The world can be a cruel place. It can bring about the ugliest in people, in turn bringing out the ugliest in us all due to judgment, confusion, and just plain unwillingness to love.
I lived like this for a sum total of six years of my life before coming to Christ. I allowed myself to be embraced by the world in such a way, that – when I embraced it back – I did so with an ugliness in my heart.
When I was in my mid-teens I found myself beginning to be jaded with the Jewish religion – so by the time I was 20 and met my boyfriend (now husband of 12 years), I had had my fill of the Jewish religion. I was tired of trying to find out who God was, because I was just tired of the default answer of, “That’s just the way things are," from any teacher or Rabbi I had spoken with.
How I did this was by embracing a life of Paganism. I lived my life, fully and very publicly, as a practicing Wiccan – a Witch. No, not the kind of Witch you read about in Harry Potter or The Wizard of Oz. Practicing Witches in real life don’t conjure up spells than can transfigure, make things disappear, or make things come about out of thin air. Sure you get your wild, crazy stories from some who claim to have done such things – but sincerely, it’s really all just a bunch of hocus pocus on that level.
Practicing Witchcraft is a lifestyle – much like living a Christian life. It’s a chosen mindset, and mindset dictates the way we function in our lives. Due to my dismay with the Jewish religion, my embracing Witchcraft into my life was basically my way of saying to God, “Since you didn’t answer me, I will figure this life thing out on my own.” It was my proverbial middle finger pointed up in His direction mocking Him all the way to the moon and back.
Yet, after living a Pagan-based life for about 4 years – I once again found myself dismayed at the religion I was following. I wanted to know more. I wanted to go deeper.
And I did – in the wrong direction.
I began to work with what many in this world would consider “the dark side.” I won’t bore (or confuse) you with minute details – but in summation, I was beginning to work with a side of Witchcraft that most of my Pagan friends constantly warned me to stay away from. Why? Because it was very negative. Yet, due to my dismay once again, and having a thirst for knowledge, I dug my heels deep into it and I took the leap into the darkest abyss spiritually that I had ever known.
What shook me out of it was finding myself celebrating the Winter Solstice with a group of Pagans in late 2002. The repercussions of that night left me physically ill for 5 days (without any medical explanation) - which lead me to know I was spiritually attacked for the first time in my life and my body was responding to the spiritual affliction.
The details beyond this moment are deep, but the whole point here is this – I learned that 10 times out of 10 when we think we know what we’re getting ourselves into without the direction of God, we will always wind up paying severe consequences for it. He won’t let us be destroyed, not by a long shot; but He will let us live through the consequences of a life lived without Him involved in it – and it will hurt deeply.
The wisdom I have to impart on you all today is this – even as a Christian, don’t forgo your life without getting God in the mix of every part of it. It’s not easy, because we humans are hardwired by nature to go against God – but the hardwiring that goes much deeper than that, the creation He made us to be, craves this kind of connection with Him. It takes intentionality on our parts to make this connection – and once it’s made, what a beautiful life you will live (even in the cruddiest of moments).