I hesitate to put these words down in black and white. These words may undermine, undercut, and offend. I intend no such offence. I hope only to share a curiosity of the body and spirit: a curiosity of chemical balance and chemical imbalance.
If these words stir something you prefer left alone – please put them down. The words below tread on the “normal” chemical imbalances life and living provides. In no way are these words clinically correct and relevant to illness or trauma suffered. We all choose what we read. In this case be guided: please choose to pass, if you sense already they are not for you.
For achieving chemical balance is a goal to be pursued. A balance of internal flows and ebbs equating to a happy, fulfilled and fulfilling life. That place wherein energy levels are high, motivation is good, relationships are blossoming, and life is for living with gusto.
The opposite being something to avoid, rectify and correct. Because therein lies depression, fatigue, listlessness, illness, life overwhelming and draining. A chemical imbalance often diagnosed and treated with prescription and lifestyle changes: better diet, more exercise, more sleep, less sleep, more activity, more trying to achieve balance.
So often those “in balance” look with righteous judgement on those “not in balance”. So often “if only” being their knowing assessment: if only they stopped feeling sorry for themselves, got off the sofa, stopped comfort eating, became active, slept properly, lived properly, looked at life and living properly – they would be in perfect balance.
All of which has merit. None of which is very helpful. Because those feeling that way will already be saying “if only” a lot to themselves and anyone else who will listen.
Where is God in all of this? Where is evil in all of this? Is this spiritual warfare?
Nah – this is ordinary “run of the mill” stuff – nothing to do with God and all that “good and evil” stuff. All that God stuff is about the bible, and loving others and sinning and being forgiven. It’s not about this day-to-day living. We are in charge of that (or not – obviously – if we are feeling cruddy).
Not everything can be laid at God’s door as “His fault”, just as everything is not the Devil at work. But … how can none of this also be “nothing to do with Good or Evil”? Are neither God or the Devil interested in the mundane? Are God and the Devil disallowed from this element of our lives?
And why might that be?
Because isn’t war only significant and heroic for those who have never experienced the reality? And if we live our lives believing we have never experienced spiritual war – how can we ever know the reality – and how can we ever defend/attack?
And what if spiritual warfare is not just significant and heroic – what if spiritual warfare is also mundane and low-key? For what is more debilitating to faith and love than feeling crap? What is more demotivating than feeling cruddy? What makes everything an uphill climb if not low grade mundane chemical imbalance – the imbalances we all suffer from time to time: under the weather, feeling down, having a fat week, tired and not sleeping properly, just feeling bunged-up and not breathing too good? That feeling of “not quite right” that can persist for ages and ages. The low grade “everyday mundane” stuff we all suffer.
(Maybe we just need the seed of curiosity. A mustard seed of a question to attract the attention of evil. Maybe that is all that is needed. Or maybe we have heard our Lord’s voice and are changing our lives and values. Or maybe there is a need our Father perceives for us we are listening … And then find we are feeling under the weather. Slowly and with hindsight (“I seem to have a persistent head cold, sinuses again, tiredness all the time, feeling a bit down, no energy …”) just like normal – feeling crap. But we’ll get over it – we always do.)
Because maybe until we stop invalidating – always – God and the Devil in this low grade stuff every single time … we never will see or hear them. We will never think we are/have been at war – and we will continue to see “Spiritual Warfare” as significant and heroic: something that only happens to “important Christians” (and because I am not important – I am just me – it never will).
And just maybe – if we did – we might just find ourselves, from time to time, “a country of occupation” by an army we didn’t know was there. Where we always confuse bugs of chance with war of chemical imbalance. Because if we did consider spiritual warfare to be an option – an ugly, dangerous, deadly, immoral, and energy sapping debilitating war …
Then what would you do? What might you say? Who might you talk to? And what would you ask?
(inspired by this morning’s verses: John 3:1-8 – and then the whole chapter, and then seeing the past eighteen months with a new curiosity)