Transformed into Fire
by Anne Braund
Living From The Heart – Module 3 – January, 2017
This invitation to life in the True Self by Judith Hougen was a deeply moving book. It opened my eyes to the making and functioning of the False Self in my life. In fact, I was told since childhood not to function “out of my emotions”, but it was the only way I knew how to “work life”. My purpose became to try and fill this forever hungry love tank inside of me by chronically doing things to please others. This book explained that I could actually distance myself from the false self and that there was a far more excellent way!
Looking back I can see that the big problem was that I could not trust the goodness of God. There was a division inside of me: the loving and kind God I experienced in prayer and the God of The Old Testament who was a demanding, brutal, merciless God. That, to please God, one needed to suffer for Him and if one was not willing to give up one’s life wholeheartedly one would never be “fit” enough for God.
This seemed hopeless and it frightened me. I could not abandon myself “wholeheartedly” to God, I feared immense suffering. To abandon myself to God without holding back just a little for safety to be able to retreat, if it got too hard or painful was scary. God had an uncompromising, hard side for my future and to follow Christ in this manner was having to follow his sufferings. (I believe now this originated in the Amish and Mennonite doctrine I was educated in when I was a young Christian. To the Anabaptists still to this day life is suffering one has to endure, books about martyrs and Christian saints who suffered in this life for Christ are widely used as examples of good Christian living. Any light heartedness was being viewed as worldly and frivolous, one was to live soberly and righteously in this present world and suffering was part of it. So how could a loving God want me to suffer for him? Although I did carry some of the pain of the world for years in my prayers…this was never good enough for this God, I lived in a despairing vacuum, I could not win.
As I observed myself in my Christian walk I feared self -deception: how far could I truly trust my inner motives? (“The heart is deceitful above all” was strongly taught and one could only rely on the discernment of elders in the church.)
Or there were times when I was a victim of my own thought pattern from the false self so much that I felt very hopeless, depressed and at times suicidal. When God revealed to me, while being in despairing prayer “the words in my chest: “Anne, this is selfishness.” These few words hit me like a thunderbolt and I rejected this self-centeredness from then on. Because my siblings had either committed suicide or had tried to, this was a familiar pattern from my false self and it felt like escape, rescue, a way out. That above mentioned revelation turned me around very fast and I learned to exit from that tyranny. It was a delightfully “Big Death”.
Some changes came fast and I began to see some good in myself and enjoy life, but I always fell back and teetered from the false self to the true self and back. One of the moments where I felt God’s overwhelming love while praying I actually asked Him to take some of it back as it was such a sudden and enormous sensation which was almost too much to bear at this time.
Now, several years later, it seems like God was putting his fingers on more layers of the False Self. I feared all over again that God and truth would not come through, that I stood in my own way again. I questioned and doubted and my identification with Christ was easily forgotten.
So after many years of different kinds of struggles, abuses and so much exhaustion to perform and please and constant uncertainty about how God and people were viewing me I now look back with a very grateful heart that these days of turmoil are finally gone!
What made THE BIG difference within a few short weeks lately was when I made a visual picture of my true self which came to me while praying. Now, as I am aware of my thoughts and feelings, I can distinguish mentally where the message comes from and I quickly draw close to the image of my ever-affirming true self and I reject messages from my negatively primed psyche. This simple visual method has given me a tremendous tool which dissolves my feelings of inadequacy very fast. I had tried a long time to find a solution with my head and this “simple” switch to a deeper level, that has occurred in me, is absolutely life changing!
Inner Faith has suddenly become something tangible, sitting in silence before the Divine, although I don’t “feel” anything, has become a very precious time together, the emotions are being pushed into the background and are fast losing their power over me and I experience a lovely peace. The verse: “Lean not unto your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge God and he shall direct thy ways” has a new and deeper meaning for me. I have moved into a new capacity, a completely safe zone, I have experienced the shift from my head to my heart! It is glorious !
This is where I am now and it is thrilling! I am very grateful for this particular work God has done in me!
I would like to add the picture that emerged about my True Self.