, I had allowed the influences of this spirit to cause lot of damage I only became fully aware of later. This could have been avoided if I had accepted responsibility and direction from the Holy Spirit who was prompting me to take courage and act in a preventive manner; to function as a type of gatekeeper. Every person has a functional purpose in the body of Christ. It’s His permission we have to function for the good of all members.

Love Confronts–gently, humbly and with mercy. We may not appreciate such confrontations in the moment, but it’s  proof of being loved (Hebrews 12). We all need people who will love us in such a way. It’s His Kindness that leads us to repentance.(a change of mind and direction,  see link below for more clarity)

Repentance is a Gift

 Prophetic Function

A word of wisdom to those inexperienced in prophetic function: There are times we will be required, through obedience to the Lord, to sacrifice our sense of “self preservation” to protect other people. We need to be willing to take some risks of obedience and be willing to own the process. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s worth it as we may not be privy to, or realize what is at stake until later. This doesn’t guarantee people will listen, but you will have done your part, and God will teach and restore you for any troubles that may come of it.

Another hesitancy people may face is having something in their own past they feel disqualifies them for being a messenger or to intervene in a same/similar situation–but think about it…the best person for such a role could be someone who can identify, who knows the ins and outs of a matter and will come with a humble, wise and understanding heart. Luke 7:47 …her sins, many, are forgiven her–because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little…   The scarred ones become the healers.

Finally and equally important, there may be situations that God reveals but does ask you to be silent and pray only. Knowing which action is the correct one requires sensitivity to Holy Spirit. If you’re really unsure which it is, confer with someone who is seasoned in prophetic function– you can give a scenario, you don’t have to spill the whole thing with names if you’re questioning your information or senses. If you make a mistake, learn from it and move on; don’t allow yourself to shut down and stop functioning prophetically over a mistake. Abandoning your function helps no one, and gives opportunity for other harmful things to occur.

What’s the difference? And what to do?     

Some people, due to their past experiences, age, social or economic position, have a created confusion within them to the point they aren’t sure what to do and end up involved to some degree. It may not even be what they want, but they are as a city broken down, without walls ~Proverbs 25: 28~ e.g. no sense of self-autonomy or self-control; and there are those who will misuse or abuse their positions of power to the detriment of others. People in this situation will need third party involvement to help them get disentangled.

Still others enter a crisis of conscience and do all they know to end the issue (real or misinterpreted), even going so far as to sabotage a relationship and isolate. It may be a faulty and fear based solution, but it’s their best attempt at a change of mind. They may simply be mistaken in their assessments of the situation, such as thinking they are lusting vs being attracted to God within a person, or being influenced by a spirit. They need assistance to understand and to receive the truth. Being able to share with a trustworthy person is a step to freedom and restoration. Hiding or simply withdrawing usually creates unneeded distress and keeps the person feeling vulnerable to a similar scenario later.

Others may be unaware of their compromise; they may be temporarily blinded or in denial. And some people are okay with indiscretions; their behavior is self-focused and needs driven. Their conscience may or may not bother them. Both types of people may need someone to gently confront them in love. Confrontation has gotten a bad rap, but this is due to misunderstanding it.

Confrontation should always be empathetic and for the benefit of the other, not our own “ego”.

Whether you are a in a role of leadership or one led, and you find yourself experiencing a faulty attraction or compromising in inappropriate ways, the best thing to do to is reveal the situation to someone you trust who is spiritually minded, has mature integrity, and who will not simply brush it off or encourage you in it. There are trustworthy people who will understand and help you get disentangled (even if you are under threat, e.g. a Cult), while remaining sensitive to how people may be effected.

There are various reasons relationships can start to become unbalanced or confusing, even within the Church. Often people tend to think the worst and make assumptions, when in fact there may be information missing. Discovering such information can help bring solutions.

If you happen to be an observer and think someone may need help, or believe you’ve heard Holy Spirit, be willing to take a risk (Shamar). Offer to listen non-judgementally and involve only those necessary. Galatians 6:1-6 and 2 Corinthians 2:5-8 & 11

Coming up, Part 5, YOU Ruined My Sex Life, the final part of Secret Longings, Confusing Feelings & Paths to Healing