The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Recognizing Your Conversations with God: Lesson 2 – Soul Blocking

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REVIEW

Before we move on to our next lesson in this series, let’s do a quick review.  In our first lesson, we explained the following points:

  • Your brain is part of your earthsuit. Your earthsuit is just a physical vehicle that your soul is using to get around in this world.  You are your soul, not your earthsuit.
  • You talk to God using your soul, not your earthsuit.
  • You and God communicate using a non-verbal spiritual language which is extremely fast and far more complex than the verbal language you think in.
  • Your brain forms thoughts using a limited verbal language that can’t keep up with the language of your soul.
  • When your soul converses with God, your brain translates fragments of those conversations into the thoughts you hear in your head. You call some of those partial translations “prayer.”  But in reality, prayer is something you do with your soul, not your brain.  Your brain’s summaries of your prayers to God do not come close to capturing everything you have actually communicated to Him.
  • Your soul never struggles to say what it means to God. It is only your brain that struggles to try and translate what your soul has said into a verbal language.

The first discernment principle we introduced in Lesson 1 was that “Mental Thoughts Are Different Than Soul Thoughts.”  Now let’s move on to our second lesson and learn a new principle.

LESSON 2

The principle we’re going to learn about in this lesson is what we call soul blocking.  This is when your soul intentionally tunes out, edits, or rejects something that God says to you.  Every soul does a ton of blocking in their conversations with God.  There are many reasons we do this, and often our reasons for resisting what God is saying have nothing to do with a desire to rebel against Him.  In other words, the fact that your soul is a heavy blocker doesn’t mean it’s trying to be difficult or shove God away.  Many very sincere souls who really want to get closer to God are currently blocking like crazy and throwing up all kinds of walls in their communication with Him.  Before we get into specific motivations for soul blocking, let’s use a metaphor to understand how blocking works.

Jack is a man who speaks French and English.  Jack has a friend named Pierre who only speaks French.  One day, Jack wants to introduce Pierre to Lana, who is Jack’s new girlfriend.  Lana only speaks English, so if Lana and Pierre are going to have a conversation, Jack will need to translate. 

Lana says to Pierre, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.  I’ve heard good things about you from Jack.” 

Jack translates this message to Pierre in French. 

Pierre then smiles and says to Jack, “Tell her I’m pleased to meet her as well.  And tell her she is a very sexy woman with a nice chest.” 

Jack then turns to Lana and says, “Pierre says he’s pleased to meet you as well.”

Notice how Jack just cut some of what Pierre said when he translated Pierre’s message to Lana.  Why did Jack do this?  Because he felt that Pierre’s “sexy” comment was inappropriate.  Jack doesn’t appreciate Pierre being flirtatious with his girlfriend so he revises Pierre’s message to make Pierre sound classier than Pierre actually is.

In real life, your soul feels like God says a lot of things to you that are very inappropriate.  Your relationship with God isn’t sexual, so you don’t have the kinds of problems Jack is having with lusty Pierre.  But with God you do have a lot of theological clashes.  Often your soul feels that God is saying something that He oughtn’t to be saying based on who you think He is.  When this happens, your soul will often reject the inappropriate comments that God makes and pretend they weren’t said.  When your brain then translates these conversations, it translates your soul’s edited version.

Let’s now look at a second metaphor.  This time there are two men who are on the verge of getting into a fistfight, and the only one trying to keep the peace is bilingual Sam.

Sasha speaks Russian and right now all he wants to do is break Ed’s nose with his fist.

Ed speaks English and he doesn’t know what Sasha’s problem is, but he’s more than ready to go to blows.

Then there is Sam, their coworker.  Sam speaks Russian and English.  Sam hurried over as soon as he heard the two men shouting at each other.  Now Sam asks Sasha what is going on.  Sasha shouts in Russian: “Tell that fat, ugly pig to apologize for insulting my mother, or I’ll bash his face in!”

English speaking Ed demands to know what Sasha just said.

Sam turns to Ed and calmly explains, “He thinks you said something bad about his mother.  Did you?”

Ed scoffs.  “No, but I feel sorry for the cow that gave birth to that jerk!  Tell him that if his mother is as ugly as he is, she should win an award!”

