The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Recognizing Your Conversations with God: Lesson 5 – Body Talk

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In our last lesson, we did our first round of script analysis.  We showed you how to take a string of your own thoughts and rearrange them into a multi-party dialogue between you, God, and a mysterious group of naysayers who seem to be invested in discouraging you, countering what God says to you, and emphasizing the negative.  Just who are these pills and how are they getting so much access to your mind?  Well, it’s a surprisingly complicated answer, but we’re going to break it down into little steps. 

YOUR BRAIN

We need to start with a better understanding of how your mind produces thoughts.  Your mind, or brain, is part of your earthsuit—and that means you won’t be taking it with you when you die.  Your brain’s main role in life is to keep your earthsuit running—and that is no small task.  If you think of your earthsuit as a car, then your brain would be the engine that runs the car.

Now when you get into a car to start driving it, in front of you there is a dashboard that tells you a few pieces of information about the car: how fast it’s going, how much gas it has—things like that.  The few pieces of data that get displayed on the dashboard don’t begin to give you a complete picture of everything that’s going on in your car as it drives.  Instead, someone who you’ve never met has decided for you what information you need to know about, and clearly they don’t think you need to know very much given how simple your dashboard panel is.  As the car driver, you’re now stuck making decisions based on the very limited information that is available to you.  If you see that the gas tank is nearly empty, you can decide to go get more gas, and that makes you feel like you’re taking good care of your car.  But in real life, your car needs a lot more than a full gas tank to run smoothly.  Happily for you, your car has been designed to automatically supply itself with many of its needs.  For example, when it runs hot, it circulates coolant to bring its temperature down.   You don’t have to actively try and help your car’s engine stay cool—the engine is designed to help itself in that area.  In fact, every time you drive your car, your car is performing a ton of operations that you are totally oblivious to, while all you do is casually glance at a few pieces of data on your dashboard.

This car analogy can help you understand how your brain operates.  First, remember that you are your soul, not your earthsuit.  Your soul is like the man who is driving our busy little car.  Your earthsuit is like the actual car, and your brain is like the engine that runs the car.  Your soul is totally oblivious to most of what’s going on in your earthsuit on a daily basis.  Your brain is very aware of what’s happening in your earthsuit, but your brain doesn’t discuss these things with your soul.  Instead, your brain uses a dashboard-style of communication with your soul.  As we already discussed, dashboards are both limited and simplistic in the kinds of information they give out.  Your gas gauge on your car’s dashboard tells you how full the car’s tank is, but it doesn’t tell you how clean the tank is or what quality the gas is inside the tank.  In the same way, when your brain sets off one of its “dashboard” alerts, the information it gives is very simplistic.  The point of the alert is not to fully explain the problem.  Instead the purpose of the alert is to inform your soul of an issue that your brain wants help with solving.

Now wait a minute—your brain is the expert on your earthsuit, not your soul.  Your soul is pretty useless when it comes to repairing your earthsuit, so why would your brain ever try to get your soul involved?  Well, what’s the point of having an alarm on your dash that lights up when your car’s gas tank is nearly empty?  Do you have to be a car expert before you can take your car to a gas station?  No, you don’t.  You can know nothing about cars, but your car will still need your help to gain access to certain resources that it needs. You see, as well as your car is designed, it’s not self-sufficient.  Now and then cars need humans to assist them in running smoothly.  In the same way, as brilliant as your earthsuit is, it is not self-sufficient.  It needs your soul to assist it in gaining access to the things it needs.  Eating is a fabulous example here.  When you go too long without food, you’ll find a verbal alert suddenly popping up in your head.  That alert will take the form of a verbal thought that says something like, “I’m hungry.  I need to eat something.”  Here’s the creepy part: that voice is actually your earthsuit talking to your soul.  Remember that you are your soul.  You are a totally separate entity from your earthsuit.  But the way that God has set things up, your earthsuit can’t survive without you.   It needs you to help it gain access to certain resources, like food.

