Suffering can advance you.

Dan Mohler has much more to say

IMG_0466If I recorded all of my racing thoughts, my thousands of questions I have on a daily basis, or typed up the stack of journals that are as tall as I am, I would still find new angles of argument to present to The Lord.  It seems that the more knowledge I am expected to aqcuire, the more I question those passing it off as such.  When I moved to Georgia it was for ministry purposes and to finish my book, but neither has happened because I need money to survive.  In choosing to fallback on my therapy and teaching background I enterd the school system and planned to have credentials retrieved so I could put some food on my table and maybe continue the pursuit of my writing.  The funny thing is, I would have stayed in the North if Daddy revealed what I was going to have to do for the things I believe in.  Funnier yet, I would have missed out on knowing what it is that I actually believe in.

Wasn’t it cult leaders like Charles Manson and other groups of 1978 who brainwashed their followers to committ murder?  I believe they all drank poison to commit suicide and skip out on facing consequences of sentencing for those they killed.  That’s where the term, “drinking the kool-aid” came from, so I find it a disservice when any system wants me to join it’s cause or else risk becoming an outsider.  I’d rather stand alone and for something, than drink the juice of another person’s campaign.  If you had asked me what  my beliefs were as a teacher 16 years ago, the starting point would have been the same as today, to educate young minds with knowledge of spiritual foundations behind their demograhic, religious  and relational conflict. But after walking away 15 years ago and returning just 1 year ago in a different culture, I would stick with relational conflict. I can sense abuse, neglect and trauma in others because I have studied the reactions of adults to simple questions pertaining to these issues.  What I have witnessed is a grave disproportional amount of people who follow someone else’s remedy for hostile topics instead of looking deeper within for a solution to toxic behavior. I carry a solution within my spirit and I intend to deliver it.

I remember being in grocery store lines as a young adult and watching parents go “goo goo ga ga” over their babies as if it was an invitation for me to chime in.  I never did because I didn’t want to respond to people out of courtesy.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked babies, I just questioned the adults who had them.  Stay with me here,  I”m revealing a perspective that comes from a child who’s basic needs of trust were assaulted by abuse.  In my mind, children were miserable and subjected to those they were left in the care of.  I had my first suicide attempt at age 7, and asked to die in my sleep on a regular basis, because the adults in my life crossed boundaries of all kinds and introduced me to pain I assumed all children suffered through.  I believed parents were the problem, but now as an adult, I understand that solutions come to pass when I stand in the gap for lack of parenting.

For decades I have studied numerous ministries that require a recipient of prayer to “just receive” as the one who prays, petitions the Lord for insight on how to best help the person before her.  I understand this approach because it does work when Holy Spirit initiates it, but she can get lost in the midst if the one praying usurps revelation from heaven because one interjects with knowledge from a natural standpoint.  Depending on whatever ministry she sits under, she may adapt more to that style and reject previous insight gained from other streams of belief.  I was this type of believer prior to deliverance.  I sought out relief from emotional pain so desperately that I would learn the application of  a ministry, study it and apply it until I grew weary.  Daddy however, was setting me up for numerous ways to help myself and others based on individual need, because He created us all to relate to His healing, personally.  After I was delivered prophetically, I could utilize all of the other paths I took for freedom with a much higher success rate of personal relief from a history of suffering.  My resources of prayer approach had multiplied substantially.

Where there is a need for emotions to rise up in order to face a past memory, like in Theophostic prayer ministry, this method requires time best utilized as a counseling session.  On the streets when doing evangelism it would be too lengthy because emotions need to unlock clues to lies that the person believes.  An approach that brings a quicker response to prayer might be leading the person into an exchange of fear for faith like in the Wellsprings ministry model, where the recipient gets prayer over the time period that problems first arose.  Different tools of understanding need to be used for the sake of honoring the recipient.  And almost always, application of knowledge should be presented differently to children than adults.  The best rule of thumb for prayer over touchy subjects is to treat every one as a child, because, unless they have dealt with emotional wounds from childhood, they most likely are responding today from what they have already lived through.  I educate my students all the time about what other people’s behaviors can reveal about the level of inner pain they carry.  Spiritual insight is really tapping into what lie is behind choice, speech and action people take. Once you pay attention to what Daddy is revealing, you can follow Holy Spirits lead and wipe out all human wisdom as you lift up to heaven your hunch and wait for His confirmation.  If what you sense, feel or know grows stronger or doesn’t leave, then you pray for the person in confidence that He wants to heal that matter.

