This story begins back this summer in Germany where we had the blessing of time to hang out with Tobias and his wife for long nights to talk about whatever topic God brought up. On one such night I mentioned to Tobias that I had been an effective hypnotist once upon a time. His question to me was, “Have you ever asked God to take away your ability to do that?” I had never considered such an idea, nor did I know how to respond. He pressed me to consider that I had received an impartation that needed to be cut off. I had to admit that, upon reflection, the essential spirit behind it was control/manipulation. Even Diana didn’t feel like that was a real issue for me.
Coincidentally, I offered, I had actually used some of the knowledge from the techniques to assist Lydia in going to sleep a few weeks earlier. Mind you, I pointed out, I just used the relaxation techniques rather than actually suggesting that she would become hypnotized or be under my control. The point was, Lydia had been struggling for some months, and I used what I knew to help her, and it worked like a charm, as it were. She was out before I finished.
Tobias’ response was that I was not only not depending on Christ for Lydia, but I was actually drawing from a foreign influence. It’s not the real thing, but it’s the same idea in a lesser form. His arresting question was, “You want to walk in God’s power and authority, so how can you simultaneously walk in another authority and spirit?” We prayed, and I let go of everything related to this influence we could think of. I must say, I was under conviction to do this, but not feeling the depth of it or how or why it was SO important. Tobias felt that it was a major spiritual breakthrough in my life.
Fast forward to our return to St. Petersburg. Lydia hadn’t had any trouble with sleep in Germany, and she never had before we moved to Russia. Diana also has had frequent problems herself. We really think it’s something in the air pressure or something. Many locals take that position. Nonetheless, it was only a matter of time before Lydia came asking for help again. I told her I wasn’t going to do what I had before anymore and explained a bit why. We prayed instead, and I asked God to show her what he was going to do to help her go to sleep. He told her to tell herself stories, which she started doing with tremendous success. She got into some creative things like visualizing heaven (and one night even hell!), and it’s been phenomenal ever since (she has posted about it here). It’s evolving more and more into a two-way conversation with Him that is enriching her relationship with Him in marvelous ways.
There have been a couple of times when she came out asking for help, but God had given me a hint in advance, and I was ready. The first time, I knew it meant she needed to go back and ask for a new approach, which he gave. The second time, it meant it was warfare to take it away, and the third was to teach her to do it without me. Pretty cool, huh?
So we’re running about 4 months now with success in falling asleep, but that’s really not even the issue anymore. Do you see how a worldly system may have the desired effect yet be the wrong solution? Life isn’t about solving problems; it’s about knowing the Problem Solver. Our problems should draw us closer to God. Isn’t that why Jesus suggested that we could find our life and yet lose it? Some problems can’t be solved without God, but He has also built the world in such a way that cooperating with the created order will help relieve our pain. But we risk winning the battle and losing the war this way.
Winning the war is enjoying God’s company forever; I’m glad Lydia is getting an early start.