When your brain senses that its machine needs more nutrition or calories, it begins sounding various kinds of alerts that are all designed to get the attention of your soul.  Rumbling stomachs aren’t for the benefit of your earthsuit, because it already knows what it needs.  The rumbling is intended to get the attention of your soul—to spur your soul into action and get it to drive your suit to a place where food is available.  The refrigerator in your kitchen will do nicely.  Once your soul helps connect your earthsuit with food, your earthsuit handles the rest.  All of that chewing, swallowing, and digesting is its domain.  Your soul doesn’t know the first thing about how to break a bite of steak down into its nutritional components.  Your soul doesn’t know how to dissolve fats or distribute sugars to the cells in your body.  But your brain does know how to do all of these things and once your soul helps it get the food that it wants, it silences its alerts and takes care of the food processing on its own.

Your earthsuit and your soul are like two men who have been handcuffed together at the wrist.  The two men are two totally separate beings and they each have different desires, interests and personalities.  But those darn handcuffs force them into a rather awkward situation of dependency on one another.  If one man wants to go somewhere, he needs his partner to agree to come along.  If one man wants to do something, he needs the other fellow to cooperate.  The two men might not like each other at all.  Sometimes they might even get into fights with each other.  But no matter how much they annoy each other, they are forced to help each other to some degree if they’re going to survive.

This rather frustrating situation captures how your earthsuit and soul relate to each other.  They are two separate beings with some very different interests in life, and yet they are being forced to co-exist.  Because your soul can’t leave your earthsuit and your earthsuit can’t function without your soul, the two of you have to find a way to cooperate with each other.  Sometimes cooperating seems easy and your soul and earthsuit co-exist quite peacefully.  But other times things get very acrid between your soul and your earthsuit, with the two of you wanting very different things.  What happens when our two handcuffed men want to go in two opposite directions?  In such a moment, the two men will fight with each other until one man manages to physically drag the other fellow where he wants to go.  A similar thing happens between your soul and your earthsuit when they lock horns with each other.  Sometimes your soul can force your earthsuit to go along with its agenda.  Other times your earthsuit gets the upper hand and your soul is the one getting dragged along.  Now because this is sounding quite bizarre, let’s use some real life examples to see how this plays out.

Jen and Rachel are two teenage girls who are hanging out with some of their peers at a river.  There’s a large rock outcropping and some of the girls decide that it would be fun to leap off of the rock into the churning waters below.  Well, when they stand at the edge of the tall rock and look down at the angry waters below, Jen and Rachel see rocks poking through the surface of the water.  Both of their earthsuits do some quick calculations and both suits decide that heck no, they are not at all interested in being hurled out into the air and potentially landing on one of those sharp rocks below.  The brains of both earthsuits instantly trigger a whole series of fear alarms that are intended to make the souls of Jen and Rachel back off from doing this really stupid activity.

Well, while the two earthsuits are totally opposed to river diving, the souls of Jen and Rachel are not so quick to walk away.  You see, your soul and your earthsuit have different priorities in life.  Your earthsuit’s top two priorities are being safe and feeling good.  But your soul cares enormously about being accepted and affirmed by other humans.  The souls of Jen and Rachel really care about what the other girls in their group think about them.  Peer pressure is a soul issue, not an earthsuit issue, and in this situation, Jen and Rachel are feeling massive peer pressure.  Some of the alpha personalities in their group are starting to sense Jen and Rachel’s hesitation and someone tosses out a mocking, “You’re not scared are you?  It’s just a simple jump.  Don’t be such babies.”  Another girl now leaps off of the rock and appears to land safely in the river below.  “Come on, it’s easy!” she shouts back up to the group at the top.  Jen and Rachel stare down at the water below.  Inside their earthsuits, they can feel all kinds of fear alarms sounding.  Jen has knots in her stomach.  Rachel feels her palms sweating.  Jen is starting to shake.  “Okay, Jen, you’re next!” one of the alpha girls commands.  Jen’s earthsuit spikes it fear signals to try and intimidate Jen’s soul from going through with this asinine plan.  Look at those rocks!  Jen hears herself think, and this is her earthsuit talking to her soul, trying to get her to see reason.  This is such a stupid idea!  What am I doing?!  The frantic thoughts keep coming as Jen’s suit tries to get her soul to back off.  But Jen’s soul feels desperate to keep the approval of the other girls, so her soul is overriding her earthsuit’s warnings and she forces her feet towards the edge.  The next thing she knows, she falling through the air, and a few terrifying seconds later, she’s choking and thrashing amid a bunch of frosty water.  But at least she’s alive.  I did it!  Jen thinks in relief, and this is her soul expressing satisfaction over its success.  That was such a stupid thing to do! she thinks next, and this is her earthsuit, angrily chiding her soul for putting it at risk.

