Already Included #69 – Old Shirts

By: Sarah Nyhan

I wanted to wear my shirt from yesterday just for a few minutes this morning because I didn’t want to dirty up a new shirt before I showered.

When I went to put the old shirt on from yesterday, I couldn’t even keep it on for more than a few seconds. I took it off immediately.

There was no problem with the shirt yesterday when I put it on. But it’s a new day and I could just feel yesterday hanging onto that shirt like a second skin. Ugh!

Made me think about wineskins again. And manna. How we grow and change as people. And in our relationship with God. Just like babies and children biologically change and grow. What was yesterday’s was meant for yesterday. Today is a whole new thing.

I’m that person who appreciates comfort. I don’t understand the concept of feeling shame for wearing an outfit more than once. On the contrary, I wear my favorite jeans and t-shirts once a week. They have to literally be falling apart for me to get rid of them.

I’m like that with life sometimes also. With people more specifically. I’ll hold on until it’s tearing me apart too much. But sometimes the people for yesterday aren’t today’s people. Sometimes the way we thought yesterday is not where God is leading us today.

Not that He changes. No, this is about healing. And no condemnation; Trinity is well able to reach everyone. What I’m focused on is my business. My healing. One step at a time.

What is the manna for today? Will I embrace the mysteries from the safest place inside my Father’s heart? Is my trust in “certainty” or is my trust in Jesus? Is my trust in an intellectual knowing or is my trust in Trinity’s heart? Is my trust in my understanding or is my trust in my God’s love?

Already Included #68 – In Action

By: Sarah Nyhan

Things were overall going well today. Then I exposed myself to some people from a past life per se. A life that currently appears all but dead.

And at first there were a lot of good things. But slowly, just like before, a word here, a word there… Before I even knew it, even though I was trying to watch out, I rapidly slipped and fell down the slope.

Thankfully not very far and not for very long. Which is a miracle, really. I think it’s endurance. Trial by fire. The more I choose life, the more aware I am when death comes knocking. It’s repulsive to me now when I realize it.

This time it only took a few minutes to get through the mess. I was having such a good day and then my mind did a 180 after the exposure. It was so jarring. I didn’t want the feelings and thoughts at all. They were unfortunately too familiar. I had no desire to do yet another round in the ring with them.

So I followed my own advice from yesterday. I cried out in brutal honesty. And faster than I could get the words out, Comfort swooped in to wrap me up in assurance and perfect love! Unlike the hours, days, and weeks I can spend if I insist on spinning my own wheels.

Some of the helpful thoughts: “Start with what you know.” Well, I sometimes feel like I don’t know much else than Jesus loves me. “That’s a great place to start!” If Jesus loves me then I matter. And what I want matters. Then remembering that I don’t have to be strong enough; I can trust God to be bigger than me. Back on track.

The specifics really aren’t the point so much as sharing it as an example of yesterday’s encouragement worked out in real life. Hope in that respect. Sometimes seeing it in another can help when we’ve yet to experience it for ourselves. Me included.

But back to the beginning, a few things came to mind.

More and more I understand not being able to put this new wine in the old wineskins. It just doesn’t work.

And also even further back to the first garden. Maybe it was a real tropical paradise. But I choose to see it more as a picture for us. (Easier to remember in a culture that passed on information orally. I find more freedom in reading the stories more literarily than literally these days.)

And so I am now leaning to the garden being a picture of our mind. Maybe even our hearts. And the directive? Guard it. Take care of it. Kinda be jealous over this space given to you by God. So we’re not deceived. Only for our good – individually and collectively. (Not at all about an ego.)

Religions take this to the next level. Mostly good intentions gone too far, in my opinion. I don’t think it has to get that crazy or complicated. I think the answer is much more simple. Just like they initially did in the garden story: simply be with God. No formulas.

This is about relationship. Real relationship. The kind you crave but don’t even dare to let yourself think about after so many disappointments.

People say be with Jesus and then they turn that into a list of stuff to do. Like even go to church, pray, or read the Bible. No, I’m talking even more simple than that. I’m talking simple enough for a child.

What do you do when you want to spend time with someone? You just meet them and usually talk with them. That simple.

You don’t even have to believe. Trinity will gladly take even your unbelief. Very welcome as more honest than most, I would bet. Don’t we long for those we feel safe enough to be our real full selves with? God is that big. Even bigger. You were already fully known and loved before you even could disappoint youself. God does not change. We are the ones constantly invited to return Home.

I think this is about healing. I think this is about love. I think we’ve got a lot to learn. But never any condemnation.

Ask and you shall receive. And then hold on for the ride. 😁 The adventure of really living out loud and in color. New and fresh every morning. I haven’t experienced any other option that remotely comes close to satisfying. By design.

