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Friday, February 21, 2020

Magnets. Wicker Furniture. Mending the Soul.

I have these two magnets. They look like shiney rocks. When held a certain way they snap together, making a high pitch clicking sound. 

When you hold one firmly and turn the second 180*, they push each other apart instead. Try as you might, you cannot push them together and make them stick unless you turn them the right way.

So it is with our souls. 

The principle has many applications. In each instance, things that try to come together will push apart until they are turned the right way.

When Flavia and I spent 13 years never quite being able to come together, it was me who needed to change, primarily. When my soul was turned the right way, we suddenly fit together perfectly. That took a miracle of God, but it was one I had to press into before getting. It wasn't easy. 

To be "wicked" isn't a simple insult or label. A wick is something that is twisted. Wicker furniture is material that had been twisted into it's present shape. When our soul is found to be wicked, that simply means that we were designed to function one way and our soul is twisted out of shape. They further out of order we are, the more twisted or soul is. The most evil person imaginable is 180* out of line, because once you got 181* you are turning back into right order. 

Every instance of an aspect of life that doesn't line up with God's Word is an aspect of life that is twisted. 

When people attempt to satisfy their soul in a union of bodies (sex) outside of God's order, it fails to satisfy. 

Even if you whole heartedly believe you were born different, you weren't. Your soul is simply twisted out of shape, once it realignes it will change. I spent years unable to want what God wants for me, until he realigned my soul. Then "suddey" I wanted what He wanted. In Truth, in wasn't sudden. It was a very long journey, hard fought small wins, and many tiny lessons before a form of victory started taking shape. 

Each turn was God shifting my soul, by and inch at a time, into the right shape. The resistance I felt was from being out of shape, out of position. The closer I got to being in the right position, the less fight I felt in me against it.

The hard thing about this type of healing, is that there's no "cure". No six steps. No magic pill or formula. You can't take a class and suddenly find your soul craving the right things. 

It's a journey, a work of God. You either start that journey and let Him work in you to mend your soul; or, you continue to twist further out of shape. 

If you have aspects of your life where you desire things God says are harmful for you... Your soul is twisted in those areas. You cannot untwist yourself. You cannot "choose" to be untwisted. Neither, though, is your will (choice) a non factor. 

The key is to surrender to God's Presence. 

You cannot choose to change: 

You cannot try harder a better knowledge of good, that's the wrong tree, the Tree of Knowledge. Trying harder to "be good" is a religious activity for Pharisees. It's fruitless, and it's frustrating. 

You can choose to enter His Presence: 

Instead, your goal is to choose the Tree of Life. In practical terms, that means getting into God's presence as often as possible, as many ways as possible. 

Be mindful and aware of His presence. Pray. Read your Bible. Read good books by thought leaders. Listen to teachings and Podcasts. Attend meetings and conferences. Meet with friends and talk about God. 

All of these, in the Wrong Mindset, could be fruitless religious activities. Dead works. 

All of these, in the Right Mindset, can be life giving fruitful activities. Plugging into Life. 

Try saying: "God, Daddy, in this moment I submit myself to you. Have your way with my soul today. How would you like to spend the next X minutes?"

Don't expect one session to change you in noticable ways, any more than ten seconds in an oven makes cookie dough into a cookie. But enough ten seconds stacked onto each other makes a cookie. 

Spend time with your Daddy today. 

#Selah

Darrell Wolfe, Storyteller 


Thursday, February 20, 2020

God is passionate about your sex life!

I hesitate to post this.... As this is something I'm walking through, not on the other side of... But NO HIDING is my motto. I have reached a certain degree of success... So, here it is.

I enjoy SEX!

It was the subject of highest contention in my marriage to Flavia, the subject of our almost divorce, and the subject of our reconciliation. 

It was the subject that brought me to my knees before God and her.

It was the subject that led to my healing journey, and to NO HIDING.

After she passed, I went off the deep end for a while. Which is why I stopped writing for a year or so there. 

I had a few partners. It was all very empty, in the end. I had already learned from my NO HIDING journey that it wasn't really sex but intimacy that I was wanting. You can't get that from anyone other than your life partner. 

God created us as two half's, two joining pieces. When a man and woman come together and form a life-bond, it's intended to be complete. Spirit, Soul, and Body become one.

