At New Wine this year we heard a pastor from Portland, Oregon speak every morning in the ARENA. Each day the venue was packed out with hundreds of people, queuing for coffee, worshipping God and hearing John Mark Comer’s teaching. His simple yet effective words really struck a chord with me and I looked forward to hearing them every day.
The words that really stuck with me were when he spoke about transformation and being transformed.
Before we’d gone to New Wine I’d had a feeling that God wanted to heal me of anxiety. I had absolutely no idea how he would do it and I think in my head I thought he’d just wave a magic wand and it would be gone, poof, like that.
Let’s just say I was hopeful
It’s quite funny really because the weather was so awful, it literally rained and rained and rained some more. It was quite biblical in proportions. This poor pastor from America couldn’t believe how bad it was, but at least he had a cabin rather than a tent so in the end I think he felt worse for us. We joked that God might be building up a perseverance in us all.
John Mark said that if we want to be transformed then we need to partner with God, in that moment I knew there wouldn’t be a magic wand moment. He said if we want to be transformed we need to pray every day. He said if we want to be transformed we need to enjoy a sabbath, a day to delight in everything we’ve worked so hard for. The last thing we needed to do was look inwards at ourselves and start work on any bad habits that were holding us back.
I knew in that moment that my bad habit, my dependence and the thing holding me back, was alcohol. I felt hope, I felt despair, I felt relieved, I felt OMG, because my love of wine ran sooooo deep.
God will do the heavy lifting
John Mark said “God will do the heavy lifting, and you have to do your part”. That was like a WOAH moment for me. Because I felt empowered. Healing was in God’s hands, and it was in mine too.
During that week I went up for prayer when I felt prompted to do so. The woman who prayed for me asked why I’d come up for prayer. I started babbling away about recurring dreams with vomit in as a kid and the fact I got sudden muteness on car journeys and somehow she made sense of all of this and prayed with me that Jesus would go back to that moment in my past where anxiety took hold of me, aged 9, and I just started crying, and crying and crying. Holding my hands out to God while this women prayed away all of my years of anxiety and dependence on anything but God.
So God had done the heavy lifting and healed the root of my anxiety and now it was up to me to complete the healing. The transformation.
The next bit of the journey is a whole other blog post, so I’ll write it soon and link it back to this post when it’s done.
Thanks for reading.