This week, I realized what is meant when someone says "stronghold". You hear that mentioned a lot among Christians. A strong hold is when something in your life has a hold on you that is so strong, that no matter what you try, you can't get free. It can be a pattern of behavior, a pattern of thinking in certain areas, or even a toxic relationship. I have experienced strongholds in all of those areas. I think relationships are the strongest visual of the anatomy of a "stronghold". I had one relationship in my life sometime ago that I just couldn't get out of. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how many times I left, I always ended up back in that relationship. It lasted for years. I just couldn't break free. It's like I would get a little bit free and then end up right back. That's what happens with "strongholds" in our lives. We will make a little process but always end up right back where we were, we can never seem to get completely free. Have you ever had that in your life. Where no matter how hard you try to break free of something that is bad for you, you always end up right back? It's like a real, strong man has you tied up. What about a thought pattern in a particular area that you can't break free of? It's like a loop that repeats in your life over and over again. Do you ever feel like you keep hitting a wall in certain areas of life. It's a wall that's been there for awhile?
I believe there is a special life hidden on the inside of each believer. I believe that life is suppose to manifest. I believe that life is custom fit for you and your family. I believe that we live in a culture, even within he Body of Christ, where others do not support a "custom" fit lifestyle that is unique to each family. I find that "the church" especially is very afraid of "uniqueness". It reminds me of a family where the parents want all the kids to act alike and fit into one specific mold and the parents never let the kids variate from that "mold". I believe that the reason for these fears in the church is because of the possibility of not being able to have as much control over other believers, I also believe that there is a fear of sin and people falling away from the church. While these are valid concerns, I believe the church sometimes hinders our uniqueness as believers because of these fears. I believe we as parents can be guilty of this concerning our kids as well.
I believe "freedom" is the biggest area of lack in the lives of believers. It is the very reason Christ died for us. It doesn't surprise that the devil attacks the area of "freedom" in the lives of believers more than any other areas. Back to "strongholds". A stronghold is when something, other then Jesus, has a hold on you. We all have them in our lives. We all have areas where something, other than Jesus, has a hold on us. I mean,, we are human. But there are also times when God wants to deliver us from specific strongholds because it is getting in the way of us fulfilling our purpose on this earth.
How do we cooperate with the deliverance that God has for us? I think it's important to pay attention to the impressions that God has placed on your heart. I can only share what I have experienced to help you understand what these "impressions" are and how to recognize them. For myself, I recognize "Godly impressions" on my heart when something has been on my heart for a very long time. A lot of times, I keep hearing the same thing over and over again concerning my life over an extended period of time. It is not audible, it is an impression inside of me, that echos inside. It's gentle but persistent. It lines up with the bible. Those are some things to look for. These impressions help you recognize what God wants to do in your life in a particular season so you can focus on that. Since we can't do it all, it's important that we are in tune to what God wants to do during particular times in our lives. Once you start paying attention to what's God is placing on your heart. Make a list of how to prioritize the things that are on your heart. It doesn't mean you ignore everything else, it just means that put God first by prioritizing certain things above others. I'll give you some examples:
1. More quiet time with God - Prioritize it by getting up earlier on some days and designating a space in your home, but also trying to keep that space inviting for yourself. Prioritizing the "maintenance" of that space above other spaces in your home.
2. Nourishment and nutrition - A simple start is to make changes in your kitchen to make meal preparation more inviting. That could mean keeping it cleaner so it's always prepared to make meals. That could mean that other areas in your home might remain messy more often because they are not a priority right now.
3. More focus on your children - That could mean, focus less on keeping your house in physical order and focus more on nourishing the souls of your children, to help them have inner order in the hearts and souls.
It's different for everyone, sometimes it is about outward order and sometimes it's more about inward peace and nourishment. Try to work on paying attention to the "Godly Impressions" on your heart and make a list of them and pray about ways to prioritize them in your life.