That oneness is intended to be all encompassing. It's also intended to help us see a glimpse of God's nature (the Triune God, Three but One). 

Marriage is ultimately a bond between two people and their God, that bond makes them ONE. Man, Woman, and God form a Triune being. We call that marriage. The two humans remain two people but one entity. This is why couples married for decades often look and sound alike. 

Any marriage that does not have God as the third member will ultimately fail to create the intimacy it was designed to fulfill.

This is why sex without that lifelong covenant, or sex within a paper marriage but without the mutual submission God built us for, is so empty. It fails to satiate the soul.

When I went on my #Whole30, I learned what foods that satiate felt like and foods that didn't. I was shocked at how much better I felt by just changing my food. The body was meant to be satiated. Full. You shouldn't be walking around zapped of energy and needing a 'pick me up' constantly. 

Sex is a type of food for the soul. 

Sex stripped of it's nutrients (processed white flour of the soul, sex outside of covenant) won't satiate. You'll have an "insatiable craving" for more. We see this with sex addiction.

Sex inside a covenant of three (Man, Woman, God) when all three are mutually submitted to one another, is satiating. Yes you'll be hungry, just as with food, satiating food doesn't mean you won't be hungry eventually, but, it's filling and nutrient dense. 

Controversial Statement: Anything other than this type of triune bond (one man, one woman, mutually submitted to each AND to God, till death do them part) is outside of the created order of God; therefore, it will not satiate. It cannot.  

His Grace covers our failings, frailties, and choices, yes even or DNA and genetics. His Grace covers our fallen world. If you've been in anything other than this arrangement, God still loves you! He is passionate about you. 

His Grace also covers those of us who were in the marriage on paper, but failed to reach true intimacy in mutual submission before each other and God. 

God is passionate about SEX! He thinks it's amazing! He created it, after all. He just wants to make sure you get good food, and not the highly processed junk food stripped of nutrients.

His ultimate gift to you would be to restore you to this highest form of intimacy.

So...

I laid (pun intended) my physical relationships aside for this season. 

But that doesn't mean it's easy. Here are a few things I've done to help myself find healthy expression while I prepare for my next partner.

1. Submit to God: Before any other practical steps, I had to make a conscious choice that I was going to submit to God's way, even if I didn't see how that would pan out or even work. This was the hardest step.

2. Acknowledge the Tension: I am so glad I am a sexual being! I embrace that, 100%! I choose to find healthy expression. 

3. Skin Hunger: I found massage (by a professional who has good boundaries) was a good way to deal with skin hunger. 

4. Muscle Movement: I found exercise, even just a few squats and lifts and long walks, dealt with the need to move the body.

5. Non Romantic Community: I've built and am building friendships and community I'm safe places. Careful to avoid any situation where I could be tempted to cross that barrier. Facebook Groups, Church, Work Breakroom, so good places to start.

6. Feed The Soul: Read, Write, start new projects I've always intended to get to "someday". Get the guitar out and play again.

I found the inner world of the soul is the hardest battle ground. But, I've learned some things there.

I went on a #Whole30 in January. I learned that I can say no to foods I want (cookies, cheeseburgers, Dr Pepper) for a season because I had a higher purpose (feeling healthy). Just like I can say no to something for a season in one category, because I have a higher purpose, I can do it in another category. 

I can say no to cheeseburgers today, while acknowledging that I want one and will have one again in the future, in the right context and with the right moderation. 

Sex is just another cheeseburger.

And I won't draw any conclusions, I'm still walking this journey. I'll just leave you with that for now. 

#Selah. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

You are not alone...

The suffering of Jesus... 

"You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." Matthew 17:17
https://biblehub.com/matthew/17-17.htm

I bet that's not the first verse you think of when you think of the suffering of Jesus.

So often when we think of the suffering we think of the cross. Indeed, the cross was the final and most important work of Jesus. It is because of the cross that we even talked about him. It is because of the cross we can stand before his Father guiltless. It is because of the cross that he can be our high priest. But I submit to you that his suffering went far beyond the cross; when you are suffering he can empathize quite a bit.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15
https://biblehub.com/hebrews/4-15.htm

Jesus suffered the ignorance of people around him. 

Jesus suffered persecution from the intellectual elite of his day.

Jesus suffered betrayal from one of his own.

