If you are having waves of stress from all the uncertainties in the world, can you imagine how children feel? JOY is essential in this hour!!!!!
Some of you are deeply conflicted in your parenting because you have gone from authoritative control-based parenting to heart connection-based parenting, and I dare say BOTH are out of alignment. If connection is your GOAL, then you will lay down your God-given authority over the fear of breaking connection with your child. Say Johnny wants a cookie before dinner, and you say no, and he throws himself into a fit on the floor. Your NO isn’t breaking the connection; his flesh and lack of self-control are breaking the connection. You do not give in just to keep the connection going. You parent him with your authority by standing firm in your no, give him compassion for his devastation that he can’t have what he wants when he wants it, then connect to his heart and TEACH him how to have more self-control (and the right responses when you tell him no). But if your only goal is connection, you will forgo the character training EVERY CHILD needs because you are terrified of breaking connection.
Connection is not my goal – raising strong, healthy children is, and that requires character training of their flesh. I use connection as the vehicle to get to their heart (rather than control and fear), but it is not my #1 goal. Can you see the difference?
As a new believer, I was a part of a church that I loved. I loved the leadership, community, and movement. But when we began to worship, I would be plagued with thoughts of how the pastor didn’t want me there. I battled it in my mind thinking I had some hidden insecurity. It was so bad one week that I went to ask a mentor for prayer. In the middle of worship, she brought me to the head pastor and said, “Lisa is struggling with thoughts that you don’t want her here.” I felt a little exposed and silly as he assured me there was room for me. I was able to receive that, but I had to work hard to maintain it. I began to associate going to that church with the incredible challenge it was just to feel ‘fine.’ Years later, I endured the same thing nearly every single week at another church. I hated those thoughts as that was not how I felt as I walked in, yet the moment the worship started, so did my thoughts of not being wanted in that house. I felt like I was a wedding crasher showing up at a church not knowing the bride or groom and like I had no right to be there. It wasn’t until years later I discovered that this is a real demonic spirit called ‘imposter syndrome’ which whispers to you that you are phony, do not belong where you are, and, at any moment, someone is going to call you out for not really belonging there. It tells you that you have no right to be called, included, or seen. It is hard to feel connected, safe, and secure with this lying spirit. Why did I battle this at these two locations and not others? Because the spirit was present in that church. Someone needed to discern it, and then someone in authority needed to deal with it. Yes, I had authority over it speaking to me, but it had a legal right in the house to speak to those present and needed to be dealt with on a corporate level. While it was not ‘in’ me, but rather around me, due to my lack of understanding, I was plagued with wondering what was wrong with me. And all be it, so did scores of others.
If you are plagued with these thoughts in your community, check how you are feeling before you walk in. If you walk in feeling like you don’t belong, it could be a soul issue that needs some additional healing from your previous experiences. However, if you are fine walking in and then suddenly attacked with these thoughts, I suggest you find someone who understands the spiritual realm, and you share with them what you are discerning. Your church leadership has authority over this and can pray against it.
Discerning the spirit or atmosphere is not the same as being judgemental. However, someone immature in that gift will feel like they are being judgemental. The enemy will attempt to shut it down through condemnation and whispers of accusation. “You are sooooo judgemental.” When you have eyes that see something, ask Jesus, “Jesus, is this from within me or around me?” If it is within you, deal with it as a character issue of judgment or a critical spirit. If it is around you, then you are operating in the GIFT of discerning things, and that is something God wants you to grow in learning how to use that gift. He doesn’t allow you to see or feel something to crush you. He is inviting you to partner with what He wants to do through you in the world around you.
A mom shares: “One day in our church nursery, I was rocking two very unhappy babies and tending to three needy preschool children. All five of them were loudly voicing their sadness the way babies and preschoolers sometimes do. In the complete opposite spirit, I began singing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’, and peace began to infiltrate the atmosphere. The preschoolers began to sing with me, and complete peace came. Only minutes later, a dad came to pick up his child and said, ‘Wow! It is so peaceful in here.’ I love it when Holy Spirit shifts the atmosphere, and we get to partner with Him to bring heaven to earth!”
