God, yesterday I felt like the world was going to shut down on me, I felt like ‘what’s the point’…about pretty much everything in my life. But God, should I even be having this conversation right now, or something else?
God, I think I just made that up, I don’t think you said that?
It was me.
No God, I think I made it up! I think that was me, not you. I think it’s just because I want to have a conversation about this. I’ve been wanting to since yesterday.
I said it Mark, you didn’t make it up.
Are you sure?
Mark, the reason you’ve been wanting to have a conversation about it, is I’ve been encouraging you to do so.
Ok, alright, but I don’t feel like that anymore. I was feeling like total crap, man it was bad, but the feeling’s gone.
Yes, it has. Why?
Because I did something about it.
Did it work right away?
No. Well, maybe it did? I’m not sure, but it didn’t ‘feel’ like it worked right away.
It did work right away.
Honestly. Mark, feelings like that take a little longer to go away than the problem they grow out of. Feelings aren’t the thing, they’re the result of the thing, the sign to you that the thing exists. Pain from a burn isn’t the problem, the problem is the burn, the feelings warn you to pull your hand away.
Ok, cool. Well, now that I’m having this conversation I’m not sure why I am, because I’m not feeling like that anymore.
No, but having this conversation will teach you, and those who read it, what to do when you feel like total crap. So what did you do to solve the problem?
God, you did NOT just say total crap!
Actually I did. You’re scurrying off to find that verse about ‘coarse language’, but Mark what it’s talking about is obscenity - ‘crap’, is another term for poo and is not obscene in your society. You Christians don’t use it in church, but you use it all the time in daily life. I’m that same Jesus who cursed the fig tree just because it didn’t give me fruit. Was that a little excessive? In some eyes yes, so can we move along? What did you do to solve the problem?
Well God, let’s be honest, it wasn’t quite as organised and calm as you’re making it sound. ‘Solve the problem’ doesn’t do it justice really. The truth is that I sort of screamed out to you, a bit panicked, a bit pissed off - I felt like I was going down the gurgler.
Sure. You’re human, Mark, not a computer - it doesn’t come out all organised. You forget that you can’t be God, only I can do that. You’re far better off sticking to being human, and human isn’t perfect - human is bloody, smelly, mixed up, emotional, and from my point of view, absolutely perfect. Mark, I don’t want you to be God, there are three of us already, plenty to go around, we want you to be human, you do a much better job of that.
Really God? We get taught you're not very happy with the job we do.
Hmmm… I’ll give you a more accurate translation of a pivotal scripture; ‘For God so highly esteemed the world that he gave his only son’. Highly esteemed! We’re not nearly so unhappy with you as you think - you all need a better grip of the truth, Mark. We created you with the idea of expansion and multiplication, and as far as we’re concerned, the more of you the better. Papa’s immortal words in Paul Young's The Shack, are much closer to the truth about how I feel about you all, “I am especially fond of you”.
Ok well, God, aren’t we meant to be talking about the way I felt yesterday?
We are. Among other things.
We’ve already touched on some of them, others can wait for a moment. There's something you need to know about yesterday, actually a couple of things that are particularly important.
Really? This is honestly important? Now that it's over I’m feeling a bit embarrassed, God. I was a bit of a cot case yesterday, I certainly wouldn't have wanted to tell anyone the way I was feeling. I thought, well, like I said, I thought I was being a bit of a cry baby, like I should just suck it up and get on with things.
That doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to deal with the cause. So how did the conversation between you and me go when you ‘screamed out’ for help?
Well I told you that I felt like…
You ‘told’ me?? You just said that you screamed.
Well ok, I might have overdramatised that a bit. I didn’t actually scream, in fact there wasn't anything verbal at all, I just wrote to you like I’m doing here and you gave me the words to write back for your part of the conversation. I started writing in faith, just like I’m doing here and you gave me the words as I wrote.
Good, ok so you wrote your question to me. What did you write?
That I was feeling like total crap. Shoot, God, do you really want me to post this? I’m not sure they’ll allow it, I’ve used that term umpteen times already.
I’ve used it too, don’t worry about it. Just carry on. What did I say when you asked me what to do?
You showed me that those feeling came from a dark force. I’m not sure, but I think you said demon?
I said demon.
So demon is the best description?
Actually no, but that’s the word you like to use to describe a spiritual force of evil, so I went with it. We can talk another time about the actual beings, and how to determine which are demons, fallen angels, strongmen, principalities, powers etc. But for now, ‘demon’ will do fine.
Are you sure God, it seems a bit loose. Don’t we have to be accurate to fight him, you know, dot all the ‘i’s and cross the ’t's?
Satan tells you that to scare you off. But that's just his propaganda. I make the rules, Mark, not Religion and actually I make very few of them. People have been driving back all sorts of evil and simply referring to it as ‘Satan’ or ‘the Devil' for centuries and I’m relaxed about that. Even though there is only one Satan and he can't be everywhere at once, I’m happy enough to overlook your ignorance in favour of backing your enthusiasm.