Unfortunately, popular belief seems to be that those who appear stronger, don’t rock the boat, keep their cool at all times, support the systems at large or seek positive energy are better off because they contain their emotions.  I am not such a person.  

I had to be as a child, because I could not smile without being told to stop acting silly, or if I cried I was told I would get something more to cry about, but my fear of “being in the way” was a lie that motivated me to control my circumstances. I believe that’s why I sought prayer from those I assumed had more peace than I did. I’m making up for lost time now; helping others get underneath a facade of respectable emotions and encourage them to use their words and let them linger in the air for a minute.  If you despise your job and the people you work with, I get it, but how does that pain from hating your job motivate you?  Do you endure, fight or plan an escape route?  I have done all three and sometimes for years at a time until I got fed up with wearing suffering as a badge.

It doesn’t matter if you endure, fight or leave a situation to never return, but it does matter what you believe about yourself through it.  Point being, Daddy doesn’t waste anything and it’s all a learning experience.  Emotions drive our thoughts which then cause us to act out on behaviors.  If we had a richer rolodex of words to pull from to describe past hurts, we could reduce much of our current pain by expounding on emotional foundations and dismantling the lies they hold.  

What happened between you and your mom when she left?  Did you internalize worthlessness, rejection or confusion?  What have you believed about yourself since that moment?  I’m a wordsmith and I love definitions of words because I can grow my vocabulary and teach on multiple ways to communicate feelings.  Children, regardless of age, have limited understanding of why they had to endure a hardship, much less choose adjectives that pinpoint an overwhelming amount of messages that the enemy laces with lies.  Dealing with a 6 year old isn’t as different as dealing with a 60 year old if that adult has never looked at or described the pain he suffered at age 6.

Recently I was teaching at a middle school where lessons could not get finished because of so many discipline problems in the classroom.  After a week I decided to take a popular rap song, “Straight outta Compton” and clean up the lyrics for my inner city Savannah students because they preferred to cuss and carry on instead of doing work.  I gave the example and set the precedent for them to offer solutions to the problems they face in the “hood” instead of  focusing on suffering. They had two days to use challenging vocabulary that we had discussed, remove offensive language and derogatory implication toward any people group.

I taught on the possibility of “Using your Writing to Heal, Not Hate”, in hopes that I could reach just one child for the sake of their emotional expression to tell a story.  It worked.  I had attention from my entire sixth grade class and I allowed them to rap in front of their classmates and share their personal stories.  This entire time, I was being prepared for my own lesson.  With every new idea, a new challenge will arise.

I noticed the countenance on many of the other teacher’s faces.  They were fed up with the system and it’s demands on them rising, while the standards of those they taught continued to be lowered.  I was in the midst of emotional turbulence; observing the outbursts of my students with demanding teachers who corrected me during instruction and those I taught simultaneously. All the while I had to submit to those in full time positions even when the adults were adding to my students problems.  My students who shunned me in the beginning based on the color of my white skin, realized I understood, that devaluing people hinders productivity.  It was a constant tug of war to implement character and honor principles within my classroom when I was considered an outsider due to my temporary position. The parental problem was seeping into the foundation of this three year old school that simply relocated onto different soil but maintained the same mindset of entitlement it always had.  The struggle was real and I felt buried alive under programs and plans that made no deposit into a child’s future.  Nobody wanted to admit an emotional problem existed.

Due to the reality that riots could break out at any minute on school grounds between students, it often left open-ended opportunity for parents to influence the final outcome through ignorance and prejudice.  I listened to the horror stories of teachers having to defend their position for a disciplinary action, and I watched as students blatantly threatened the jobs of those same teachers.  Gone are the incentives to become a teacher when the role is undercut and manipulated by a system pimping people for profit; allowing education to become a business and threaten those employed with fear of demotion or job loss.  The parents are not able to use emotional description when attacking a teacher because it’s easier to pepper statements of accusation along with the “F” word.  I watched how everyone was suffering.  Even my little breakthrough with one sixth grade class wasn’t enough to sustain hope on a daily basis.

