It’s really easy to hold back the expression of who we truly are, out of fear of what other people might think. Often times, we let fear stop us from expressing ourselves honestly, because we are afraid it might offend people. I have wrestled with these kinds of thoughts quite a bit.
In July 2012, I was invited by my friends, Taylor Cole and Danny Randall, to go on a tour with them to preach the Gospel in 4 different cities. We had a blast! People were waking up to the reality of our union with God for the first time! At our third stop, in Austin, TX, something hit me pretty hard. I was so used to being so intoxicated with the love of God, and sometimes going full on retard in the glory. Seriously, I often become so enamored with the pleasure of God, that although I am aware of my surroundings, I am overtaken with bliss and to onlookers, I look and act mentally retarded. It is an absolutely blissful experience!
At the meeting we had in Austin, I had invited a friend who had never really seen or experienced these kinds of manifestations and was pretty weirded out by the whole thing. When we talked afterwards, I felt Holy Spirit telling me not to try and defend anything or prove any point, but to just let God do the talking on his own. So I just shut up about it.
That night, we were on our way to Dallas for our last stop. I was bothered by the fact that my manifestations were causing people discomfort. In my heart, I began to ask the question, “Is the way I manifest, when it causes distraction or discomfort, unloving to let myself go there?” This was a serious issue for me, because sometimes I just can’t help it. I experience union with God with ecstatic noises and obvious intoxication, along with questionable appearances. I’ve been accused of being on acid, shrooms, ecstasy, crack, marijuana, etc. by many different people, but it always opened the door to share the goodness of God and see awesome transformation take place. But this time was different. I’ve been accused of manifesting demons before and it never bothered me at all, because I was absolutely confident in the love of God, yet for some reason I was caught off guard and really began to question my motives. Without realizing it, I began to shut down. I stopped letting myself experience the pleasures of God as intensely as I had previously done so freely. I began to feel my heart growing cold towards manifestations and drunken behavior in the presence of God. It was so unlike me!
This only lasted for about a week and a half, but it was miserable. When I got back to Austin, after the tour, I had lunch with a good friend and he let me talk his ear off to process it all. That was when it hit me. Papa had been speaking to my heart the entire time, but I was letting fear muffle his voice. His response was profound, and opened me up to a whole new level of freedom.
“Chris, that is just the way you experience me. It’s unique to your personality and it’s beautiful! If anyone is offended by your ecstatic experiences, their offense is actually a good thing! It forces them into a place where they must deal with their own heart. Perfect Love is unoffendable, and if anyone is offended by your experience of my Love for you, it is only because they have lost sight of my Love for them, and an invitation for them to experience me.”
My heart is never to purposely offend anyone and I desire to respect everyone, but I am realizing that the Gospel and the freedom that it comes with it is absolutely offensive to those who are bound by the fear that performance-oriented thinking produces. When we refuse to let fear stop us from being sincerely ourselves, although it might initially offend people, we will find that our freedom will eventually produce freedom in the lives of those around us.