As Jen swims for shore, her soul and earthsuit continue to fight with each other.  Meanwhile, back up on the rock, it’s Rachel’s turn to jump.  Jen’s soul was able to override her earthsuit, but this isn’t going to be the case for Rachel.  Like Jen, Rachel’s soul desperately wants to be accepted by her peers.  But when Rachel tries to force her body forward, all of her muscles suddenly lock and she simply can’t make her legs budge an inch.  This is Rachel’s earthsuit asserting itself, and fighting for its own priorities.  Rachel’s earthsuit is going on lockdown, and in this moment, it is succeeding in preventing Rachel’s soul from overriding it.  The result is that Rachel stands there, helplessly frozen and feeling terribly embarrassed.  The girls start to tease her, but her muscles remain totally frozen.  By the time they finally unlock, her soul sees that her opportunity to impress these girls has been lost, so she turns and runs away in tears.  That’s just fine with her earthsuit.  It wanted nothing to do with being hurled over a cliff.  Why couldn’t I just do it?  Rachel thinks, and this is her soul expressing its anger at having its agenda blocked by its earthsuit.  But Rachel’s earthsuit isn’t about to apologize—it’s angry at Rachel’s soul for trying to put it in harm’s way.

So then, why does one soldier freeze on the battlefield while another boldly runs into danger to save his buddy?  Is it really a case of one man having better character than another?  Not at all.  As our story of Jen and Rachel demonstrate, human behavior is driven by some very complicated factors.  In the presence of danger, earthsuits are going to start panicking and focusing on self-defense.  Earthsuits couldn’t care less about morality—they just want to be safe and feel good.  It’s only your soul that cares about doing what’s right.  Trying to drag your buddy to safety on the battlefield is a moral issue.  There’s nothing in it for your earthsuit if you go dashing out into live fire.  So if your soul wants to do the moral thing, the only way it’s going to get its agenda done is if it is able to temporarily override your earthsuit.  That just isn’t always possible for your soul to do.  As Rachel discovered, there is no “override” switch that your soul can always count on to work in the critical moment.  It is God who controls the power balance between your soul and your earthsuit, and He is constantly shifting that balance around.

Struggling addicts know firsthand how unpredictable the war between soul and earthsuit can be.  Alcoholic Adam experiences freak moments when he’s suddenly able to muster up enough self-control to turn down the temptation to drink.  But plenty of other times, he goes down with all hands.  Because Adam doesn’t understand the difference between his soul and his earthsuit, he doesn’t understand why his self-control is such a fickle thing.  But what Adam is calling “self-control” is really his soul’s ability to override his earthsuit.  That ability is something that comes from God, and He has His own reasons for letting Adam’s earthsuit triumph over his soul so often (see Understanding Divine Judgment: Illumination, Empowerment & A God Who Delights In Mercy).

Without God’s cooperation, Adam’s soul doesn’t have any hope of keeping his earthsuit from getting plastered.  Adam’s problem isn’t a lack of character or willpower.  It’s a lack of empowerment.  Complicating matters further is that Adam’s earthsuit is viewing getting drunk in such a positive light.  Adam has a lot of unresolved psychological stress which is making his earthsuit feel very fatigued.  Drinking helps his earthsuit feel like it’s getting a temporary break from its stress, so it’s a big fan.  For Adam to sit around shaming himself for being such a drunk is totally unhelpful.  It would be far better to try and figure out what problems his earthsuit is trying to patch by drinking and see if he can help it fix those problems in a real way.   It would also be helpful for Adam to get educated about the principles we’re discussing here so he can stop setting unrealistic goals for himself.

Life is complicated when you’re a soul who is stuck operating in an earthsuit with a will of its own.  But while you can’t ditch your earthsuit, you can learn to get a lot more comfortable in your relationship with it by understanding how your earthsuit and your soul differ in their priorities.  It will also help you to learn how to discern when your earthsuit is talking to you, and that is the skill we’re introducing you to in this post.  So now let’s get more into this idea of pinpointing the voice of your earthsuit.