Picture walking into a friend’s house who just had a big fight with her husband. Now picture walking into a friend’s house who just got engaged. Both homes would carry an atmosphere – one would be uptight and anxious and the other full of joy. You would FEEL it before you knew the circumstances. In both situations, the atmosphere you feel is NOT YOU, but the events that just occurred. Many are feeling the ATMOSPHERE of dread, worry, anxiety, fear, and frustration, but that does not mean it is YOU. I often say to my children, “That is coming ON you. It is not coming from WITHIN you.” Why is this important? Because we can allow the atmosphere of the world to become ours when we partner with it, OR you can choose not to. Yes, we are in very uncertain times, but the weight of the world is not on you to carry. You can keep your peace, joy, and clarity even in the midst of the storm. Take a deep breath. You are going to be okay. You have what it takes to overcome. You can do this. Peace is a choice.
I often tell parents to go soak in His presence until their heart and mind are filled with Him. A child doesn’t need to do the same to be impacted by the atmosphere of His presence. They will come under yours. Could you imagine teenagers walking in from school and getting hit with an atmosphere so filled with love that it influences how they behave? This is the power of God that moves through us as parents as we seek Him in our homes.
There is so much going on in the spiritual realm. If you are feeling overwhelmed, defeated, or like quitting, it is not you!!! This is a classic case of “on you, not in you.” Use your authority against it, and do not partner with it.
As my children wrote their Christmas lists, I began to think of the gifts I wanted to give them. God had been highlighting to me that the gift of discernment is going to be essential in the days to come. It is just that – a gift. We don’t earn it, but we can ask for it. The Word says many will fall away because they could not discern (tell the difference between) what is not of the Lord. They will embrace what feels or sounds right, even though it is from the wrong kingdom. They will fail to walk in discernment. God does not look at the outward but rather at the heart. The gift of discernment is the pair of eyeglasses that helps us to see what He sees. The antichrist spirit will, at times, look, sound, and feel so close to the real thing but must be discerned as a counterfeit. Parents, go after asking for an increased measure of discernment for each of your family members.
HOW TO TEACH DISCERNMENT – Go to the local craft store and purchase a fake apple, lemon, or banana. Then purchase from the grocery store one that looks similar. Call a family meeting and blindfold the kids. Make it fun and silly. Set before them each fruit and ask them to feel them. Which one should they eat? Move the fruit away from them across the room and have them take off their blindfold. Now ask them which one will nourish their bodies. Bring them to your children and liken the gift of discernment to that game. God will tell us deep inside of us what is true and what is fake. What is holy and what is unholy. What is right and what is wrong. What is from our Father and what is from the father of lies. Spend some time praying for an increased gift of discernment for each family member.
In the days ahead, practice discerning things as a family. **Increase exercises in “Let’s ask Jesus.” **Ask, “What is Holy Spirit showing you about that?” **Check your gut – how are you feeling? Then walk into a store or new atmosphere and check your gut again – how are you feeling? We can discern the atmosphere by paying attention to what it feels like. I was fine in the car, but I felt afraid and worried as soon as we walked into this store. Discernment lets you know it isn’t you but the atmosphere.
How many of you have had some unpretty moments of your mouth releasing things that you later regretted? YEP! I know because many parents have confessed this to me. I want to share something if this is you. There is so much gossip, hatred, wickedness, strife, offense, and slander being released IN the atmosphere.
Picture it like a spray bottle or someone sneezing. If you were to walk by as the water droplets were being released, the water would get on you, and you would now be wet. The water is not coming from WITHIN you; it is coming ON you.
In this hour, there is a real temptation to partner with the venting and releasing. Sadly, children often get the brunt of it. I need not tell many of you how powerful the atmosphere has been. You are called by your Father to use that tongue of yours to declare LIFE, PEACE, TRUTH, and FREEDOM. If the kingdom of darkness is felt, I can assure you how much more powerful the Kingdom of God is to change the atmosphere.
As God was showing this to me, I sensed Him reveal that many have used such sharp words that have caused you to move behind guilt and shame. This is the strategy of the enemy to cripple and render you powerless in this hour. If this is you and you have sinned with your speech and anger, REPENT – go low – confess it to God – make it right with the hearts you have hurt, and then use that tongue of yours to speak life, peace, truth, and freedom. Open your mouth again, and do not allow yourself to be sidelined because you came UNDER something that is not you.