Jesus suffered every temptation that we experience.

Jesus suffered hunger an lack. 

Jesus suffered the mismanagement of his ministries finances by someone he trusted with them.

Jesus suffered obscurity for 30 years before starting a very public ministry. Burdened with a purpose beyond any purpose we've experienced and yet unable to do anything about it for 30 years other than prepare.

Jesus suffered the death of a friend.

Jesus suffered the death of a parent...

Not much is known about Joseph the husband of Mary. But we know that he obeyed God and took Mary and even though she was already pregnant. So we know he had high character. And we know that his life was disrupted not only by a census but by an emergency trip to Egypt which likely lasted several years. We know that he lived till at least the time Jesus was 12, because when he was 12 Joseph and Mary went looking for him after they lost him. 

We hear no mention of Joseph during the days of Jesus ministry. And we know that Jesus assigned one of his disciples as Mary's new son to take care of her. From the day of jesus's death forward Mary went to live with the disciple John, the one whom Jesus loved. 

So sometime between the age of 12 and 30, Jesus watched his dad die. The creator of the universe, who would eventually heal thousands of sick people and even raise some from the dead and eventually raise from the dead himself... This man watched his dad die and grieved him.

The Bible says he was tempted in every way that we were tempted. Every means all. All means all and that's all all means. Which means he was also tempted by sexual temptations. Having a former prostitute around him regularly cannot have been easy. She knows one way to show gratitude above all others and she does it so well she's been paid for it. I have every reason to believe she would have offered that type of gratitude. But he didn't accept.

It's impossible for one man to have suffered the exact circumstances of every other man on the planet, I'm sure that you could find examples of situations that he didn't suffer. He did not lose a parent before the age of 12. But in a broader sense if there's something that we suffer he has too.

So whatever you're going through today... Stop and think about that for a few moments and realize that Jesus actually feels your pain with you. Not just in some esoteric theological sense. Jesus feels that pain because he's experienced it.

You are not alone.

#Selah

PS: Testing the waters on a podcast. Used this post as a jumping off point. 

https://anchor.fm/darrellwolfe/episodes/Jesus-suffered-in-more-ways-than-you-think-eanhlt












Tuesday, February 18, 2020

He does not point out her sin and condemn her... he focuses on Grace.

Jesus was presented with someone who sinned (Woman caught in adultery, btw, where's the man?)...

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

He does not point out her sin and condemn her.

I want to draw that point home, for many of us (myself most of all) have the heart of a Pharisee or the Elder Brother (story of Prodigal Son). We focus one how we are not caught up in all that and therefore nobody else should be either. But if we stop to acknowledge that we still struggle with sins, maybe just different ones, we can re-learn to have compassion.

Judgment was taken into the body of Jesus on the Cross. There is no judgment left, only a pleading call to Grace and to accept the finished work he already completed.

We get so heated in our debates, vilifying the "other" side. While it is absolutely true that there are two kingdom's at work on this planet and they are at war with each other... you might find that kingdom of darkness has been hiding in your camp, not just the "other" camp.

The woman at work with a poster of someone you think of as "enemy" might actually be a woman God really really loves and he could use you to reach her... or you can vilify her and walk around in judgment, inviting all that comes with that smug attitude.

What does Jesus do, when presented with sin and asked for a verdict?

"You who have no sin, cast the first stone".

He didn't justify what she did by calling it "not sin". It was sin. Too often we swing the other way and try to say that the way someone is living is good or healthy, it's just an alternative lifestyle. No. It's sin.

But...

Jesus acknowledged her sin but focused on the verdict.

"Who condemns you?" "Nobody"

Then he makes a statement that acknowledges her sin, tells her to stop it, and yet carries no judgment or harshness or condemning attitude in it at all.

"Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more".

We can, prayerfully, when faced with such a topic. "Is X a sin?" Focus too on the verdict and not the sin. We can say that we are all broken, and in need of change, and focus on the source of that change, Jesus.

#Selah


 

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @ DarrellWolfe.com

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


Monday, February 17, 2020

From a different point of view, suffering may not be as bad we thought.

The story is told of Norman Cousins, who developed a rare condition called ankylosing spondylitis, which is a degeneration of connective tissue in the spine. Essentially the patient becomes gradually more and more paralyzed. Creeping paralysis.