BODY TALK

Just as you and God don’t talk in a verbal language, your earthsuit doesn’t go around muttering to itself in verbal words.  Your earthsuit speaks to itself using its own set of signals that your soul doesn’t begin to understand.  If you press your ear against a fish tank will you hear its inhabitants chitchatting with each other using words?  Of course not, but that doesn’t mean the fish aren’t communicating with each other.  Fish are fluent in their own fishy language, and they’re constantly communicating to each other with flicking fins, lashing tails, and a whole range of other motions that mean nothing to us humans.  In the same way, the components of your earthsuit are constantly communicating with each other using a complex series of signals that mean nothing to your soul.  When your toe is in trouble, it knows how to instantly alert the rest of your body.  When the skin on your arm is cut open, a whole bunch of secret body talk happens which sets in motion a complex series of skin repair tasks.  Your earthsuit is like a marvelous universe whose inhabitants work together with amazing harmony to pull off highly complex tasks.  Your earthsuit generally keeps your soul out of its personal business.  But on occasions when it does want your soul to get involved in its affairs, it has a special set of tools that it uses for soul talk.  One of these tools is the formation of verbal thoughts in your brain.

When you hear your body talking to you in your head, what’s happening is that your brain is translating non-verbal earthsuit code into a language that your soul can comprehend. For example, when your earthsuit’s core temperature becomes uncomfortably high, your brain might form the verbal thought of “Wow, I’m hot.  I need to take off my jacket.”  This string of thoughts is telling your soul to get onboard with a specific action that your earthsuit wants to do.

Any Christian who has taken a run at the whole prayer closet routine knows about what a pest their earthsuits can be when they’re trying to focus on God.  You settle down in a corner of your closet and your soul starts trying to focus on God.  But you happened to sit down on the edge of a shoe that is now pinching a nerve in your caboose, and your earthsuit doesn’t like this situation.  It wants to shift its position to get off of the uncomfortable ridge, but your soul is not cooperating.  Your soul is overriding your earthsuit’s desire to move because your soul wants to concentrate on its own agenda without distractions.  Well, your earthsuit doesn’t give a flip about talking to God—it just wants its circulation to stop being pinched by that stupid shoe.  So when your soul starts vetoing your earthsuit’s attempts to move, your earthsuit starts making quite a fuss, and part of its fussing takes the form of verbal thoughts in your mind.  Meanwhile your mind is also attempting to summarize things your soul is saying to God in its non-verbal soul language, and the result is something like this:

“Dear God—ouch! What am I sitting on?  Whatever, I’m trying to pray.  Dear God, I really want to get closer to You—seriously?  This is so distracting.  What is that?   A shoe?  Oh, honestly, why can’t I just concentrate for five minutes?”

This script is essentially your soul and earthsuit arguing with each other.  Your soul wants to pray.  Your earthsuit wants to be more comfortable.  Until your earthsuit gets its way, it’s going to be quite the little pest.

Now the purpose of this series is to learn how to recognize your soul’s conversations with God.  As our prayer closet script demonstrates, your earthsuit can be quite the pesky interrupter when your soul is trying to talk to God.  Your soul, God, and your earthsuit are three separate speakers, yet because your brain translates comments from all three sources into the same “thought voice,” it can become difficult to tell who said what.  So how do you sort out the difference?  Well, in Lesson 4 when we did our first script analysis exercise, we listed some rules that you could use to identify when a specific statement or phrase that you hear in your mind likely came from God.  Let’s quickly review the rules for identifying God’s Voice, and let’s number each rule with a G number.

[G.1] The thought raises the possibility that you and God could have a positive future.

[G.2] The thought reminds you of something that God said to you in the past that made you feel encouraged in your relationship with Him.

[G.3] The thought refers to something you’ve seen, heard, or read which made you feel hopeful in your own relationship with God, or which promoted the idea that humans can have positive relationships with God.

[G.4] The thought counters a current belief you have which makes you feel hopeless about pursuing God or having a positive future.

[G.5] The thought refers to a trait about God which makes Him seem approachable, involved in your life, and/or possible to succeed with.

We can now make a new list of rules that will help you identify when a verbal thought is likely coming from your earthsuit.  We’ll give these rules ES numbers, with ES standing for Earthsuit.  Unique numbering systems will help us in future script exercises.