In listening to another teacher share of her struggles to make ends meet as a student bragged about his mother earning over $45,000 a year due to welfare and government assistance, I felt her pain.  With tears streaming down my face, I emphasized with her growing questions toward God for the injustice she was trapped in.  “How can I have a degree and teach children who are learning the opposite of what I say in their homes?  It’s not worth the little I earn to be subjected with threats of losing a job that doesn’t even pay my bills and increases my responsibilities for people who don’t even take any of their own?”  I commiserated with her and shared my own testimony of being expendable as a substitute, often misquoted and hurt by the very children I hope to inspire.  I reminded her however, of Daddy’s ability to reveal truth in every circumstance and that, although the district our school is in  caters to a demographic who live for free, they are still in prison.  “To remain on subsidy isn’t a privilege, believing a lie on any level wouldn’t be our first choice, but most don’t ask for something different if what they know seems easy”, I said.  With that, she re-coiled and took in a quick gasp.  She assumed I was revoking her first incentive to become a teacher and that indeed she wasn’t prejudice, nor unhappy.  In my shocked state I slowly stood up and explained I was just re-stating her struggle and trying to show my understanding of it.  The conversation abruptly ended, and we both walked away.

I drove in silence, fuming for about ten minutes, wiping away the tears that were stinging my face.  Then I just blurted out every thought and feeling I had aside from bashing the steering wheel that I wanted to rip out from the console.  “Are you serious Lord, what the hell is going on in the South?  How do people accept drinking and prejudice as a  way of life, it’s oppression!  To say, ‘I’m choosing to drink because ‘I’m on Island time’, is oppression and denial.  Why am I in an environment that doesn’t know how to receive love and healing?  I’m so tired of being called a liar when I’m speaking the truth, it’s just like your Word says, the truth will be labeled deception.  I am misunderstood and still a scapegoat!  Haven’t I been the scapegoat long enough?  What about deliverance?  Where the hell has that gotten me?  I feel so manipulated, violated, sorrowful, disillusioned, disappointed, alone, scared of my future, trapped, and unable to be seen or heard for what I truly am.  Am I supposed to dumb myself down to fit in with the status quo?  I can’t!  Why would I lower my convictions for a level of complacency?  How can my words of empathy become twisted and contorted to make me look like the ass?  I’m done with this place.  I’m done with these people.  I don’t care”.  And I went home and went to bed, much like the prophets who ranted about being the only one left in the land and then wanting to die.

I welcomed this teacher the following morning and she whispered, “You should let go of your troubles, forgive and move on because it’s not good to talk things”.  After coughing my instinctive rebuttal back down my throat, I let her walk away and out of my life.  That was it, I was definitely choosing to flee the situation because fighting to be heard would be pointless.  She has drank the kool-aid and has nothing I want.  Maybe if she represented a strong suit in an area of character, I’d give a conversation another whirl, but nope, not down here where the cost of being real is too great for the commoner.  I’m gonna go finish out this assignment and be done in a week, maybe sooner if I feel backed into a corner anymore than I already do.

I broke out my handy-dandy notebook of scripture references on Job to collect myself and golly gee, look what I stumbled upon, “Job rages against this secularized wisdom that has lost touch with the living realities of God.  He rejects the kind of advice and teaching that has God all figured out, that provides glib explanations for every circumstance.  Job’s honest defiance continues to be the best defense against the cliché’s of positive thinkers and the prattle of religious small talk.”  That there, was the commentary I thought hilarious enough to write down so I could reflect on in moments like this.  I needed the encouragement, otherwise I would risk responding to the kids like the other teachers do, with lips pressed tight together for respectful silence while migraines and beads of sweat assault their heads.

I had two final days to do so, because on the fourth day of that week I had a visitor.  It was a disgruntled child who learned of the term bullying from the administration and didn’t like my telling him to go to the afterschool program, hence I bullied him, and his mama was here to ask why.  At this point my emotions were spent, I had no gumption to lie to this woman and say anything about wanting to make sure she felt better.  I simply had lost energy to play the game, drink the juice or become part of a system that hurt its own, so I said, “It’s hard enough doing my job without having to fight for it.  It’s not worth it to me.  This district won’t even clear my certification so I’m making equivalent to a grocery store Bagger to put up with threats all day, and then re-grouping through prayer every night before I set foot in this parking lot.  I didn’t bully your son, but you do what you need to do.”  Because I already knew that she was just getting information to prove my hostility.

And that she did.  By the afternoon I was in the Principal’s office required to put in writing why I did not appease the parent and do everything within my effort to smooth over the situation.  I simply stated, “I did that everyday for three weeks with the child and when the parent arrived on the scene, I was simply emotionally wasted.”  My dismissal from the school was granted by Friday, just two days shy of my initial contract, but what a relief it was.  I got a chance to leave, but I feel sorry for the teachers who have to stay because they are full time or otherwise just too scared to venture into something that could fulfill them.  I knew it was important to see the way that this system differs from Maryland, for I am always shown by Daddy what NOT to do, but the whole experience left me questioning myself, and my reactions, but most of all, my purpose.