Sasha now demands to know what Ed is saying so Sam turns to Sasha and says, “He apologizes for insulting your mother.  He didn’t mean to.  He doesn’t speak Russian.  It was a misunderstanding.  He actually thinks you’re a great guy.”

Sasha’s eyes widen in surprise and he unclenches his fist.  “Tell him its fine, then.”

“What did he say?” Ed demands.

Sam turns to Ed and says, “He says he didn’t mean to upset you.  It’s all a big misunderstanding.  He says he really likes working with you.”

“Oh,” Ed says in surprise.  Then he holds out his hand and Sasha shakes it and the two men go back to work.

What did Sam do in this scenario?  Were any of his translations accurate?  Not at all.  Sam feels very uncomfortable around violence, and seeing Ed and Sasha fighting scared him.  So he worked hard to calm both men down by refusing to pass on messages that he felt would make the situation worse.  Your soul does this same kind of thing with God all the time.  God says a lot of things which would greatly upset you if you really thought about them.  So you refuse to think about them, and instead you try to pretend they were never said.  Your soul revises God’s messages to soften and sometimes drastically change what God actually said to be something that’s closer to what your soul wants to hear.

So then, these two metaphors help us understand two very common reasons why souls block out things God says.  One is that they feel God is saying things He shouldn’t say, and the second reason is that they hear God saying things that threaten them.  Our purpose in using metaphors is to show you how reasonable and right it can feel to mangle people’s words in real life.  In the same way, when your soul blocks out things God says, it feels like it is also doing what is reasonable and right.  Clearly if God is saying something inappropriate, your soul should correct Him.  Clearly if God is saying something upsetting, your soul should ignore it.  This is common soul logic.  It’s wrong, of course, but it’s still a very popular way of thinking.

So now that we understand that soul blocking is about your soul rejecting and deflecting things God says that make you uncomfortable, let’s dig deeper and identify three very common reasons why souls do this sort of thing.

PRINCIPLE #2: UNDERSTANDING THEOLOGICAL SOUL BLOCKS

When we talk about your theology, we’re referring to your current beliefs about God.  Every human has a set of theological beliefs—even atheists.  To believe that God does not exist is a theological belief, as is the theory that God’s reality cannot be proven.  So what do you currently believe about God?  Perhaps you’re a Muslim, in which case one of your theological beliefs is that God is a Being named Allah.  You then have a whole set of beliefs about who Allah is, how he behaves, what he wants from you, etc..  If you don’t associate yourself with any specific religion, you still have many beliefs about God which you’ve picked up from your life experiences and from things that other people have said about the gods they believe in.  To help you get in touch with your own theological beliefs, consider how you’d answer the following questions:

  • Who is God?
  • Is God personally interested in you?
  • Is God a nice Being, or is He harsh and quick to anger?
  • Does God like humans or not so much?
  • Does God care about your problems or does He have better things to do?
  • Does God listen to you when you talk to Him? Does God even want you to talk to Him?
  • Does God view you positively or negatively?
  • Is God quick to forgive or is He prone to holding grudges?
  • Are there certain sins that God will never forgive?
  • Why is the world so full of pain and suffering? Does God approve of this situation or has it been forced upon Him?

You might not have a specific opinion worked out for all of these questions, but did you feel a kind of “gut instinct” triggered on some of them?  When asked if God is nice or harsh, many souls instinctively feel one answer is more likely than the other.  We all answer questions about God differently, but we all have some thoughts on the matter.  Maybe the only thing you feel sure about is that God doesn’t care about you—that is still a theological belief, and the fact that you feel so sure about God’s lack of interest in you is having a major impact on how you converse with Him.

Now for any Christians who are squirming over the fact that we’re not exclusively talking to Christians in this series, let’s clarify something.  There are real Gods and there are false gods.  The real Gods are who They are—They aren’t whoever we want Them to be.  In this world, we find many religions which contradict each other.  Are they all right?  Of course not.  Eternity is not a “choose your own ending” affair.  When we die, we will all be judged by the real Gods, and if we’ve spent our lives ignoring those Gods because we’ve been so busy playing around in false religions or pretending that the real Gods are non-existent, than we’re going to be in a major crisis.