And yet there is a lot of hope. Not willing that any perish. Not content to leave even one little stinky smelly sheep behind. Preparing a table for us. Finishing what He starts! That, my friend, will give you wings to soar, to risk taking flight.

How little do we think of God? Where did we fall down along the way? What is He doing even now?

God, thank You! I want us to see as You see, hear as You hear, know Your love for us, experience it so personally that the intellectual is unnecessary, and then be able to share that hope starting with those we love. Healing this amazing gift You have given us. One beautiful person at a time. A real rEVOLution.

Already Included #67 – Too Small

By: Sarah Nyhan

I think we’re probably all guilty of trying to dumb down God; trying to make God smaller than He is. Forcing Him in a box that is the size of our choosing.

I don’t think we can imagine a box that is big enough for God. I think that’s the point.

When I don’t understand, what do I do? Do I rush to defend God? When I’m disappointed? When something tragic happens? When it seems like too much time has passed?

Do I sit quietly and wait for Spirit to give me what I need? (Do I even really know what I need?) Or do I go to my mind and my heart to construct an explanation?

I spend so much time trying to carry these burdens on my own. When I actually bring them to God in the moment, it feels like almost instantly I’m given what I need to move to the next step.

The Israelites come to mind. How they wandered in the desert of their own strength for so long. Many other stories. The same theme.

It’s not natural for me to give up; I’m so used to using my mind to work things out. Now learning more and more to be ok with saying “I don’t know” and turning to God for help. Like a child. Welcomed!

And tonight I was thinking about how God could heal the whole planet with a Word. Maybe He already has outside of our experience of time and space. But even if not, He could make it all clear and fix everything right away. We see this in the stories of Jesus. Healings. Even with the time of His surrender in the garden; all the soldiers fell down with a Word.

So this God of ours does not need us to defend Him. He is more than capable. He does not need us to explain Him. We can point the people with questions to The Source. Maybe we don’t because we don’t practice what we preach in that respect. Maybe deep down some or even most of us don’t really, really trust this God we sing about… because we don’t go to Him enough to remember. We have a mountain-top experience and then we try to live on yesterday’s manna today; it’s not for us. His mercies are new and fresh every morning. Even every moment. What happened to the manna that was hoarded in fear?

What happens to us when we turn back to our own strength?

Do we not think our Creator is powerful enough to write in the sky so all could see? Or speak so that all could hear? Even those that say they don’t want to or they don’t believe?

Do we really believe God is so impotent?!

I’d be remiss to give you my peace right now. Because it was for me. And you need your heart spoken to. God is that personal. That invested in you. So I encourage you. Whatever it is today. Whatever it is in this moment. Even in unbelief, ask.

Already Included #50 – Divided

(This content is also available on my personal YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/h1tAK7dboDU)

I’m tired of giving power to fear. I’m tired of not including Trinity.

Maybe we were Created to receive Love. Maybe it’s that simple.

Maybe there is much more available to us than we realize, than we experience, because we are pathologically obsessed with our weaknesses versus resting in the absolute strength of who and Whose we really are.

What if we felt so secure in our origin and true identity that we stepped out of the boat and onto the water? What if we actually didn’t sink? What if we focused on what Jesus thinks of us versus making gods of the opinions of others and even ourselves?

What if we are the only ones that are ever coming to save us and all of Creation is groaning for us to WAKE UP!? All of Creation waits expectantly like a parent of a toddler; saying, “You can do it! You can do it! Almost there, c’mon, don’t be scared. You got this! Trinity is right here.”

What if all of heaven and Creation combined are pregnant with the expectation of being able to celebrate as we step fully into our divinity? As sons and daughters of The Divine. Kids who know their King, their Abba, and the truth of Who they belong to?

What if healing is ours for the taking? Jesus asked, “Do you want to be healed?”

What if there is no battle outside? What if the war is already won and we just need to realize it in our hearts and minds?

What if this is nothing more than a mirror (exposure therapy)? Reflecting the result of focusing on our fears versus who we always could have been and still can be?

What if we were totally secure, loved, and cared for? Would we make different decisions? Would we choose to give our power away?

We are divided in our minds, in our hearts. The outside echoes the inside. We are too long scared little children intimidated by other scared little children.

Who is your Father? Who is your Mother? Who showed us that there is nothing to be afraid of?

Is this really all there is? Is this really all we can ever be? I wager we aren’t even close. I wager we have only just begun, only just started.

The fight is only on the inside. Who will stand up? Who will run to Papa? Who will risk taking Trinity at Their Word?

Did God die or will we come aLIVE?

Already Included #31 – You

(This content is also available at https://youtu.be/HjIqtXoA-yY)

By: Sarah Nyhan

I think I know what Saul/Paul was doing for those first few years after his conversion. I think he had to go off and be by himself while everything he thought he knew fell away and was replaced by truth. Less of an intellectual exercise. More of a rebirth in the sense of so thouroughly experienced that every single cell is saturated with this new real life. Actually lived and alive versus simply conceptualized.

