Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Give Jesus Your Rubik's Cube (or how to cast your cares on God)

So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. - 1 Peter 5:6-7, MSG

Last week, a pastor friend inadvertently told me what I do when I write.  He was telling me about a couple of trends in the church and mentioned one called "practical theology."  Ever have those moments when a cathedral bell goes off in your head?

Those two words, practical theology, rung through my soul.

Not that I'm into definitions because those most assuredly get me into trouble (especially when given to me by others.)  Still, when you get a moment of clarity, you gotta realize and be grateful to the One who gave it to you.  I'm a practical theologian. (Don't twist into "practically-a-theologian" although that might work too).

Practical theology is essentially what I'm doing here.  Taking the study of God and making it applicable, useful to living life.  That's my calling.  That's what I study.  That's what I'm passionate about.  Jesus has given me purpose, direction, value.  Because of that, I want others to find their own in Him.

Still, if I'm being real, there are days when people "step on my happy,"* and I don't want to practice what I preach anymore.

There is an increasingly popular form of prayer - which I'm not sure is really "new" - but is extremely powerful.  It is called Theophostic Prayer and the way I understand it, in agreement with others, you go back to the moment in time (usually childhood) when the wrong idea or the lie was supplanted for God's truth in your life.  You let Christ remove the hurt and pain and then you let Him speak His reality into your soul (mind, will and emotions).

I hope to do my own official exploration through Serenity Retreat in Houston soon.  Until then, I've had others who've been through it teach me some basics it and applied it in just a few instances in praying for others.  I'm not trained in it so I mostly let the Spirit do the talking.  This type of prayer is especially for adults.  Why?  

Because those lies, the deceptions and unwanted untruths we assimilate as children when we don't have the maturity to process life...the enemy of our souls jumps on like white on rice.  Those ideas grow into identities and yokes we can't shake with out the Lord's strong power.  Theophostic prayer leads to freedom and deliverance - and often healing.  It is a way to reverse the cycle of negative self-talk that leads to self-hatred, self-abuse and in some extreme cases, self-mutilation.  It is part of the three-part command in Matthew 22:37-39 (that I'm writing a book on... Love God.  Love Yourself.  Love Your Neighbor.

We can't really love God's way until we permanently put down the baggage we've been carrying (for way too long).  Whether we picked it up or let others load us down, we have to get rid of it at some point to get truly healthy.  I'm unequivocally convinced God wants us - His people - to live freely, lightly, unbound by the world.  Why would we want to be otherwise?  It's the abundant life work - digging in with God to get to the life He came to give us.  That's why I quoted the verse from 1 Peter 5:7 - commonly read as "Cast Your Cares Onto Him Because He Cares for you." 

Now, as adults, we have to go back.  But since this twisted re-wiring of our brains happens when are children, I'd like to help my girls fend it off.  I want my girls to grow up unhindered by the things that so easily tripped me up.  Part of that effort is to show them how to have their own relationship with Jesus.  This is so they can learn what His voice sounds like because the flesh, the world and the enemy will come to call.  Yet if they know the voice of the Good Shepherd, they don't necessarily have to leave the fold.  There is more than enough room in His Creation for adventure, we don't have to do it on culture's terms.  

This is a daily, sometimes hourly, monumental task.  But it is my primary calling as a mother/parent.  And it has very great, eternal rewards.  So, I'm plugging into my girls, listening to their "speech," (both spoken and unspoken) and regularly reminding them who Their Heavenly Father says they are. They already know His love but in the harsh light of "life," they need constant refreshers of Who He is and Who they are to Him. 

On Monday, my best friend told me about a message her daughter heard from a speaker encouraging the kids to do a real-time theophostic technique.  When she told me about it, I realized this was a way to short-circuit the enemies tricks; one that would blow out all the smoke and mirrors he employs to steal, kill and destroy us by any means necessary.  The gist is: when someone says or does something that hurts you - take those feelings and give them to Jesus.  Let Him sort them out and restore your heart to His perfect peace.

Good stuff, right??  I had the opportunity to use it with Sophia less than 24 hours later.  Sophia is working through a lot of anxiety and stress (and making significant progress I might add).  She told me about a situation where a little girl, who has been on-and-off nasty to her all year, told her she was ugly.  Last week, the little girl told Sophia her pictures was ugly.  Now, it has escalated.  And all Sophia wants is for this little girl to accept her the way she is (her words, not mine.) Isn't that what we all want from others?  Isn't that what we all want from God?

To know but more than that, to be known and loved for who we are.

Henri Nouwen called it "The Life of the Beloved."  I count myself as one of those who needs to remember I am The Beloved.  It is the same for my girls.  So, as Sophia and I were talking, I got a divinely inspired mental image.  I asked her if she remembered what a rubik's cube was and she said she did.  I told her to picture her heart like a rubik's cube that's complete, that's solved, in perfect order. 

Then I asked if she remembered
what a rubik's cube looks like when it is messed up.  I told her when she gets upset or angry, the messed up cube is what her heart, her emotions look like.

Now, here is where the real-time theophostic technique comes in.  I told her "You can take that messed up, unsolved, tangled rubik's cube of your emotions - AND GIVE IT TO JESUS TO STRAIGHTEN OUT."

Well, she ran with it.  When she got in the car after school yesterday she said, "Mama, there were 2 times today I had to give my Foosball to Jesus."  (I said, "You mean rubik's cube?"  "Yes, that's it.")

I asked her if He gave it back to her in the right order.  She said, "I don't know, I just gave it to Him and I was ok!" Mission accomplished.

When your mind, heart, spirit and/or body is messed up - give it to Jesus.  Short circuit the enemy's plans by submitting yourself to the Lord.  Cast your cares onto Him because He can and will straighten it out.  Our hearts are only puzzles to us, but Jesus knows how to solve them.  He can put them back in order - even better working order than before.  Explore your options in prayer, fellowship, worship and serving.

His goal, as stated in Philippians 4:7 is to keep our hearts and minds wrapped up in His peace.  Our part in it is to give Him access.  We must give ourselves to Him and He will make us unburdened, un-weary.  He will give us the rest we crave because we have too long tried to figure it out on our own.  He will make our hearts and our paths straight.

 P.S. If anyone has a rubik's cube they want to give Sophia, let me know.  The Targets around me seem to be fresh out!! 

*taken from Lysa TerKuerst in her book Unglued

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