Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Did you know that not all that you experience may be “you”? We are spiritual beings with physical bodies and souls that often react to unseen things. What feels like a problem in you may actually be something that you are perceiving outside of you.
When I was twenty years old my husband and I moved across the country to attend Bible college. When we arrived and walked onto the campus I immediately felt like something was wrong. I remember telling my husband, “I think we just made a huge mistake.”
Something inside of me shifted in that moment that caused me to go from a young, happy, and carefree newlywed to someone feeling anxious, oppressed and eventually depressed. In our years at that college I watched as a number of women (professors’ wives) experience nervous breakdowns. All that I knew was that something was wrong but everyone just said that it was me and my emotional immaturity.
Finally, as my husband watched me go from emotional turmoil into physical illness he decided to take me back home before graduating. I remember feeling so badly that all of the hard work that he had done during his years of studies (getting straight A’s) and his dreams of translating Bibles and missions work was being lost because of me. Then, just a few months after returned home the news came that the chancellor of this college had been involved with prostitutes as well as other sins of pride and impurities. The school lost its accreditation and most of the students left. It was televised all over the world.
Why am I telling you this story? Because we didn’t understand that I carried a discernment gift or how I was to walk with it. The gift of the discerning of spirits is very misunderstood and often not recognized by the Church. Often people who experience physical and emotional reactions to spiritual environments are carrying a gift of discernment (not always but more often than we realize). The good news is that this is a redemptive gift that can not only benefit you but benefit those around you and the place that you live if it is handled properly.
I had to learn how to recognize when a physical or emotional reaction required spiritual tools that brought a healthy response. The problem was that these “reactions of the soul” almost always feel very personal and very disorienting. I didn’t understand in the early years how I could be feeling happy one moment and the next moment having thoughts like, “I just want to die!” These extremes are often experienced by those who have this gift. More than likely, in those moments, I was picking up a spirit of death or suicide that was in someone or over an area.
There have been three keys in my life for walking with this gift (that surely didn’t feel like a gift for many years). The first key was to allow the Lord to heal me from all of the trauma in my past and to allow the Lord to deliver me from spirits that wanted to destroy me. Second was to allow my life to be aligned fully with the Spirit and the Word. Third was to allow intercession to be the place that these extreme senses and emotions were processed.
When I discovered the place of intercession I found that the Lord would take me from a reaction that began in my body (my physical senses), then hit my soul (emotions/thoughts) to the place of my spirit where His Spirit brought forth a proper response through prayer and wisdom (understanding). This would not only accomplish what the gift was put there for but it would also lift from me the burden that—if kept in my soul—would have become a “heavy yoke”.
There is a lot going on in our world and in lives around us all the time. Discerning spirits does not have to be devastating or detrimental but rather the launching pad for amazing breakthrough. I believe one of the most threatening things to the enemy is the gift of discernment and the discovery of how to walk in it. As this is understood, the intercession that accompanies it, grounded in truth and wisdom, will begin to shift lives, cities, and nations.
If you are feeling anxious or depressed don’t stop there and assume that it’s just you! Go to the Spirit and ask the Lord for wisdom. Seek healing, get grounded in truth, and learn how to partner with the great Intercessor, Jesus, to see His Kingdom come. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
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