This is going to be a highly controversial post.
If you think you cannot deal with controversy, you probably can’t.
Please, do not read any further.
We all have this one struggle. Especially so in areas that really matter. There’s always that one thing contesting for our attention, our heart, our focus. Quietly, subtly, always unannounced.. it finds its way into our lives; slowly takes over our minds, takes possession of our souls. Sometimes this one thing becomes very obvious, predominant, a wheat needed to be uprooted. Sometimes, however, it just rests there.. like a parasite feeding off our existence little by little, until it has finally gained full ground. Once we realize it, however, it would have become such an important part of our lives, it is difficult to image existing apart from it. I have decided to break loose.
I am an awesome person in many ways; one with many faults and shortcomings. Three things I have come to love and appreciate about myself the most, however, are: I am real, I am honest, and I am rational. I did wrong. And I am aware of it, I admit it, I confess it.
Most of you will view me differently after reading this. Some will respect me more, admiring my courage in sharing, some will despise me, never come back to reading this blog, or even shun me in public.. All this is OK. I am not writing this for you, but to you.. I am writing it for myself.
Now, this might mean little or nothing to many. But it has meant a lot to me:
I have been struggling with astrology.
And no, I am not talking about those 419-“horoscopes” you read in the newspapers that tell you what to do, where to go, or how to feel; I am talking about the real deal. I am talking star-signs, personalities; I am talking moon-signs, ascendants. I am talking Mars and Venus; I am talking Jupiter and Uranus. I am talking houses, transits, trigons. I am talking the real deal!
It started a while ago.. studying star-signs, their core differences, personality traits, weaknesses, strengths.. compatibilities. I began to understand a bit more about human beings, their limitations, natural inclinations.
There will be many of you who will naturally roll their eyes to this, thinking it’s all made up nonsense. It is not. Ever wondered why the Lord so encouraged his people to stay away from it? In fact, warned them not to engage in the reading of signs through the stars? It’s because there’s power in it.
And I soon got pulled in. Studying it.. studying people. Forming parallels. I have always been very much into analysis of all kinds: systems, organisations, concepts, people. Personality tests were a very necessary and predictable “evil” I’d fall into, which soon exposed me to wanting to know more, needing to know more. It was a need I forced myself to meet. The journey of discovery lasted a while. The more I saw, the more I understood, the more I needed to know. And so I kept digging deeper. It got to a point where I could easily point out someone’s star sign after just having spent hours or days with him/her. This of course brought with it many difficulties: knowing my natural preferences for some signs, it made it easy for me to simply write off others (at least so mentally) I “knew” I could not get along with; at many major hurdles I would decide not to bother about a person anymore, believing I was able to understand their true motives and was able to predict the person’s next move, based on their said personality. Often this was true! I was naturally more “understanding” and enlightened. A great danger. At this point, some will naturally argue I merely saw these things because I believed them to be there, rather than anything else. I disagree. Anyway, moving on..
Soon after, exactly two weeks ago today, I started a new course. Now, if I may add straight up: the past couple of years have been a bit of a challenge for me. With the new year 2012 however, came new hopes, plans, expectations. I was very positive this year would bring about much good (not every year is better than the previous year, mind you), so I was highly expectant. I had received word and confirmation from the Lord it would be an awesome year, so I had no real reason to doubt. Or so I believed..
Anyway, so.. I started this new course and got a new trainer. The first thing our trainer told us was, “Oh by the way, I’m an astrologer too. So if you’d like to ask me any questions concerning horoscopes, want me to look into yours, or lay you tarot cards, just let me know.”
My, oh my. Needless to say, this was a trap I would fall into sooner or later. It was so bad, I even had sleepless nights. I prayed and longed for discipline.. to resist. I am not trying to make myself sound better or the victim of circumstances here, I am simply being real. To cut a long story short: I fell! I had him look into my stars, moon, planet, lay me cards, and analyse all findings.
Somewhere in-between all this I prayed and fasted. I knew I was not to consult the occult, knew I had transgressed, knew I was treading on dangerous ground. And being totally honest with myself and to God, I needed more grace to overcome..resist. I realized I had gotten too into it, more dependent on findings, reliant on their meanings, but I knew that with every temptation (whether forced into or stepped into freely) God could and would make a way of escape. I prayed for that way. I was weak.
