Last night, for the third time in my life (AND in the last year), I had hands laid on me and was prayed over to receive the gift of tongues. Now, this subject deserves an entire conversation of its own, but I don’t have the time to do that now, so it’ll have to happen in a later post. (My apologies to those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about so far, this might be a hard post for you.) Last night, for the 3rd time in my life, I didn’t receive the gift. It’s pretty frustrating, really. I want it. All around me, I could hear people praying in tongues. If you’re not used to it, it can be quite unsettling, but it can also be sublimely beautiful. Oddly enough, last night it was neither for me. I’ve been at both ends of that spectrum but I guess I’m so
used hardened to it now, that it is what it is, just normal, I guess. That’s not good, I know, but that’s just what it was for me. That’s not how I want it to be though, I want the ecstasy, the electricity, I want to be overwhelmed by His love, I want to be emotionally overtaken with grace, I want the liberty. I know that it has to be more than an intellectual thing.
Theologically, I’m almost at the opposite end of the spectrum from being charismatic. For most of my life, I’ve hated how most [black] gospel music is showy, loud, shallow, emotional, and repetitive (like most black culture, actually). I
hate have a strong disdain for unbiblical (and unnecessary) practices and pomp without purpose. Stereotypically, most charismatic movements fall under this category, but not all do. And honestly, charismatic sounds like an unfair label, so I’ll just call them spirit-filled. Growing up in a relatively small, older, but energetic Baptist church and then spending the last 10 years at an evangelical non-denominational church with some Baptist vibes, I’ve had little experience with Pentecostalism or anything of the sort outside of TV preachers like him (turn your speakers down):
or him (watch to 1:30):
Now obviously, those are extreme examples, but those are what molded my early perspective on it. I know a little better now though. The Bible does validate the gift of tongues and the gifts of the Spirit, they are legit! There are just lots of people who aren’t… Just like anything else, I guess. Now that I know a number of people at my church and at various others who speak in tongues freely and believe in prophetic words and the like, and I’ve seen the fruit from it in my life, I want to experience it all firsthand. Something’s holding me back though, and I think it’s me.
Every time I’m prayed over, it gets to a point where they tell me to let go, to let go of everything. Apparently they always sense resistance, but as I start searching inside of myself for everything that could potentially be in the way, I come up empty-handed. It’s like there’s no light inside of me and so I can’t see anything and find the issue. The deeper into my mind I go, the more I feel like I haven’t gone anywhere. It’s like that endless staircase on Super Mario 64 where it feels like you’re going up higher and higher and higher, but as soon as you turn around, you find that you haven’t gone anywhere at all. As I searched my mind she started to prophesy over me about past hurts, and about how I’m a wounded warrior, and that I need to let this load off of my shoulders, and they even symbolically started pulling knives out of my back. All of this stuff was pertinent, but still as I prayed and sought God, I couldn’t find anything; nothing actually happened.
After a few more minutes it became obvious that it wasn’t working, so one of the women praying for me told me to stop thinking. Isn’t that impossible? Seriously, I’ve never done that before. Maybe I do think too much, but what is the alternative, really? I still don’t know. I suppose that its simply acting, but even as I did the only thing I knew how and prayed last night, nothing happened. I stopped and heard their prayers and agreed and started quoting scripture, passages (don’t just memorize verses, memorize passages, it’s so much more powerful!) and started trying to push in and let go, all futile. How could I not think? The situation demanded something and in order to find what it was I had to think about it and that’s probably why I failed… I don’t know.
Afterwards, I had several talks, and got several different opinions, but they all coincided in the fact that I’ve been hurt deeply and have erected some sort of wall or fortress inside of me. I can’t really remember anything really hurting me so long ago… I’ve been like this for almost as long as I can remember, but when I said so, one woman looked me straight in the face and told me that she didn’t believe me. I can’t count the times that I’ve said that exact same thing to people, and seen them start wrestling for the right thing to say. Now I don’t know… It occurred to me even then that I must look just like them, which means that she’s probably right. Damn. She also said that I’m like a brick, and that even while her hands were resting on me, searching me, all she could think is that I was way too stiff. They said a lot about how I’m strong in myself, but how I need God’s strength; and a lot about how I rely too heavily on my mind and think too much. I got some advice, and I kind of know where to go, but I’m still pretty lost. For the first time since I’ve been keeping this blog, I don’t really have a positive note to end on. It’s not that things are that horrible, it’s just that I don’t completely know what to think right now. Pray for me?