I woke up thinking about yesterday's message at church.The message was about pruning, jealousy, and gaining breakthrough. (You can watch it here: Sunday Message Bethel Church) Can I be vulnerable and honest? A year ago this month I moved out to Redding, California. If you read my blog much, you know the story. I came out in extreme pain, hurting, bruised, feeling rejected, struggling with anxiety, symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, having nightmares, hearing gun shots, and screaming. I didn't have any hope, I was struggling to dream, and all I wanted to do was quit on everything, and go run to a beach somewhere and spend my days alone. I'd been battling for five months without much breakthrough and I was at a breaking point. I thought I was coming to get healed. I thought I was coming so that God would end the nightmares, stop the anxiety attacks, pick up my broken pieces and put me together again, so that I could have my life back. Little did I know, He had much more in mind than simply healing. Honestly sometimes during the process I wished it was just healing He had in mind, because in reality He had pruning in mind. I've never thought I was jealous. I always thought I didn't have any "competition" in me. For the most part I was always so content just chasing after what I felt God was asking me to do! My thought was if you succeeded great, I felt like I was succeeding too! I felt happy with the direction of my life, but then trials came, then failure came, then pain came. As I lay bare and broken on the alter crying out in absolute desperation (amazing if you read my last blog, I had been crying out in months previous to this breakdown, "Lord make me desperate for only You") God began to reveal the places in me that weren't like Him. He showed me things that weren't pretty. I saw jealousy, I saw competition, I saw an orphan spirit, I saw unbelief, I saw this need to perform for love, I saw that I had fear of man, I saw that I hinged my success on the approval of others. All of these things that I didn't know were in me, started flowing out. There were lots and lots of tears and as I saw them I wanted to compensate for them. I wanted to dive into more ministry, I wanted to validate myself by works, I wanted to appease man. And God kept saying, "Go home, rest, take a nap, watch a movie, have fun." For months if I tried to do any "ministry" He'd say, "No. Go home. Rest." I'd cry out, I'd scream. "I'M DOING NOTHING FOR YOU. I'm sitting here doing nothing. Who am I, if I can't contribute? How come so and so is getting to do _________? Do you not trust me anymore? Why is this happening? I'm an evangelist! I'm a missionary! I'm a preacher! Why am I sitting on a couch crying? Others around me were getting involved in the 5,000 ministries at the church and I felt useless.
Day by day He brought me face to face with things that were in my heart all along, they just hadn't had the opportunity to flow out yet, (or as I later realized when they had come out, I just didn't recognize it for what it was). Papa Bill said in his sermon yesterday, "God puts you in an environment where wrong manifestations can come out, so that they can be pruned". As He said those words, tears immediately started streaming down my face, and I had to stop and have a moment with Holy Spirit. The last year and a half makes more sense now.
Again if you read my blog or follow my Facebook or newsletters, you probably already know that I had extreme breakthrough at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015. I eventually stopped resisting what He was doing. I got vulnerable with Him, my pastors and mentors, and even some of my community and I began to run right at my pain, my failures, and my trials. As I was healed, as wrong mindsets were changed, I noticed my heart began to melt. Not only was He changing me on the inside, He began providing opportunities for me to minister in various ways again. I saw anointing grow in the areas that I had to overcome. He began to redirect me, He restored peace, joy, and hope just as Romans 15:13 says He'll do. He gave me prophetic words for the year and my future. I began to see Him make the enemy pay for all that had been stolen.
My intention was simply to move and get healing, God's intention was an overhaul of my heart, restoration, and yes even promotion.
So today as I re-watched Bill's sermon and read a little in my Bible I focused on Matthew 7. Yes, the infamous do not judge chapter. Bill also talked about us using a "spirit of suspicion" and calling it discernment. (Again I can't recommend watching the sermon too many times) "First acknowledge your own blind spots and DEAL WITH THEM. Then you'll be capable of dealing with the blindspot of your friend" (Mattew 7:5 TPT)
Jealousy, competition, comparison. None of those are from the heart of our Father. They're demonic attacks to derail you from the course He has you on. The enemy wants you to focus on what others are doing wrong so that you can justify your own issues. If we can spend our lives looking at others lives and trying to "fix them", we won't allow Holy Spirit to fix US! So many times it's easier to see the mistakes in others, rather than have to look at our own short comings and deal with them. Dealing with them means going AFTER THEM. It's rarely praying one prayer asking God to take it away from you and is actually more often listening to Holy Spirit as He guides you in ACTIONS to change thought patterns. If you're jealous, go bless the person that's being promoted. If you're feeling competitive, sow financially into that person. If you feel less than, go take a day, stay at home, do nothing "productive" and ask God to tell you how much He delights in you. Pruning is painful. It means having to look at your dysfunction, your failure, your pain, maybe something someone has done to hurt or offend you. It means looking at the "junk" and saying, I will seek total restoration. You don't have to live with mindsets that are contradictory to the Kingdom, you can go on the offensive against them! Trust me, the freedom that comes from ridding yourself of all of those ugly thoughts is far beyond the pain of pruning. PEACE and JOY are invaluable.
I look back now, one year later, and 2014 was undoubtedly the most painful year of my life, but 2015 has been the most joyful one. God gave and He took away. He pruned. He disciplined. He forced me to face my biggest fears and deepest pain. He pulled out things in me (good and bad) that I had no idea were inside of me. The pruning process of my life is far from over, but I've discovered that pruning is beautiful, for He makes all things beautiful.
I recite Psalm 103 daily. "Bless the Lord oh my soul, and all hat is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not ALL His benefits, who FORGIVES ALL your iniquity, who HEALS ALL, your diseases, who REDEEMS your life from the pit, who CROWNS YOU with steadfast LOVE and MERCY, who SATISFIES you with GOOD so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Be Blessed, J. Tate