I was sitting on the couch in the living room messing around on my laptop when John came home.
We chatted for a bit when I noticed the pull...like there was a black hole hidden somewhere inside of his body silently pulling on my spirit.
I ignored it thinking he was going to take off like he normally does. Also, I had been planning to go on a walk in a few minutes, opening that door would prevent me from being able to go on my walk and get to sleep at a reasonable hour.
He ended up sitting on the seat next to me and pulled out his laptop.
We settled into doing our own, separate things for a moment when he piped up, "I had this really strong urge to play video games today."
"You did?" I asked.
"Yeah. I haven't played a video game in MONTHS and today, I suddenly wanted to play one really bad."
"Interesting." I had a musing face. I assumed his sudden spike in desire to play video games was coming from an emotional need to feel comforted and video games used to be a way he would cope with unwanted feelings.
"What?" He asked.
"You're thinking something."
"I'm not thinking anything." I lied, my hopes still on that evening stroll. I also realized how presumptuous my thought was, maybe he just wanted to play video games. Why do assume things so quickly about people?
"You looked like you had a thought." He asserted.
"Well, there's probably a reason you want to play video games all of a sudden." I offered.
I decided I would throw something out and see if he wanted to have a conversation or if he was just saying things. "I'll bet you used to play video games to drown out unwanted feelings of pain or fear or frustration or anger. Something probably happened today or the past couple of days that you need to work through."
"Hm. I can't think of anything that might have happened the past few days. Everything is pretty good actually. If something’s off, I'm not aware of it."
"You're going through 1st year, things are happening. Things are changing and shifting. Your mind is using its creative powers to find a solution to the pain you're feeling. In the past, it was probably video games. So it's finding a solution to your feelings to make you feel better. You're looking for comfort."
"What's so funny?" I challenged. (He must be uncomfortable with the word 'comfort.' I thought to myself.)
"I don't know...it's just, the word "comfort..."
"What about it?"
"I don't know. I'm actually not sure why I'm laughing." He confessed. Getting serious again.
"Does the word 'comfort' make you uncomfortable? We all have needs and recognizing those needs is important for us to get them met in healthy ways and live to our fullest. You think needing comfort is a sign of weakness. It's not manly. Comfort is for pansies and girls and children."
"Yeah..." he offered lamely.
"It's kind of a problem when you won't admit you need comfort when it's a function of the role of the Holy Spirit in your life. He is The Comforter and you're not okay with being comforted. I imagine it's difficult for you to receive what God is giving you because you reject the way He comes to love you."
John's face became grave. He started catching the weight of what we were talking about and how close-to-home it actually was.
He spoke up, "Yeah, I used to be open to people. But I realized that people can give some pretty crappy advice. And they're not actually listening to you, they just want to tell you what they think. So I ended up giving people advice but they didn't really have much to give."
I heard what he said but I also heard, underneath all of that, 'I don't trust people and have elevated how I see myself in delusion because I'm so much more aware of how smart I am over what other people have to offer. I have agreed with pride and arrogance to the point where I am totally blind to the gifts and anointing of others. I'm lonely. I'm tired. I'm jaded. I'm a little scared that life kinda sucks.'
"I'm gonna throw something out there for you." I replied. "You've had some difficult experiences and been in some lame relationships. You've agreed with spirits in that place to help you interpret what's happening in the world you live in and how you're going to respond. You've partnered with spirits to help you get results you want and to protect yourself. I'm not trying to make this super spiritual but I also refuse to ignore what I see influencing what's happening. Spirits bring a perceived benefit. But you have to realize, they actually delude your ability to recognize reality, the truth, for what it is. They slant your perspective."
I went on to explain the spirit of rejection as an example. I explained how a spirit of rejection speaks to us and how it affects us and how it affects other people around us when we agree with it. I could tell he was identifying with the symptoms I laid out, it was all too familiar to him.
I continued, "The aim of these spirits is to destroy you, to steal from you, to rip you off. It sucks."
"Yeah, I've noticed with my mom, there are times where she'll say or do something and I feel all of these emotions that I'm not proud of but I can't help it. The truth is I love my mom and I want to get better at loving her. But sometimes she just drives me nuts. While you were saying all of that, a memory with my mom kept coming up in my mind." He ended up explaining a situation when he was fourteen with him and his mom. She didn't respond to his vulnerability and creativity like he had anticipated and he was devastated.