Among the things he discovered was the patient's loss of control over his own life and body was more damaging than the disease itself.

Philip Yancey tells us that when we do things like offering to take out the trash because that person is sick and shouldn't have to do it, or telling them to sit down while we do things for them, we actually take away some of their purpose and dignity and make it harder for them to recover, or at least enjoy end of life.

He talked about writing greeting cards that will celebrate the fact that they're still alive and that parts of their body are still working, instead of cards pointing out how much they're missing out on and urging them to get well.

Norman Cousins moved himself to a hotel room so that he could have control over his own schedule. Doctors had predicted at least partial paralysis and yet between the hotel room and watching lots of funny movies which encouraged his body to heal through laughter he made a full recovery.

So this has me wondering...

How many of us are perfectly healthy physically but incapacitated mentally and emotionally because of our own attitudes and outlooks?

Often our perception of reality is more important than the reality.

If something in your life, be it a relationship, an idea, a job, a deeply held belief... Or even a meme on Facebook... Is adding stress to your emotional state, if it is not bringing peace joy and love... Maybe it's time to evaluate whether that thing is worth having around.

You have a finite amount of energy to give this world. Some of that energy can be recharged with positivity. So that energy can be stolen with negativity.

What are you going to do with the 24 hours you have today?

How would changing your outlook and perspective and focus, change your experience?

Selah


Sunday, February 16, 2020

Grief requires presence, not answers.

When I was approximately 13, my mom taught me possibly the greatest lesson she ever taught me, and I didn't fully see it until just now...


My childhood friend back in Texas died, suddenly and unexpectedly. Mom said she would wait for a period of time then fly out to be with his mom, a good friend. We waited, weeks or months, not sure, then flew out together. 

In the first days after tragedy, people support you as best as they can. But quickly they disappear. Until, by a few weeks or a month or two out, they've all gone. You are left with crushing loneliness and grief, nobody there to sit with you in it.

Mom, a pastor's wife and a nurse, had seen it before. She wisely waited for everyone else to stop showing up, then we hopped on a plane from California and visited.

I was too young to see what we really did there. But now, as a Widower, when Mom again flew out to be with us periodically, helping me with various transitions with the boys, I see it.

The grieving person doesn't need your magic words, nothing you say or do will fix this tragedy. They need, simply, your presence. Play a game, watch a movie, give a ridiculously uncomfortably long hug.

Philip Yancey says "... no one offers the name of a philosopher when I ask the question 'Who helped you most?'... Someone who was available... Who came on the sufferers terms and not their own."

Even when suffering is self induced (a relationship they should have avoided, a decision that they know they shouldn't have made), there's a time for gently prodding the person who may need to make new decisions, but there's a time to just sit with them in it. They need to get your love before your solutions.

Selah


Saturday, February 15, 2020

When someone you know suffers...

The book, Where Is God When It Hurts?, was first published decades ago so the statistics are old, but knowing the human heart I don't suspect they've changed... 70% of marriages where one partner is diagnosed with a terminal illness result in divorce. The healthy partner just leaves.

As a Widower, I can attest first hand how people struggle to be around suffering. They smile awkwardly, use popular phrases that are often wrong, and look really uncomfortable, shifting posture with expressions that can't hide the awareness they want to run.

My friends I've made after becoming a Widower say I have an amazing talent for sitting with people in hard stuff and being there for them while I let it be hard. Those skills were hard earned. Not very long ago, I would run away from my (late) wife when she cried. I literally couldn't handle someone else having pain. I'd tell her we could take when she was done crying. I was awful and broken. Luckily, we found a better place in the last year and a half before she died. Then when she died, I was thrust into the need to develop the skill of processing emotions. I couldn't fall completely apart, I had two boys who needed me to pull through. So I leaned into the pain, a skill my late wife had just taught me in the year leading up to her unexpected death, and I pressed into friends, groups, and counseling.

I found healing for my heart.

I found that pain doesn't need to be cured but embraced.

I found pain can give us an acute appreciation for the pleasure moments.

I found, as we Widows comfort each other, we usually only needed an ear and shoulder and a hug.

The suffering don't need you to save them, you can't. You can't make their suffering stop. They are drowning at the bottom of a pool. What you can do, is sit at the bottom of the pool and drown with them.

Selah.


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