I had become so conflicted with the call on my life and the sheer frustration of trying to fill it, that I “fell back” on a system doomed to fail me emotionally in the first place.  I love teaching but have never bought into the idea that I need a degree to prove that I’m a great teacher.  Because I have traveled and seen miracles and studied so many ministries I fundamentally know that obtaining a paper as proof of my qualifications is something I just don’t give a rip about anymore.  My life experience, it’s very deep valleys and long mountaintop treks to stand on the peak of attainment for a moment, are more truth imbedded than any text I could study.  My counselors at the Center of Eating Disorders never struggled with starvation or throwing up, my nursing professors never taught about spiritual connection to sickness, my church never understood deliverance, and most Christians think I’m too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. Hog wash.  I’m good.  My suffering because of the dismissal of other’s has only re-iterated how profoundly different Daddy has made me.  So what if others don’t understand me, I know He does.

The point of my journey on this earth is to reject the quick-fix counsel of others who see and hear me but do not understand me.  None of us are alike, if we each have our own fingerprints than that gives us a clue about how different we are supposed to be.  It has even made me grateful for the way the Lord gets me out of a box.  I try my damnest to work within the confines of a box that I find myself placed in, but if after I continually try to conform and can’t, I trust Daddy is cool with me busting down the sides of that box and crawling out.  And crawling I have done.  It hasn’t been a cake walk as many of you know, but what the enemy wanted to discourage me with, Daddy has made my footstool that I get to propel forward from.

I don’t have to be like evryone else and neither do you.  Part of finding my niche in society has evolved by being failed by it.  Nothing that Daddy has called me to fits inside any agenda of this world so I will continue to be disappointed if I place my hope in it or others.  Many people don’t want to change, or if they do, they simply don’t know how.  Speaking honestly about emotions and using it toward healing is a new concept to professionals and scholars alike, but necessary nonetheless.  Because there wasn’t much I liked about myself for so long, I was searching any avenue of changing me without utilizing Holy Spirit as my guide. To remain the same seemed stagnent, and according to other believers, it was back sliding.  This constant need to reach all my dreams spurred me on to make up for lost time.  In racing against the clock, I pawned my dreams off on others, wanting anyone to affirm that I could bring these passions within my heart into reality.  Unfortunately, I didn’t adapt to life in the manner that most ministries, businesses, or systems would call amicable.  However, that is the beauty of it all.  Sameness sucks and even though I got pushed out of a lot of “circles” and felt rejected, I know what not to do.

  1.  Allow yourself to be angry or obsess.  Forget about the respectful presence keeping in the sight of others.  If your struggling against the grain it’s for a reason. Don’t make things worse by hating yourself for being where you are in life.
  2. Drop what isn’t essential in your life.  I tried selling jewelry but couldn’t compete with wholesalers so now I use my designs as handmade gifts with lots of meaning.  I couldn’t afford my car so I took a risk with bad credit and turned that sucker back into the financial authorities.  I wasn’t going to endorse a faulty school system by joining it as the ship was sinking, so I accepted being paid as a substitute without my college pay-grade, surrendered my certification application and started enjoying my present state.

Day by day seek God.  I just knew I was growing closer to Daddy as I slowed down to accept myself instead of change myself.  If He has given me passion to do things for His Kingdom He would need me healed up first.  I had seen successful business owners go into mid-life crisis just after the height of their success because they never looked into past abuse, trauma or lies from childhood.  I had to trust that my inner healing was an imperative foundation to build my dreams upon as I put the responsibility of it all back in His hands.  I have felt something happening, a hidden growth going on in my spirit the moment I valued my differences.                                               

So go forth and be encouraged that your past does not project your future, Daddy does.  It is the responsibility of our loving Father to show Himself true in our lives and in the lives of others, it is paramount however, that you get a spiritual revelation of your own suffering first, because it could be the very healing that this world needs. 

One thought on “Suffering can advance you.

  1. Wow.
    So much going on.
    Good intentions lead to hell?
    Sign me on that petition.
    I recommend reading Buddhist writing on compassion towards self without it nothing is possible.
    Still working on my masterpiece. Bob Dylan and John Lennon wrote about god and pain and the confusion.
    Feeling too much is a pain,allow yourself the comfort zone of not thinking not feeling sometimes. It is your right to check out of a sold system. Read James Mcbride and understand the background. Personal history should not predict your future but it too often does. It is possible to break the pattern and say no to pain.


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