In my opinion, this blog entry is 8 years overdue, but alas everything is in God’s time.
I’m not even sure where to start. It’s been so long since I’ve posted I’ve probably lost all my original readers and likely few if any remember the season I’ve been in, so I’ll provide a little backstory.
January 3rd, 2011 was my Saul to Paul conversion, in a place of near-suicidal depression and alcoholism I cried out to Jesus Christ… and from that exact moment in a campground in Big Sur California, I was set free.
And I’m not exaggerating, from that exact moment I haven’t had a single drink or drug, I went all in and became a student of the Bible and passionate follower of Jesus Christ.
I was on fire for Christ and shouting my testimony from the rooftops. And it did truly inspire people and draw them close wanting to know what happened to me.
From there I got plugged into Celebrate Recovery, and before I knew it I was leading groups. And after a series of what I will always believe to be God inspirations, I was called to move to a new town and join a new church, a church that didn’t have recovery ministries at all.
It was not my intention when moving, but soon I was meeting with church elders, which led to me giving my testimony at a men’s conference on a Saturday morning… and that day 55 men signed up to join an Every Man’s Battle workshop; Recovery Ministries was now launched at our church.
That was nearly 6 years ago and there are now over a dozen separate men’s and women’s recovery ministries covering everything from depression to abortion grief to sex/drug/alcohol and chronic illness support groups and several more.
It is now a rich ministry impacting hundreds of lives and it all began with one man’s testimony and the Blood of the Lamb.
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
Since those humble beginnings, I have led Pure Desire, EMB and a host of John Eldredge discipleship groups, each packed with men hungry to become the best version of themselves for the Glory of God, I am truly humbled.
For nearly all of those 8 years, I continued to feel sick inside. Insecurities, recurring relapses with lust, a shaming voice that regularly condemned me, a voice that told me I was less than, unworthy, weak, unable and unlovable.
Sure, the Gospel told me all of those things were untrue, my church told me all those things were untrue, the men I mentored told me all those things were untrue, my family, bosses, coworkers, friends even God repeatedly told me they were untrue, and I begged for it not to be true, but life remained hard and salvation seemed more distance with every passing year.
The Heart Grows Heavy
It’s a dark place when our actions, thoughts, and behaviors betray the New Creation we are told we have become.
And for me, anyway, I realize that most of the scripture that told me who I am, what I was capable of, and what was promised for me became mere “if only that was true” longings.
The only conclusion I could draw was either I was doing this Christianity thing wrong, or I wasn’t trying hard enough. And anyone around me would tell you I was killing myself serving 3 groups a week, serving on Sunday’s sometimes all services, and working a 60+ hr job and maintaining social and family activities… no wonder I hit the wall with Chronic Fatigue Syndrom nearly a year ago, lost my career of 30 years, and I am still trying to recover!
And as the years rolled by and no matter how many accolades and praises I got, I figured I just “had them all fooled” and “they were just being polite” or “if they really new me they wouldn’t say that”.
I truly began to wonder if I was actually saved, and the scriptures began coming alive in a new way;
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, …… none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
And the hole in my heart continued to grow bigger.
I have evidence of fruit in my life, lots of it, yet clearly I deduced, that none of that matters; surely God’s Word was affirming that the ugliness in my own soul is declared by God Himself; I’m not enough, I’m coming up short just as I have my whole life.
As hard as I strive and am killing myself trying to “make people and God happy”, nobody is, not even God, surely not me, it’s just like it has always been for more than 50 years.
And through all of this, every time I went to God all I got was “can’t you see how much I love you, when will you believe me”.
Even though the suffering was real, I couldn’t see the insidious infectious narrative running under the surface. So I began seeking pastors to provide healing and cast out demons, secular counseling, deep Inner Healing work with Jesus. And each one claimed to have “seen the source” and “healed me”, yet the hole I was standing in continue to erect even higher walls until the sunlight became something I only saw in fleeting moments throughout the week.
How could this be, I knew Christ set me free when I cried out that morning; He changed EVERYTHING in my life, but why do my insides still hurt so much?
Why do I still feel so alone in a crowded room
Why do I feel like such a fraud when I’m standing in front of my peers accepting recognition and performance awards
Why does it feel like I’m down to 50 pounds yet I look in the mirror and see a 400lb person
Why is it I desperately hang on to toxic relationships like a battered wife
Why do I have God and respected elders saying often “George, if only you could see yourself as we see you”.
I couldn’t tell you why, year after year. I continued to take more classes, prayed harder, got more counseling and sought out more specialists. And what did those get me, some really neat labels like PTSD from the severe childhood traumas which I experienced, and OCD, ADD and Social Anxiety Disorder and now my body was shutting down with Chronic Illnesses, times truly became desperate.
But I never stopped praying, hoping, expecting, trusting… and then new allies began to show up.
“When we deny our pain, losses, and feelings year after year, we become less and less human.” Peter Scazzero author Emotionally Healthy Spirituality
“Inner healing is the healing of the inner [person]: the mind, the emotions, the painful memories, the dreams. It is the process whereby we are set free from feelings of resentment, rejection, self-pity, depression, guilt, fear, sorrow, hatred, inferiority, condemnation, or worthlessness, ect. Betty Tapscott
Charles Kraft, a controversial Christian healer who claims demon possession of a Christian is possible and thereby has lost significant credibility in traditional Western Christianity, has spoken deep into my own heart.
He talks of salvation and freedom as being two completely separate entities. Salvation is complete at the moment of conversion, however, the man himself oftens remains very sick and release of past mental and physical beliefs and even demons remains critical in creating the whole Christian who is fully free.