In this series, we’re teaching you how to recognize when your soul is talking to the real Gods.  You might be currently wrapped up in a religion which tells you to pray to a being who doesn’t even exist.  But the fact that you’re currently confused about who the real Gods are doesn’t cause the real Gods to ignore you.  The real Gods—who we refer to as Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit—are talking to all humans all the time.  They don’t just talk to Christians.  They don’t look down on non-Christians.  They don’t hate atheists.  They don’t ignore kids.  They talk to us all, and They’re talking to you even if you’re not yet sure about who They are.  So you see, for the purposes of this series, it doesn’t matter who you’re currently praying to or who you currently think God is.  If you really want to know the truth about who your Creator is, the real Gods will reveal that truth to you in Their time.

While many Christians are taught to take great offense over someone suggesting that God talks to non-Christians with the same enthusiasm as He talks to Christians, the reality is that there wouldn’t be any Christians if God wasn’t willing to engage with us when we were totally oblivious about who He is.  The principles we’re teaching you in this post apply to all humans—not just to Christians.  All humans are engaging with their Creators on a soul level, and all humans have enormous difficulty in accepting much of what the real Gods say to them.  The better you get at discerning when the real Gods are talking to you, the more confident you’ll become in developing your own relationship with Them.

So now that we understand that talking to God is something we all do no matter what our theological beliefs are, let’s go back to the idea of your theology.  Your current set of beliefs about God are having a major impact on how you react when He talks to you.  Let’s now talk about three specific reasons your soul has for blocking things God says to you.

BLOCK MOTIVATION #1: It’s Too Good To Be True

God is a notoriously difficult Being to relate to for many reasons.  One of the rather surprising reasons is that He seems much too good to be true.  In this world, we relate to other humans, and those humans tend to be quick to judge, quick to condemn, and quick to withhold mercy.  After spending years learning how to hide our secrets from others and deal with the great disappointments we experience in our relationships with other humans, it’s pretty shocking to meet a Being who delights in things like mercy, compassion, and grace.  God is so kind that it freaks a lot of us out.  Non-Christians who have done things which other humans refuse to forgive have an especially hard time dealing with God’s nice side.  Let’s now eavesdrop on God talking with a particular soul and see how this first blocking process plays out.

Chad is a chronic child molester who is currently serving a very long term in a top security prison.  Chad’s society hates him, his family has cut him off, and his fellow inmates often assault him.  The last time Chad saw his wife, she literally spat on him in disgust.  His three daughters were all molested by him for years of their youth, and they utterly despise him.  Chad has had pastors tell him he’s already been eternally damned, he’s been viciously roasted by the American media, and before he ended up in jail, he was bombarded with hate mail and death threats.  One day Chad is lying alone in his cell recovering from yet another round of being beat up by his fellow inmates.  He’s deeply depressed and is trying to think of a way that he could commit suicide with his limited supplies.  It’s in this moment that Chad’s soul suddenly hears God speak.

God says: “I love you very much, Chad.  Stop thinking about killing yourself. You’re precious to Me.  I created you to have a wonderful relationship with Me.  Ask Me to help you connect with My great love for you.”

Can you appreciate how insane this kind of talk sounds to Chad’s soul?  Chad’s current theology includes the belief that God despises him.  When Chad thinks of God, he pictures some old man with a long beard spitting on him in disgust.  Chad’s soul knows that some third party is talking to him, but it can’t be God…can it?  Here’s where Chad’s soul starts doing major blocking.

Chad’s soul says to God, “I don’t know who You are, but You obviously don’t know who You’re talking to.  I’m a walking pile of refuse.  You couldn’t possibly want me.”

God then answers by saying, “I made you.  You don’t get to tell Me how to think.  I’ll love you as much as I want to.  I want a relationship with you. Stop fighting Me about this.”

Baffled, Chad’s soul says, “We’re so not having this conversation!  This is ludicrous.  I’m not listening to this insanity.  You can’t possibly mean what You’re saying.”

Remember that souls talk to God using a non-verbal spiritual language.  Chad’s soul now sends a summary of this conversation to his mind, and that summary gets translated into the following wistful verbal thought: “There’s no way that God would ever want a dirt bag like me.”

