God often does this very cool thing in my life that never ceases to floor me. I am certain I'm not alone in experiencing this though!! I simply love how He will suddenly use a natural principle to open a door to the supernatural. You'd totally think that would be standard, given that we have a body, soul and spirit working hand in hand? You'd think that spiritual principles bringing natural solutions and natural principles unlocking spiritual solutions would be common pathways we walk in, right? But we don't because I reckon this perfect synchrony can get pretty fragmented here on earth where we just don't realise how beautifully it all can work together by God's perfect design, in order for us to live a truly abundant life. So when I do see the way God will bounce spiritual and natural principles off one another in my life to help me overcome my struggles and battles I'm always calmly delighted.
Soooo with this particular testimony God smashed it - using my diet, exercise and sleep patterns to help me pray more! How cool is that? I was definitely struggling with my lifestyle. I work from home so lots of discipline is required in order for me not to get distracted at home and to stay on top of managing my time. I wasn't praying as passionately and as militantly as I wanted to. I had started watching some TV before I slept again and so when I'd wake up in the morning I was lethargic. I wasn't eating as well as I'd like to and I certainly wasn't sleeping as long as I needed to.
BUT none of that would have changed really because you can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. Obviously from a spiritual perspective I knew I needed to step it up...Spiritually I knew I needed to renew my mind big time...I needed to pray more...spend more time in the word...give more attention and energy to the God ignited dreams within me...etc etc etc. Something had to give. My mind HAD to change in order for the patterns in my life to change. And I'd already experienced untold occasions in my life where my mind would get so radically renewed in a split second - where I'd get a heavenly conviction and everything shifted bringing a powerful change in my life. So I guess this happening certainly wouldn't have been uncommon for me. But that's not at all what happened on this occasion...What actually ended up happening was several unexpected shifts taking place in my body which triggered doors to open in my mind and then in my spirit and I was like...HELLO VICTORY!
Soooo basically, my friend had blessed me with a few sessions with a personal trainer for my birthday after a recent conversation we'd had about stewarding our bodies well, even when we may not sense an immediate need for physical exercise or sports. I really wanted to preserve the good health I enjoy in order to be healthy and fit in later years so we figured doing a work out at home would be a great thing to start doing. So I had a fab few sessions with a personal trainer...even ended up praying with her after my final session which I unfortunately think scared the daylights out of her...awkwaaaard...but perhaps more about that in another blog!! Anyhoo so she sets me up with a nice little personal plan to start doing a work out on my jack jones at home...perfecto.
At the same time I'm prepping for a trip to California so I start a 21 day fast...no meat, no TV, no alcohol and no sugar. So here I am - suddenly not watching any TV, instead I'm reading lots...sleeping earlier so awakening earlier, I'm not eating any meat or drinking the odd glass of wine...I'm feeling so fresh and full of energy. I'm drinking lots of water and as I'm doing my work outs I'm getting energised and finding myself full of fuel to pray with gusto...I'm praying for hours after having my fabulous morning work out...going for gold...I'm hearing from God in a fresh way...and before I know it my whole lifestyle has changed...hey presto...my mind has been renewed. Wowsers right? What I couldn't do spiritually I was able to do naturally, empowering the spiritual breakthrough to kick in. Glorious or what?!
I sat in a home group around that time just sharing about the innate fabulosity of God pertaining to this particular experience and one of my beautiful spiritual daughters shared about her own battle with God prompting her to wake up and pray in the early hours of the morning. She was frustrated with herself for ignoring the prompts of the Holy Spirit and mad at her flesh preventing her from being able to respond to His invitation. She determined that one of these days she would respond! I asked her the question..."What if you don't?". The little treasure looked shocked. "Of course I will" she said. I'm sure in her mind she was thinking "oh me gosh...how can you be a spiritual mum and have so little faith in me...you doughnut?" I elaborated a little. "Imagine, let's be very realistic and practical...seriously on a level imagine lovey ducks, if you never ever end up actually responding to His call to wake up early and pray...what then?"
I wasn't trying to be doubtful or discouraging...I was trying to be realistic. Practical I guess. Like honestly if life just carries on as usual with nothing ever changing how can we ever be confident that suddenly we'll one day wake up and simply obey. That's simply too much onus on our fragile and self seeking flesh. And truthfully speaking putting all your eggs in that one basket - of one day in the midst of the same life patterns...same habits and strongholds...suddenly changing on the inside and being able to sustain the change in the face of the same opposing battles...simply is not realistic. You see so often we can try and solve our practical battles with spiritual solutions...and I'm certainly not discounting spiritual strategies at all...its spiritual principles and statutes of God that are the backbone of all that we do...the way we view every single thing. All things spiritual, emotional, physical, practical must be prayed into...must be approached through the lens of the Spirit...but imagine if for some of our challenges, God was in fact giving us very practical strategies to help solve what seem to be spiritual battles.