Ok, you told me the reason I felt so terrible was because a demon was telling me to feel like that, whispering thoughts of despair and hopelessness in my ear and because his lies felt like…
‘Lies’ doesn’t really do it justice, Mark. Your own description is closer to it. His ‘crap’ made you feel like total crap, and don’t get prudish on me, this is important.
Really God, I like it when you talk like this, but is this is really you?
Ok so why is this bit so important?
Mark, when he tells you crap it sticks to you, so understandably you feel like crap.
God, this is never going to get through, they’ll never let me post this. And I feel sorry for the naysayers, they’re way too stuffy to allow you to say words like that. Particularly if you keep saying it like you have here.
You’ll be surprised at who enjoys this conversation, Mark.
Ok carry on, God.
He tells you all sorts of rubbish so you feel like rubbish, but the point, Mark, is this, I told you something else which was the real secret to how you defeated him. I gave you insight to his method.
Ok, well what you said, (as if you need to know)…
You need to know, Mark, and so do your readers.
Ok but, God, I think you’re also saying I need to point out that it was critical that first I asked you what to do.
Yes, in the midst of your panic you sat down and wrote out your questions to me and wrote back my answers, just like you’re doing now. If you don’t ask, you’ll often not hear. You asked and then wrote down my answer without waiting for it to come. That’s so important for people to grasp.
If they want to hear me more than they do now, they need to twist my arm, articulate what I’m saying, grab and reveal to themselves what I’m saying - write, speak, think, sing, whatever works for you, reach out, take and give shape to my words, in some way, BEFORE they come. That’s faith.
Mark, I cannot force myself on you. It has unfortunate long term results. Relationship cannot survive if either of us applies force. The delicate dance of friendship, with anyone, God included, requires choice. Relationship must always be built on choice and never compulsion or force. It never works any other way.
Alright, God, shall I say what you told me to do when I asked why I was feeling so terrible?
Please?? You said please God?
Yes, why not? I’m not rude.
Ok you showed me that the demon had made me feel like rubbish and yet not about anything in particular…
Exactly, that’s the key bit I want you to be aware of Mark. He makes you feel like rubbish about nothing in particular. Repeat that for me please so you get it burned into your mind.
Ok. He makes me feel like rubbish about nothing in particular.
Great Mark, do you know why he does that?
You told me yesterday when I asked, God. You explained that he wants me to feel that way because…
Well no, you’ve told me this lots of times before.
Yes, but you need to ask again and again. Humanity requires constant reminders and reassurance. That’s fine, it’s how I made you. It ensures you need relationship, with each other and with me.
Alright so what you pointed out was that he makes me feel terrible about nothing in particular, just sort of terrible about everything because…
Yes, Mark. This is absolutely critical.
Ok well, you told me the reason that he makes me feel that way about everything, but nothing in particular, is that he’s setting me up to ruin my own day, which is far more destructive than him ruining it for me.
He gets me feeling generally awful about nothing in particular, so that as each new situation comes into my mind, those feelings attach themselves to it and pretty soon I’m feeling like every single thing in my life, all the things I’ve been thinking about, are all total crap.
Yes. Mark, his rubbish sticks to everything. So what’s the answer?
When I recognise that I’m feeling that way, I need to deal with it right there, rather than wait for it to start sticking to everything.
Tell him, command him to bugger off, ‘cut the crap’ and go and suffer in darkness somewhere. Right then. Don’t let the feeling build up and get traction.
Actually no. You told me that the moment I recognise I’m feeling that way, I need to have a proper back and forth conversation with you and get the specific, blow by blow details, of how to deal with this particular author of misery.
That I need to write, speak, think, sing, dance, (whatever works for me) back your answers so I know exactly what you’re telling me to do to him, right then. No waiting around for your answer to float through the universe. I need it then, like David did, ‘The day I cried out you answered me’…
Yes. You need to ask me, in conversation, how to deal with him and then write, speak, think, sing, play, dance, draw etc - whatever works for you – my answers back to yourself. Just start articulating my words and I’ll give you more as you do. And then, follow the suggestions I make.
You need to dispatch him to wherever I say. Do it in conversation, “God shall I tell him such and such? Then what shall I do?” And then write, speak or think etc back my answer. Blow by blow. You need a proper, detailed, back and forth conversation with me to be most effective. You need specifics when you’re dealing with the ones who want to drive you down to despair. You need to get stuck in and do some damage and that’s difficult without up to the minute detail from me.
Just a point God, is ‘he’ the correct term when referring to these guys?
No, not necessarily, but it will do for now. Just relax Mark. Let me call the shots, when I’m involved in the conversations when you’re dealing with the enemies of your mind you’re safe, no matter how inexperienced you are.
My marriage came crashing down and me with it. The devastation began sinking in and me with it. Nothing I knew was the same anymore. It was horrible and I was terrified. I threw my pride to the wind and screamed (literally) to God.