What this thought is actually expressing is Chad’s soul reaction to the conversation it’s just had with God.  Even though God was telling Chad what Chad really wants to be true, Chad just can’t accept it.  In Chad’s single verbal thought, we can hear him expressing a longing to be accepted by God.  We can also hear Chad expressing a specific theological belief: he is sure that God couldn’t really want to relate to him.  This is a false belief.  God is telling Chad how He really feels about Chad, but it’s just too hard for Chad’s soul to grasp because it sounds too good to be true.

For all of the stereotypes you might have heard of God being some brooding, lightning chucking Volcano, in real life, it is God’s incredible niceness that is stopping many souls in their tracks and causing them to fly into block mode.

When we desperately want something to be true, even contemplating the possibility that we could actually have what we long for can be truly agonizing.  So we block.  It’s a self-protective measure, but it’s also spiritually unproductive.  In the world today, there are many souls like Chad—souls who have become convinced that God can’t possibly want them.  When we’re disgusted with ourselves, or when we’re getting a bunch of disgusted feedback from other humans, it’s very easy to find ourselves stuck like Chad is: hearing God describe us in terms that we just can’t scrape up the courage to accept.  So we run—not because we are trying to throw away the golden opportunity God is giving us, but because we’re so afraid of reaching for it only to have it slide away like a mirage in the desert.  Humans have a limited tolerance for pain, and when we’re at a point where we can’t bear one more crushing disappointment, it terrifies us to try and run into God’s open arms because we’re so sure we’ll only feel Him hurl us away in disgust.

So what’s going to happen to Chad?  Is he a lost cause?  No.  God understands humans far too well to overestimate their abilities.  God is going to keep working with Chad and He will eventually get Chad the resources Chad needs to start accepting the things God is telling him.

When God is working with broken people, He goes to them, He doesn’t just stand back and say, “If you can’t find a way to get up and run to Me, then forget you.”  So when we’re throwing up blocks because God is overwhelming us with His kindness, grace, mercy, love, and compassion, God will keep working with us and help us slowly lower the walls we’ve thrown up in His face.  Of course there are ways to speed up this process, which we’ll address at the end of this lesson.  But for now the point you need to understand is that sometimes your soul is going to block God because He’s saying something that just seems too good to be true.  This is one of the great challenges of trying to relate to a Being who is so much nicer than we are.

BLOCK MOTIVATION #2: It’s Too Scary To Handle

A second very common reason that souls reject things that God says to them is when God is teaching us some new concept that simply scares us.  When you’re just a dot of a creature, it’s more than a little unnerving trying to snuggle up to the Creator of all things.  We simply don’t identify with a Being who can speak whole universes into existence.  We don’t understand how God can do everything that He does, and we don’t understand why He does much of what He does.  Take things like molten lava, stinging scorpions, raging hurricanes and slimy snails.  What on earth does God find so attractive about these things?  We can see the attraction to cute little kittens, beautiful flowers and rainbows.  But much of God’s handiwork leaves us feeling repulsed and mystified.

And then there’s the whole Hell thing.  There’s just no way for humans to get comfortable with the notion of eternal damnation.  When bad things happen to us, we tend to want to see God as our loving, innocent Savior who swoops in to rescue us from an enemy that He hates as much as we do.  But in reality, God is the Source of both our problems and their solutions, and that really boggles our brains.  Here’s where soul blocking comes in.

Whenever God presents us with some new insight about Himself that we just don’t know how to handle, we hit the “block” button.  Let’s now eavesdrop on a soul conversation that’s happening between God and a Christian Pastor named Pete.  Pete is a dedicated Christian who cares deeply about the well-being of his little flock.  Over the past three years, Pete has had many tearful counseling sessions with one particular couple in his congregation as he did his best to support them through their hellish and heartbreaking battle with infertility.  At last, after so much suffering, Ramona became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  Pete was overjoyed, and for the last several months, his soul has been singing praises to God for the miracle child who he has been named the godfather of.  But then the unthinkable happened.  The precious little girl was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and she’s been given mere weeks to live.  Pete is devastated.  After screaming at him in a fit of agony induced rage, Ramona and her husband left the church, cursing both God and Pete for setting them up for such heartbreak.  But as for Pete, he just can’t accept that God is the One responsible for this horror.  Pete’s current theology cannot handle God doing something so cruel, so Pete has decided this whole situation is something that has occurred apart from God’s will.  He tells himself that God hates this situation as much as Pete does, and that God would fix it if He could, but He can’t because it’s a fallen world.  Now Pete is sitting in his office, trying not to think about Ramona as he works on his notes for next week’s sermon.  Let’s see what God says to him.