For one, a child abuse survivor has no reference to even know what freedom and love actually feel like, we wouldn’t know it if it bit us.
I can remember past girlfriends who I thought “creepily idolized me” and I had to break up with them because “how they treated me felt so fake like they had some kind of mental illness”.
I really need to track them down and make amends, because just as I’m typing this I realize now that it was me with the illness and that they actually loved me, and that’s what love looks like. No wonder I have been alone my whole life.
Once I began to believe that it wasn’t a sin to be a Christian and yet still feel/belief/act as if was still broken, I then began to experience a hope shift. And not coincidentally, one of my Men’s Groups began doing hands-on spiritual healing via John Eldredge’s Moving Mountains study we were doing.
And I began noticing a lightness take hold, more profound “spiritual experiences” were taking place… a momentum shift was happening. I couldn’t describe fully what/why/how/where but I simply trusted God to lead and stayed the course.
Then “IT” Happened
I won’t go into all the details, but in a nutshell, I went to a new secular therapist. I had my doubts but I felt God led me to her and so I prayed all the way to her office each morning and simply said: “Lord use this vessel, your daughter, whether she knows you or not”.
And He did just that!
My eyes were completely opened to all of my trauma, my roles in the hurts and hardships that I created in others, and most importantly, just how beautiful and wonderfully made I am, and how good my heart has been my entire life, and how complete I am just as I am.
I believe in each of only 3 sessions I was visited by The Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God Himself.
The first session, through The Holy Spirit, I discovered the profound truth of the power that I have over my thoughts, feelings, emotions, behaviors, and actions. I am fully responsible for who I am, what I have done, what I am doing, and what I will do. Free will is not only a blessing, but it is also a responsibility we must wield properly.
The second session was orchestrated by Jesus Christ and I was fully released from all of my self-condemnation through the reframing of the childhood trauma. I call it my Good Will Hunting Event… I have always “known” those horrific events were not my fault, but in hindsight, I now realized I could “say” that as many times as I wanted, but I “felt” and “believed” deep in my body and soul that those events were somehow my fault.
The third session was God himself and through a profoundly emotional and supernatural experience; the fear of death, and thereby all fear, was lifted.
I’d love to go into greater detail on each of those sessions, and surely I will as it is now a foundation of the new endeavor I have just launched.
It has been nearly a month and every day is (and I promise I’m not exaggerating) the best day of my life.
I live fully present in each moment, extracting every ounce of life out of the personal encounters with others, the rich moments of prayer, meditation or getting lost in worship music, pressing into my new Life Coaching business (nikaos.net).
I had a 1.5-hour miserable commute in heavy Los Angeles traffic yesterday but instead what I felt is that ” the trees alongside the highway looked like God’s fireworks”. (imagine the shape of a Palm tree) Yes, I might be losing it with that one, but it’s a near euphoric embrace of all of creation… all people, places and things, whole or broken, are beautiful.
I am filled with overwhelming gratitude for each breath, each morning I wake, and each night I put my head on the pillow. I used to “joke” that I was my own worst enemy but now I am without a doubt my biggest fan, I LOVE ME… EVERY VERSION OF ME.
There is so much I have to share with the world, my 20/20 hindsight of how even as a fully saved, fully loved, fully complete and whole Christian through the works of Christ, I was still totally captive to my own internal prison, it wasn’t my fault, and it wasn’t my condemnation… ever!
God weeps when his children don’t love themselves and never realize how deeply He loves us. He never intended perfection for us, He intended us to enjoy this life, and become warriors for His cause.
The beauty is He uses the pain and suffering as the very weapons to be used against the enemy, but it only happens when we ourselves are raised from the emotional death that overtakes us early in life.
I am not kidding when I say this is true ascension, the PTSD is completely gone, the fear is gone, if I died tomorrow I would be assured and overjoyed knowing that even though I have so much more to do while I’m here, I have nothing left undone. Such joy, inner-peace, fulfillment, empowerment, enlightenment.
I now know what Freedom feels like, I know what it means to love unconditionally, and it is beyond what I thought was possible.
If you are still with me and understand what the ache and confusion of being Saved and Captive at the same time feels like, then watch this video and know it’s true!
Father God, forgive me for thinking in the first couple weeks after those sessions that it was the “therapist” who “fixed my emotions”. Clearly, it was You who did just as I prayed and brought someone into my life who made way for The Holy Trinity to open my eyes and heart. And what I found wasn’t anything that I expected, it wasn’t the solution that I was seeking because I still thought the problem was my actions, my sin, my character, my core. But You revealed Lord that my biggest sin my entire life has been believing the lies that were fed to me in my childhood. The Truth is I have never been less than what You say I am, and I have never been incapable of doing anything less than what You say I can, and I believed in the futility of fear, for even death’s sting is removed when eternity with You is the result.
Thank You, Lord God, that you never condemn us in our blindness, You Save us and then You love us enough to never give up until we see ourselves through Your eyes. And until that day happens, I now know it’s not possible to see other’s through Your eyes, for only what we have received can we give away.
May everyone Lord come to know how wonderful you are by recognizing how wonderful they are, in You and through You, may everyone experience true freedom. Through the powerful atonement and unfathomable Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ, I pray…
Blessings in Christ,
Note: If you need help recognizing your own limiting beliefs or would like to discover how to break free of them, schedule a free 30-minute consultation and you will receive a free personalized Blueprint to Inner Freedom Plan resulting from that consultation.
Blueprint to Inner Freedom Program Outline
- Uncover the limiting beliefs and unhelpful thinking patterns that are holding you back and potentially experience your own profound breakthroughs
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- Define your “perfect day” that is easy to replicate and experience deep fulfillment and inner-peace.
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