As soon as I heard this part, I knew it was time for things to escalate, simply conversing wasn't enough anymore, it was time to address the spiritual powers at work in John’s life. That moment was coming up because it was time to address what happened.
"Hey, the good news is, we can do something about this. If you're up for it, I can pray with you and we can take care of some of this. That memory is probably coming up because God wants to do something about it. Sometimes God rewrites our past and gives us His perspective on what happened rather than what we took away from a specific memory through the lens of our pain or fear." I refrained from using the word 'sozo' so as not to elicit any undue fear or walls.
"Okay." He agreed.
"Your life's about to change. You're welcome." I said with a smile. "You're going to be the barometer. I'm going to look to you to tell me what's going on inside. What you're thinking or feeling. You're going to think things that aren't actually you but they're going to use a voice you've assumed is yours. They don't like what's about to happen. They're probably going to try and subvert me in your mind. Thoughts like, 'this is ridiculous, none of this is real, Mike's crazy.' Just pay attention to that stuff and keep me apprised."
"Okay." He laughed nervously. I could tell he had faith in what I was saying though.
I asked God to take John back to that memory with his mom. He did. I led John through some prayer. I had him repeat things after me. "Your confession is powerful in your own life." I explained.
We did this regarding a few things that came up. He seemed pretty heady and untouched by everything. I was a little concerned. "Maybe I missed it...maybe he's not actually ready to deal with any of this. Maybe he doesn't trust me. Maybe he isn't comfortable enough to actually feel anything." I thought.
I persisted and kept leading him. I asked him what God was saying.
"He said, 'The reason you're mad at your mom is because you've distanced yourself from her and you only looked at her as your enemy. You've only thought about how she hasn't measured up and didn't realize the things she was dealing with."
I was surprised by the accusation and condemnation in what he said. "That's not God." I thought.
I put my hand on his back, "God, thank you that John has ears to hear you. Any spirit not of God, I command you to be quiet in the name of Jesus. Father, would you speak to him in the silence?"
We went at it again. John seemed a little more hesitant this time. He had a vision of his mom as a child. She reminded him of his niece, whom he loves dearly. He explained to me how God saw his mom...he seemed to have some trouble getting out what he was saying.
His grandma came up. He was very angry with her. We stopped praying for a bit and just talked. He explained some things about his grandma. He had so much anger and resentment towards her. He cussed multiple times at this juncture. We prayed into this. I was still not sure if we were getting anywhere. He still maintained this mechanical demeanor though the content of his thoughts and feelings was becoming more colorful.
Then it hit. I had him speaking to his grandma, forgiving her for things. First, I specified things he would repeat after me that he was forgiving her for. Then I opened it up to him. "Grandma, I forgive you for...now you fill in the blank." I instructed.
He started to list things he was forgiving her for. Then the tears started to flow. He persisted through the pain and embarrassment, releasing his grandma of things he had held against her for years, even from his childhood. Tears and now snot. They dripped down to the end of his downturned nose. Thankfully, there was a towel near us. I grabbed it and gave it to him.
This went on for about five minutes. He continued to suck the poison out of his heart towards his grandma, crying quite intensely. He had to stop at times because of how overcome he was. I just sat there, rubbing his back, affirming him as he went.
"Okay, I think I'm good." He said.
"Okay, can we talk to another person?" I asked.
"I want you to forgive your mom. Can you do that or are you spent?"
"I'm spent." He said.
"Okay. There's one person I want you to forgive before we're done here."
This led into another intense time of sobbing and sweet exchange with God. The things God was telling him caused "Wow" and "Whoa" to come out of my mouth.
I was laughing to myself as he was going through this experience. There were so many moments I would have pulled the plug on this earlier in the conversation. I was so glad that I stuck with him. I thanked God for how He had trained and equipped me for moments like this. John’s life was changing before my very eyes and I got to be part of what God was doing in his heart. What a privilege. And somehow I've become effective at stepping into people's nightmare's and anger and pointing them to the door of truth and freedom. It was very humbling to watch God pull on the gifts He has given me to lead this son to His heart.
What a cool experience.
When we had wrapped up, I looked at John, into his bloodshot eyes and said, "All that from wanting to play video games."
We both chuckled.