GOD: “Pete, let’s talk about Ramona’s baby.”

PETE: “There’s nothing to talk about. I know You had nothing to do with that.”

GOD: “Yes, I did.  Tumors don’t create themselves.  That was My doing.”

PETE: “No, it wasn’t.  I won’t accept that.”

GOD: “I know this frightens you.  But I can help you with that.”

PETE: “No.  You’re not that kind of God. You wouldn’t do something so horrible.”

GOD: “There are a lot of things about Me that you’re not going to feel comfortable with.  That doesn’t mean we can’t have a positive relationship.”

PETE: “I love You, God. I know You’re good.  Now how about You help me prep this sermon?”

Pete’s soul does a lot of blocking in this conversation.  He doesn’t want to even get into a discussion about Ramona’s baby because he’s afraid of what God will say.  Instead of letting Pete shut Him down, God nudges Pete to be bold and listen to what God has to say.  But Pete finds the whole idea of God being involved in something so terrible too overwhelming so he abruptly changes the subject and tries to get God to talk about something else.

This is a classic blocking scenario and it’s a very common reaction to God pushing us to mature beyond Sunday School basics.  Many Christian denominations paint God in a very positive light while they teach Christians to be very unreceptive to any suggestion that God has anything to do with their misery.  Soul blocking is actually taught from many Christian pulpits. Of course pastors don’t use that specific term, but by the time they’re teaching souls to immediately shutdown in any conversation that involves the dark side of God, they are encouraging some very negative soul behavior.

In the world of angry atheists, you’ll find that many of them used to identify themselves as Christians.  The abrupt switch from Christianity to atheism is often the product of some intense soul blocking.  Atheists often become atheists as a means of distancing themselves from a God who they feel they cannot deal with.  When we’re refusing to discuss God’s disturbing traits on a soul level, our negative soul attitudes can sometimes drastically alter our external behavior and we take our soul blocking to new levels by aggressively shunning not only God, but also all humans who are declaring loyalty to Him.

So how does God deal with this kind of blocking?  Well, once again, God understands how terrifying He can seem to us.  Feeling totally unequipped to deal with God’s dark side is a different thing than having the resources to engage with Him, yet deciding that you’re just not going to.  On the surface, spiritual rebellion and spiritual panic can look like the same thing.  Happily, God knows the difference between these two groups and when He knows that we really want to be pleasing to Him, He helps us get there.

Pastor Pete has some tough theological hurdles that he’ll need God to help him overcome.  It’s not going to be easy to revise his current beliefs about God to make room for some new truths about God’s sovereignty and complexity. But Pete really does care about pleasing God, and because of this, God will make sure he makes the transition successfully.

Dealing with disturbing truths about God really enriches our relationship with Him in the long run.  When getting close to the real God is our goal, then getting to know Him better is essential, and it’s guaranteed that we’re not going to like everything we learn about Him. But for all of God’s disturbing qualities, our relationship with Him is the only one which is able to truly satisfy our souls.  Humans were created for the purpose of relating with their Creator, which is why the all out pursuit of God always ends up in great satisfaction.

BLOCK MOTIVATION #3: It’s Too Personal To Be Happening

This third reason for soul blocking is related to our first reason of “It’s too good to be true.”  Many souls accept that God talks to spiritual leaders who walk around with holy sounding titles and major fan clubs.  They just don’t think that God would ever bother to talk to the common man.  Miracles, visions, and “words” from Above—these are things that always happen to other people—not to you.  When this is what you believe, your little soul works hard to pretend God really isn’t having a focused conversation with you.  Perhaps you think that the only time you’ll hear from God is through some message that He gives to someone else.  But the God of the Universe actually talking to your soul?  That sounds too crazy for many souls to accept.  Let’s now eavesdrop on a conversation that is happening between God and Emma—a soul who is convinced she is beneath God’s notice.

