Saturday, May 2, 2020


So, Thursday was what I call a “Higher”.[1] It was characterized by a couple of wonderful experiences of sharing the good news with people in the morning, a great time with our daycare kids during the day, and a meaningful relational time with our church in the evening.[2]

Yesterday was a Deeper,[3] with a handful of attempts to reach out to people that exposed their anger towards me and the themed message that attachment with me is not part of their plan if I get them mad. I didn’t like the way it made me feel.

Today I awoke to a Sigh morning.[4] Although it was a Saturday and I hadn’t set my alarm, my body still woke up at precisely the time my alarm goes off every other day. So, I got out of bed with a readiness to find out what Father had in mind to address how I was doing.

Here’s what I discovered.

On Thursday, Father addressed my propensity to PREPLAN things. He brought me to confess the wrongness of doing that, and to put my faith in his leading into whatever he wanted me to do with whomever he wanted me to minister to. The divine appointments showed his grace in helping me to do just that.

On Friday, throughout the course of the day, Father addressed my propensity to REPLAY things. Not only is it wearisome to spend so much time preplanning how I would handle conversations if they ever happened, but it is equally as wearisome replaying conversations that did not turn out as well as I had hoped and trying to figure out all the things I could have done differently.

This morning, Father made both of those noticeably clear to me and then exposed the common denominator: angry people and Attachment-Light-Always-Off people (hereafter referred to as ALAOFF). As he reminded me of various things I have faced in life, these are the two traits in people that have affected me the most.

And then I saw something. These are not two kinds of people. The angry people who traumatized me with their abusive tongues were partnered with a very clear ALAOFF relationship in every other area of our relationship. On the other hand, the ALAOFF people partnered their detachment with an anger that simply went and hid whenever there was opportunity to attach to me in a painful situation.

Suddenly everything became clear. The predominant reason angry people get angry at me is because I am threatening their minefield of self-protection around their attachment-pain.[5]

In other words, the whole idea of people turning off their attachment light is so that it stays dark “in there” so they don’t have to see things that happened to them and how those experiences affect them to this day. When I come nosing in to their hidden places and shining my attachment light around to see how things are going, I am breaking the rules of secrecy that require darkness to hide in.

For me, that is where I struggle to know the right thing to do. And then I see that it comes down to knowing what it is like to be real. When I reach out to people with a genuine sense that I am one of God’s “children of light” who is now “light in the Lord,”[6] and my most sincere attempts to be my real self with people triggers an angry response that immediately increases their detachment, the deep (implicit) part of my soul tries to echo the old belief that I must have done something wrong to get that person angry. Now I need to begin again to preplan the next conversation to try and get their attachment light back on towards me (however little it was on in the first place).[7]

Why is so important for us to constantly see these things in the way of the Beatitudinal Journey?[8] Why is it only “the poor in spirit” who are blessed by admitting what is wrong inside? Why does God keep leading his children into the “blessed are those who mourn” reality that grieves how we are really doing? Why does he keep taking us through the Higher/Deeper experiences where we meekly resign ourselves that whatever he is exposing (like preplanning and replaying meetings) is never going to fix what is broken? And why does he persist in shining his light into our hidden places until we hunger and thirst for the righteousness we begin to see in him because we certainly don’t see it in ourselves?

It is because it is only the poor in spirit who experience the kingdom as a treasure hidden in a field.[9] It is only those who mourn who are comforted with the reality of knowing God as they have never known him before. It is only those who meekly accept that they have nothing to contribute to their own deliverance who inherit all that belongs to Jesus Christ our Lord. And it is those who allow their dark hearts and secret places to hunger and thirst after the righteousness they see in their Firstborn Brother who “shall be satisfied”.

Now, how does that all tie in with the Scripture God has most been speaking through this week? Because Jesus wanted me to know what he was up to before I saw why my Deepers tend to sabotage my Highers. This is his word:

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence”.[10]

Guess where I get my propensity to preplan and replay conversations: “Through the knowledge of” people with explosive anger and attachment lights always off towards me.

Guess where I get freedom and healing in Jesus Christ: “through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

Guess where we get our hope that knowing Christ will have a greater impact on us than what people have done to our souls: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

I expect to preach/teach on this tomorrow in our online home church time. Today, our heavenly Father wanted me to see how personally it applies to the real troubles of our souls, and how practically it will lead us to freedom and healing in Christ. As we turn our attachment light on to God, and pour out our hearts to him about all that the angry attachment-light-off people have done to our harm, he will show us all that his divine power has already granted for our fullest and richest experience of both life and godliness.

And that will win over anger and attachment-light-offness every single time.  

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] “Higher” refers to ways God speaks to us through his word where he lifts our attention up to things about him we haven’t yet come to know by experience. It is like an invitation to get to know him better than we have ever known him before.
[2] During the isolation of Covid-19, our church has been using online video-meeting programs to stay connected for our church times, prayer meetings, counseling and Bible studies.
[3] “Deeper” refers to things God shows us about ourselves, usually things we would rather not look at because they expose that we’re not doing as well as we outwardly portray. The also are invitations to get to know God better than we have ever known him before, but with a stronger focus on how much we need him rather than the “Higher” view that focuses on how great he is in ways we have yet to experience. The two obviously need to work together.
[4] A “Sigh morning” just means a morning where we can’t escape unresolved things that haven’t been fixed, and so a sigh of sadness, resignation, dissatisfaction, etc, helps express the unfinished business going on in our souls.
[5] I say “predominant” because there are times that people get angry at me because I have genuinely let them down.
[6] Ephesians 5:8. I speak of this individually like an LED light that is part of a whole array of LED’s that is “the light of the world” Jesus spoke about in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14).
[7] I need to clarify that I do not claim that my attempts to be real with people are so pure and mature that I never deserve negative reactions to things I do and say. I simply mean that it seems to be when I try to get to know people at a deeper level than the pseudo-performances of the outer person that there has been a consistent reaction of self protection that shuts things down (something Larry Crabb warned me about at the beginning of the 90’s).
[8] All this comes from the Beatitudes at the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12.
[9] Matthew 13:44
[10] II Peter 1:3

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