So for example prayerlessness, though a spiritual problem and at times a heart or mind issue - would also have practical reasons for occurring...such as fatigue...distractions...weariness...lack of sleep...worry...lack of time etc, so rather than determine in your heart that you will pray more, and then set about (in the midst of all the very present practical hindrances) to simply pray more...I believe would be pretty impossible. Surely, it would be more effective to be realistic about the physical hindrances getting in the way and prayerfully look to change those - so maybe get more sleep...wake up more refreshed...introduce more energy to your life maybe through exercise...cut off from worrying or distracting relationships or activities...watch less TV and replace it with some great books...change your eating habits so you are less tired or impacted by chemicals. As a result of these practical changes you could find yourself more energised to pray...or more motivated about setting time aside to worship. You could find yourself less distracted so more focused on your spiritual life. You could find your mind less cluttered so you hear from God clearer. All these practical changes could lead to a breakthrough in your spiritual life.
Sometimes I'm sure we can all agree that it's definitely the other way round. Sometimes the switch can go on in your spirit and suddenly an instant mind renewal will cause us to literally flip an 180 degree turn about a particular issue and radically things can change...we can get so empowered by that divine conviction to make changes in our lives in a very practical way. An example of this happened to me when it came to sexual purity. As God did a mental radical work in my heart about walking in purity...literally immediately I began to disconnect from relationships that would cause me to stumble in this area...I got rid of music...clothes...phone numbers...photographs...the whole shebang. My heart conviction feulled me to make some very practical changes to align with an inmost decision I had made in my spirit man. Another time I remember reading a book about The Makers Diet...talking about following a biblical diet of clean foods. Literally within minutes of starting to read the book I was hit by a Holy Ghost conviction about not eating pork, shellfish or other unclean foods. Instantly I began to live that out in a very practical way without needing much motivation because it was a complete renewal of mind.
Yet at other times, divinely revealed practical solutions are what God uses to bring deliverance or breakthrough in our lives over spiritual strongholds. In fact I remember a time when I'd spent a good three months struggling with passivity, weariness, demotivation, lethargy and a whole heap of other crap. I didn't want to do anything. I just wanted to lie in bed, run away from all the deadlines and demands and curl up and flesh out watching rubbish TV. I had got to a stage where I felt soooo condemned...I didn't know how to break out of it...getting into God's presence seemed as impossible as dancing on the moon. I was bereft. The heaviness upon my heart was unbearable. My house was a total mess and I was months behind on designing my new collection. Torn between crawling back into bed for another night of condemnation watching trash TV or actually getting up and trying to do something productive, I mustered enough energy to walk over to the kitchen sink. I began to wash the dishes and instantaneously I felt chains break. The heaviness lifted. The depression disappeared. The condemnation fled and the guilt disappeared.
Suddenly the light exploded in my heart and I knew I had been delivered. It didn't involve a massive heartfelt prayer...or singing in desperate worship or performing another spiritual act (please don't get me wrong there have been thousands of occasions when prayer...worship...the word etc has been the beautiful door into Gods presence and bought me the breakthrough I desperately needed...and I believe it's actually these spiritual principles of intimacy that are foundational to any sort of seemingly natural breakthrough occurring in our lives...helping us to recognise a breakthrough has even come whatever form it comes in). On this particular occasion, it simply involved a practical act of washing the dishes.
But it's not the act itself I believe that brings the breakthrough but the posture it represents. Sometimes I believe God just requires us to do something, ANYTHING before He can do everything. God will use the most natural, simplist move on our part to demonstrate before the realm of the spirit that He now has license to royally intervene on our behalf. In the midst of our ignorance, our failures, our shortcomings and our entering into enemy territory with our misspent actions I believe He often literally just needs us to take one step in the right direction whether spiritual or in the natural before He can explode with His rescue. That's why seemingly practical breakthroughs are so exciting - I believe they demonstrate God's sovereignty in such a creative, awe inspiring, exciting way.
It encourages me no end to expect the unexpected - to know that God could show up any how, any way and bring solution to the battles and obstacles I face in my life, makes life even more exciting and empowering. It gives me a fresh appreciation for our fearful and wonderful creative make up...that indeed the body...soul and spirit work hand in hand and God will use all three facets of our self to enhance our lives and bring the SUPERnatural...to lead us to triumph, abundance and gobsmacking radical victory in our lives...and to show Himself not only strong, loving and merciful...but completed invested in every area of who we are...Body...Soul...and Spirit.