GOD: “I love you, Emma.”

EMMA: “I wonder if God loves me. Kinda doubt it.”

GOD: “I do love you.  I created you out of love, and I’m with you right now, talking to you.”

EMMA: “It would really be something to hear God actually talk to me.  But of course He wouldn’t.  He’s got like a whole universe to run.  Why would He bother with me?”

GOD: “Emma, you are very special to Me.  I made you one of a kind.  I am looking forward to our relationship developing over time.”

EMMA: “I wish I could be special to God.  But how could I be?  He’s made zillions of humans by now.  I’m no one special.”

GOD: “You’re special to Me.”

EMMA: “I wish I could be special to God.”

Notice how Emma’s soul is behaving in this conversation.  She’s clearly hearing God, and she’s responding to what He says, but she’s refusing to directly engage with Him.  This kind of soul blocking is rather like you talking to someone who is refusing to face you.  Instead, they sit facing a wall, and when you say something, they respond to the essence of what you’re saying, while phrasing their thoughts as if you’re not talking to them.

This third kind of soul blocking can result in some interesting behaviors. Some Christians are quick to express how much they care about God to other humans, but when it comes to saying those same things directly to God, they just won’t go there.  When you hear souls wistfully talking about how much they wish God would care about them, this third kind of soul blocking is often in play.  Often when God expresses His desire for these souls directly to them, they feel a sudden surge of longing for Him.  They often believe the longing happened in isolation—that they were just going along when they suddenly felt a wave of longing for God.  But in reality what’s happening is that these people are hearing God talk to them on a soul level, and they are then reacting to what He said while refusing to accept that He has actually spoken to them.  Among souls who believe that God never talks to them personally, this kind of soul blocking is very common.

REDUCING SOUL BLOCKS

So far we’ve discussed three very common reasons that souls engage in blocking behaviors when God is talking to them.  We can break down the concepts of “too good to be true” and “too scary to handle” into many more specific blocking motivations, but if you just remember these two, you’ll grasp the essential principles.  The point is that God says a lot of things that make your soul uncomfortable, and when this happens, your soul often responds by rejecting what He said.  Whether you directly contradict Him or just try to pretend you didn’t hear Him, this kind of stonewalling behavior is often an attempt to protect yourself from discomfort.

Now earlier we said that there are ways to reduce how much blocking you’re doing with God.  An excellent way to do this is to simply pray: “God, help me to be receptive to everything You want to say to me, even when it makes me uncomfortable.”

In our material, we often recommend that you pray certain kinds of prayers.  Whenever we write out model prayers for you, we are intentionally using language that will help you shift your soul attitude into a more receptive position towards God.  Prayer is an excellent way to shift soul attitudes.  When you suspect that you’re engaging in blocking behaviors with God, asking Him to help you lower your defenses is the best thing you can do.  Asking God to help you align with His will in some area is like going from a tense, resistant stance with Him to a relaxed, receptive stance.  When we soul block, it’s like we’re turning our backs to God and covering our ears to muffle the sound of His Voice.  When we pray for Him to help us lower our defenses, it’s like we’re turning to face Him, lowering our hands, stepping towards Him, and letting Him pull us close.

LOOKING AHEAD

You’re not quite ready to start analyzing written scripts of what’s going on in your head.  But if you want to start writing down some scripts the way that we described in Lesson 1, that will give you some great material to work with at the end of our next lesson.  But before you start putting your analytical skills to work, we’re going to teach you one more critical principle: God always starts His conversations with you.  We’ll teach you more principles after that, but understanding that God always initiates His conversations with you is going to really help you analyze scripts that are produced by souls practicing soul blocking.  When your soul is refusing to accept things God says to you, your brain ends up producing summaries of conversations that sound far more one sided than they actually are.  In our next lesson, we’ll teach you a principle that will help you start spotting when God is talking to you—even when your soul is trying to cut His lines out of the script.

Click here to go to Lesson 3.

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