[ES.1]  The thought expresses a desire for your earthsuit to be safe or feel good, regardless of moral implications.

[ES.2] The thought gives specific instructions for how to increase the comfort or safety of your earthsuit.

[ES.3] The thought warns of a specific threat to your earthsuit’s well-being.

[ES.4] The thought gives an angry or fearful response to a suggestion that your earthsuit do something it doesn’t want to do. 

Let’s now do some quick exercises that will give you the opportunity to hear these kinds of thoughts surfacing in your own mind.  We’re going to present you with three different scenarios.  Pay attention to how your earthsuit reacts to each one.  Listen to any thoughts that surface in your mind in response to each question that you’re asked.  It might help you to say these thoughts out loud so you can really hear the wording.  Then see which of the four ES categories your responses lined up with.

Question #1:  You’re standing on the rim of a volcano, looking down at a lake of molten lava.  Do you jump in?  Why or why not? 

How did your earthsuit react to this imagery?  How did you answer the two questions?  When we asked Will these questions, his answer was “Heck no!  I’d be scalded!”  Will’s verbal answer reflects ES.3 and ES.4 statements.  Notice how he mentions the specific threat of being scalded—an ES.3 thought warns of a specific threat to your earthsuit’s well-being.  Will’s tone when he answered this question wasn’t calm, it was emphatic and fearful.  An ES.4 thought gives an angry or fearful response to a suggestion that your earthsuit do something it doesn’t want to do.  By presenting Will with images that threatened his earthsuit, we caused his earthsuit to react, and he was able to then analyze those reactions.  This kind of practice helps you get better at identifying how your earthsuit talks to you.  Let’s now go on to another question.

Question #2:  You find a purse on the street containing $1,000 in cash.  The purse also contains a wallet with the owner’s ID in it.  Do you steal the cash and leave the purse on the ground? 

This question is a little trickier, because we’re presenting you with a moral dilemma, and that’s going to cause your soul to chime in.  So what’s your response?  If you care about doing right, then your soul and your earthsuit are going to give two different responses to this scenario.  Your earthsuit will want to keep the cash because your earthsuit doesn’t care about morals.  But your soul will feel guilty about keeping the cash, and it will vote to try and return the purse to its rightful owner.  When we presented Stan with this question, he answered like this:

“Um…well, I know that keeping the money wouldn’t be right…but honestly, I could really use the cash. Part of me wants to keep it.  But then I think, if it was my money, I’d want someone to return it.  Not that they would.  I’m embarrassed to say that I might keep it.  Gosh, that sounds bad, doesn’t it?  Maybe I wouldn’t.  But returning the purse sounds like a hassle.  What if the ID is out of date?  I’m not sure what I’d do. It’s a tough call.” 

This is a complex script with many voices chiming in.  Here’s a quick breakdown (and you’ll learn how to do this sort of thing later on).

Stan’s hesitant “um” reflects that his soul and earthsuit are already fighting with each other, and there’s no clear winner yet.

Next, we hear from his soul: Well, I know that keeping the money wouldn’t be right.

His earthsuit then retaliates with a justification for having its agenda done: But honestly, I could really use the cash.

As his soul and earthsuit continue tussling with each other, his soul then acknowledges that a conflict is going on: Part of me wants to keep it. 

God then reminds his soul of the principle of “do unto others as you’d want done to you.”  Stan’s soul responds by agreeing with God’s conviction, and his brain summarizes the God-soul exchange like this: But then I think, if it was my money, I’d want someone to return it.

Demons now chime in to discourage Stan from obeying God’s convictions by saying: Not that they would. Here they are making the case that Stan shouldn’t feel so obligated to do the right thing when plenty of other people are doing wrong.

Swayed by both demons and his own earthsuit, Stan’s soul is wavering in the wrong direction and he admits this out loud: I’m embarrassed to say that I might keep it.  Gosh, that sounds bad, doesn’t it?  Maybe I wouldn’t. 

Since Stan’s soul is wavering, demons respond by giving him new reasons to blow off God’s convictions.  But returning the purse sounds like a hassle.  What if the ID is out of date? 

