I haven’t prayed in two weeks. Each day has felt like I am two steps behind each commitment. I have begun to feel as if shalom, wholeness, and a shared peace is dangling just outside of my grasp. When I try to reach for it, my arms, my body and my heart are too heavy. I can’t bring myself to jump rope, to endure.
“Read Ephesians 6:10. Consider the foundation of this endeavor and in whose power and strength you will rely on to wrestle the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms.”
I am realizing that wrestling with the spiritual world is not another project with a tidy start and end date. These forces move through time, yes, but also beyond time and have distinct and specific dynamics that have plagued people since the beginning. How long has envy been around? How long has fear roamed our hearts?
“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. This battle isn’t just about people not getting along at some point in history.”
There is a scary moment after I recognize the power of my opponent's force, but before I experience the faith that there is something greater than that force. That dark moment is quietly extended when there is a laundry list of other important things to do. An unrecognized dread grows as I gloss over the struggle by making more appointments and busying myself.
I sat down with the trainers, and we plotted a way forward to win the match. I was honest with them about where I was at and they decided to have a meeting the next day without me. I thought this was wise.
But even before I shared my state, Gmoe said with a smile at the beginning of our gathering, “Freedom”. And he said it in that way in which everyone knows he would like to speak on it.
Now, in my mind, as we sat on the porch overlooking our street, preparing to map out a strategy, “Freedom” was not necessarily on topic. But it seemed he sensed that it was late on Sunday night and people needed to get home to bed, so he didn’t elaborate further on the point, but afterwards he sent me a text with the following training instructions:
“Go in a dark room (pitch black), meditate and feel comfortable in that place. Get rid of all fears. Make movements. Focus on the Lord and whatever he tells you. Feel comfortable in complete silence.
Direction: For freedom in mind spirit body and heart.
Do this daily…”
So I did it.
In the silence of the darkened attic space, moments after the self conscious movement of my body transitioned into a comfortable prostrate pose with my hands reaching toward the ceiling, which later transitioned into 30 pushups, which later transitioned into an upward rubbing of my chest that resulted in several unintended gags, I realized that I had stopped trying to fight time.
In the prostrate pose I experienced a connection to my inability and the rest of God.
In the pushups I experienced a small addictive taste of endurance through action.
In the upward rubbing of my chest I could feel a ruler and power moving up out of my body. I thought I was going to throw up, twice. But I didn’t.
The lessons seemed backwards:
Tired? Work out.
Too busy? Lay on the floor in the dark.
Wrestling darkness? Try darkness!
I had spent two weeks afraid of wasting time, reaching outside of myself for a distant peace, but on the floor in the dark, those fears loosed, and I felt God in the time I had been trying to save.