This is what has been happening with me. To use Paul Young’s analogy, I didn’t realize I had constructed and others had helped me build such a monstrosity of a facade. My entire identity was totally tied to what I did, what I had, and what I thought I knew. Versus truth. All of the facade is now being burned away.

I was ready to jump in and repeat the same old formula with this new-to-me “already included” knowledge. But I feel like God is saying, “No, baby girl. We’re going to do things totally different this time. I appreciate so much your heart and enthusiasm, but I have everyone else. What I want us to focus on for now, for this time, is YOU. You are important also. Your healing and wholeness is the priority right now. What eventually overflows will organically be shared with others in due time.”

This is TOTALLY different than the experience modeled for me by the church as an incorporated entity in society. What do most churches do that I have experienced? They have not been hospitals for the soul, even though they claim such. Instead they have been like labor camps. Oh sure, there is initial love-bombing if you are considered an outsider. But once you’ve converted then it’s all about what you can do for them, dressed up as what you can do for “god”. And then the only acceptable answer is: always more. To them, Jesus’ sacrifice was not enough; you also must die.

This is my new litmus test for truth: are you offering me anything? Are you invested in me as a person? Is relationship with me a priority? Or are you just doing the same ol’ dance with new clothes? You know the one. In its extreme form it looks like what we think of most televangelists. Although more subtle and maybe more insidious forms are likely manifesting in most local church entities. In my experience.

And although the damage is the same no matter the motivation, I suspect the great majority of pastors and preachers start out with absolutely fabulous intentions. I really believe that. Maybe even some seasoned folks still think this is the right way. I mean, it’s all they have ever known. Like me, it’s all that was ever modeled for them from the pulpit.

Though I suspect at some point, as I experienced, you encounter a crisis. If you pursue truth hard and long enough then you must eventually, even in short time, face a crisis. Where the religious machine fails and your heart has a choice to make. I can’t tell you what to do. That is between God and you. But eventually you’ll have a decision to make. Is your trust in the religious machine or is your trust truly in God?

And really, to be even more specific, is your trust in yourself or in God? Again, I never saw it that clearly in the beginning. But over and over and over, it’s been made clear to me that is the core problem. Religion says I am responsible. That I can’t really trust God all the way.

Let me tell you a story. A true story. The other day some people from the city came out to the property I manage. They wanted to cut some trees near the powerlines. Caught off guard, in the heat of the moment, I was convinced by the city workers to approve them completely removing the trees versus only trimming them. Later when I was not under their influence, I looked at the trees and regretted my approval. But I thought that it was too late to change my mind.

As I stressed about this, one day they entered the property while I was gone. However, the property owners just “happened” to also show up at the same time for a rare site visit. The property owners were able to speak with the city workers and save the trees. All without any help from me.

This is our God. Who knows that I mess up. And knows that I don’t know how to fix my mess up. And He cares for me. So He somehow makes the property owners show up at the last minute and save the trees. This is a God I can trust. To be way bigger than me.

This is the God that is interested in me. Not just what I can do. Not just what I can give. Whose priority is relationship with me. As long as it takes. Not so that I can do anything for Him.

I was reminded this week of the verse in the Bible where it talks about a good man leaving an inheritance for his family. Not the other way around. Who among us has even ever experienced that? With our biological or church parents?

And again, I don’t think most know any better. Just passing on what was passed to them.

But how different would it look if we cared more about healing the person and being in relationship with the person versus setting them up to be another cog in the religious machine? Versus stripping them of everything they can possibly give? Fleecing them. Until they can’t take it anymore and run away out of desperation. For their lives.

All I am saying is there is another way. All things work for good. We get there one way or another. If not in this life, then I am sure we will see clearly during whatever comes after. But why wait that long? We can choose life now. Jesus came not to build another religious machine. He came to give us life, and life more abundant!!! Right now. The kingdom of heaven is at hand – right now. Jesus came and showed us what we have been missing all along. What is available to us right now. Without having to jump through hoops of performance or poverty in all its various forms.

You absolutely will encounter loads and loads and loads and loads of trouble. But it will be different trouble. It will break your heart versus breaking your back. In that sense, there will be some dying. Of your ego mainly. As everything that is false is burned up. That is a dying without counting Jesus’ sacrifice as incomplete or insufficient.

In case you’ve never read anything I’ve written before, I am not talking about a legal or accounting transaction. Merely that WE needed to kill Jesus, the Son of God. So we would finally have proof that no matter what we can think of or do, God is always and forever for us. The resurrection proved that God is not the least bit intimidated by or ever against us. As individuals. Even as He drives out ever last bit of hell that we hold onto in our blindness.

God doesn’t destroy us.