Stan’s soul then responds to what the demons are saying, and the script ends with his soul in a muddle: I’m not sure what I’d do. It’s a tough call.

Stan’s complex response shows how messy things get as soon as we bring morals into the picture.  So let’s take them out again for our third question.

Question #3: You’re walking down a city street when it starts to rain.  What do you do?

This question is strictly about earthsuit care, and it will be your earthsuit which provides the answer.  When we asked Tammy this question, she answered, “I’d look for a store or restaurant that I could duck into until the rain stopped.  If possible, I’d buy some raingear to keep myself dry.”  Tammy’s answer meets the criteria for an ES.2 statement because these two thoughts give specific instructions for how Tammy can increase the comfort or safety of her earthsuit.  Its Tammy’s earthsuit which provides these instructions, not her soul.  If Tammy was really out in the rain, her earthsuit would give her these instructions, and her soul would then respond by either cooperating and finding cover, or arguing for some reason why it wanted to stay outside.

THE SOUL-EARTHSUIT RELATIONSHIP

In Lesson 3 we talked about how God always initiates in His relationship with your soul.  But what about in the soul-earthsuit dynamic—who initiates there?  Well, your soul and earthsuit take turns initiating and responding to each other.  There isn’t a clear initiator in this dynamic, but there is a high level of sensitivity.  Because your soul and your earthsuit feel partially dependent on each other, they closely monitor each other, and when one entity is upset, the other becomes stressed as well.  This brings us to our fifth discernment principle:

Principle #5: Your soul feels like its well-being depends on the well-being of your earthsuit, and vice versa.

If your soul becomes very upset, your earthsuit doesn’t just cruise along business as usual.  If your soul is in trouble, your earthsuit feels threatened as well, and vice versa.  Let’s go back to our two men who are handcuffed together.  What happens if one man becomes very ill—so much so that he can’t even stand up?  This will greatly impact the healthy man—if he wants to go anywhere, he’ll have to physically carry the ill man around, and that’s going to really hamper the healthy man’s activities.

Now as our example of Jen and Rachel demonstrated, both your soul and your earthsuit can become very shortsighted when they really want something.  Jen’s soul was willing to risk seriously injuring her earthsuit by jumping off the rock.  If Jen had actually struck a rock on her way down, her earthsuit would have been badly injured, and her soul would have found that very distressing.  So her soul wasn’t being very wise to push for an activity that might have ended up making itself miserable.  But this is the way with souls and earthsuits: they are both very self-absorbed, and they make a lot of foolish decisions by refusing to consider the long-term consequences of their choices.  As long as your soul and earthsuit are just sparring with each other, they can really dig their heels in and show very little concern for each other in the heat of the moment.  But once one entity falls into a serious crisis, the other becomes sincerely distressed.

LOOKING AHEAD

In this lesson we’ve just started dipping our toes into the highly complex world of soul-earthsuit relations.  There’s a lot more we need to learn about this subject, and in our next lesson, we’re going to expand on a very important issue that you might have noticed happening when Stan was waffling about whether or not he’d steal the money out of that lost purse.  Earthsuits react to demons, and demons talk to earthsuits. Demons also talk to your soul, and that’s definitely something we’ll need to discuss in detail.  But because your soul and earthsuit feel so dependent on each other, demons can actually cause your soul a lot of distress by going after your earthsuit.  So that is what they do—a lot.  They target your suit, and your suit reacts, which then causes your soul to react in some very predictable ways.  Demons then criticize your soul for the way it’s reacting to your suit, and soon they’ve got you running in a nasty little circle of guilt.

This shady strategy of using your suit to stress out your soul is extremely common and it works on all humans.  Targeting your suit is also a great way for demons to create a context in which they can fake God’s Voice in your mind and snow you into accepting all kinds of condemnation as legitimate convictions from God.   If you’re going to get good at discernment, you really need to learn how to recognize when demons are giving you the earthsuit runaround, and we’ll teach you how to recognize this nasty little game in our next lesson.  Later on, we’ll do another round of script analysis which will give you a chance to practice applying these new principles that you’re learning.  If you’ve been reading all of the lessons in this series, then be encouraged!  You’ve already learned many critical discernment principles that most people do not understand, and understanding these things will be a huge help to you as you continue to pursue a closer relationship with God.

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