Although I was still believing in Him and His promises, He was now no more my only source of inspiration. Thank God for the Holy Spirit. I was soon convicted. All this happened in a span of 2 weeks; and ended today.
Apart from the whispers I knew He was speaking, I had to pray an honest prayer that would conclude it for me, finally. The first horoscope I had received (a week ago) was false, as I wasn’t aware of my exact time of birth and had given him a random one. Having read the pages I was given, I knew there was something wrong. I felt it.. he too. Having gone to check my correct birth time again, my trainer went on to do another detailed horoscope; this time based on all accurate information. The prayer I prayed the night before I got it (last night), went something like this:
Lord, I know I have done wrong. I know I should not be doubting the Creator, looking at His creation for answers. I know I should not be looking to the stars for signs, believing what they say more than what You have said. I know I am doing You wrong by putting my trust in anything and anybody apart from You. This is becoming a struggle I fear I might not be able to fight on my own. I need your grace, strength. I do not know what the stars are saying, but I do know that Your word is true and holds true at all times. I need you to give me a sign. I need you to confirm all that You have been saying. I do not know what the stars are saying, but my prayer is that they will just confirm Your word. The first horoscope was wrong. Now, I want You to prove Yourself. Maybe I am wrong to ask, but I need you to confirm Your word. I need to know that it has not changed, even as You have promised it would not. I need to be reminded that Your word is the same always. I believe Your promises. This is something I do not wish to continue. I need to know that it all still holds true and that I can keep trusting you. I need this sign as a warning, a loving reminder, an encouraging proof that You are still in charge, in perfect control of my life, my destiny, my present situation. Please, let it be a confirmation of Your word. Nothing more and nothing less.
You see, there is no point praying righteous prayers. There is only a point praying real ones. I could have probably said many other things, I know.. but I spoke from my heart. Spoke my mind. I needed the sign, a confirmation. And I asked for grace and strength to turn.. back to Him.. totally. I promised never to near those things, once I had received the confirmation.
We often think we can get away with serving two masters. Let’s be real. Deep down we all know we can’t. The one will always ask for more attention, dedication, a greater commitment. There will come a time we’ll have to choose. And today, I did.
When my trainer handed me the papers today, I was deeply shocked. Shocked at how on point and accurate it was. It did not reveal anything new, anything shocking, anything unforeseen. It simply confirmed everything the Lord had been telling me. I was convicted. Later that day, I went to visit a wonderful friend of mine who coincidentally also had a few books on Astrology at home (her parents especially are very esoteric). I was handed the book and some other things before we left to have a coffee and cake at a cafe in the city centre. Remembering my promise, however, I returned the book.. and tore the pages I had been given by my trainer earlier.
And a stream of questions/ reminders followed: Why doubt? Why seek other mediums to confirm God’s word? Even the sun and moon and stars bow down to him. He commands the winds and the waters, the waves and the seas, and they obey.. so why doubt Him? Why seek the work of His hands rather than Him directly? A million and one things started coming to mind, and I was grateful for His mercies.
There are many who start on such a journey, never to find their way back. I am glad I am not one of them. Not today. There are many who test the waters, never to find their way back to the shore. It is a dangerous thing to put your trust in man.. a very dangerous ground to tread on. I had to learn that too.
You might hiss and yimu and say it’s easy for me to say that, now that I’ve gotten the sign, the confirmation. Don’t judge. You might ask, “What if I don’t even know what the Lord is saying?”. I’ll simply encourage you to take time, seek His face, and find out. There is something about drawing closer, you know.
All this could have ended badly/differently, so I guess this is a testimony of some sorts. An encouraging one to some, I hope. A warning to others.
I feared sharing this, as I did not want to introduce any sceptics or freethinkers to the dangers of astrology, but I decided to share it nonetheless, hoping it will do more good than harm. There are struggles we all face, in different areas of our lives, God’s Word has an answer to them all.
I just met a friend who I shared this “struggle” with. Had I known she was struggling in her relationship with God at the moment, I probably would not have shared this with her. The encouraging words I spoke to her after having opened up, did little, as she had written my wise counsel off- in light of my previous confession. It is sad.
Many times we are not aware of the dangers or influences of our actions, no matter how little. At the end of the day, salvation is a personal thing and we are all on a very individual journey, called to overcome; but the truth still holds: we are to be the light of the world, the salt of the earth.
I pray the Lord causes our light to (once again) shine bright. May we draw people closer through our words and actions, rather than away.