I was recently interviewed by a deconversion podcast out of Nashville called Everyone’s Agnostic. Below is a link for the show. This podcast has a lot of great interviews by others who have left the faith, so be sure to check those out too.
If you grew up in a Charismatic or Pentecostal church you may have had prophetic words spoken over your life. These prophecies would usually be given to you by your church family or by a speaker at the church. Nothing was more exciting than being called out in front of the congregation by a prophetic guest speaker and being told of the big plans God has for your life. Prophetic words usually encouraged you in your walk with God and gave you direction, because it lets you know God has a special plan in your life. I had lots of prophetic words spoken over my life.
Being a pastor’s son I always had people prophesying over me. A lot of the words were basic and vague like “you will have a ministry,” “you will be a missionary” or if they knew my dad was a pastor they’d give me a word about how I had the anointing of my father and I’d take up his mantle. But there were some words spoken over my life that were very particular and seemed to be just for me. The prophetic words that were more specific, had a common theme with other words given to me or resonated with my inner longings were the ones I paid most attention to.
Back in the mid-90s, a few years before launching The Call, Lou Engle laid hands on me and prayed. I remember him saying in his gravelly voice something along the lines of “You are going to grow up to be a man of God” plus a couple other things about my future – probably something about Joel’s Army – I wish I could remember. I was in junior high and this was my earliest memory of being prophesied over. It was simple, but enough for me to think he said something important about my life. Lou Engle speaks with authority and passion so whatever he says about what he see’s in your life you feel it may be coming from God; or at least that’s how I felt when I was 14 years old. Passion and authority play a huge role in the power of giving and receiving prophetic words.
During my God Encounter phase I was getting prophesied over more than I think it’s even healthy for a Charismatic. I have a lot of these prophetic words saved on cassette and CDR. The words that always seemed to be a common theme in my prophesies were that I’d be used in politics, write books and speak in universities using my intellect while performing miracles, signs and wonders. That sounded exciting to me. I wanted that to be my future and I started living as though that would be my future. I was encouraged that these prophetic words were given to me by well known Charismatic leaders I don’t care to name drop right now.
For a few years I prayed, fasted and meditated on God’s word trying to live in the destiny I was called into. I gave up friendships, job opportunities, interests and hobbies that I thought may be hindering my life away from my living fully in my destiny. I remember feeling at times that my calling in life was on track. Other times it was a struggle to see what God was doing in my life because things weren’t going as divinely as I imagined. I still pressed on believing that God had this great plan in my life. I felt secure in the fact that my life had meaning and I would live an extraordinary life.
Deconverting after believing in the things prophecied over my life wasn’t easy. It was depressing. I sometimes had panic attacks cause the reality would set in about the fact that I wasted a few years of my young adult life pursuing a destiny that was not promised. Added to that anxiety was my coming into grips that there may not even be a god. I regretted the years spent in pursuit of my calling. I wished I hadn’t dropped my old friendships, still played music and toured with my band. I wished I would have stayed in college and pursued an actual degree, instead of using up my time at the School of Supernatural Ministries. I felt like a fool and I was embarrassed of even looking back on the things I was beginning to not believe in. I felt wasted.
Since then I have come to accept this part of my life story. I still regret the things I have missed out on and the friendships I lost, but it no longer over takes me with guilt. I have found new meaning in life; not from a god, not from a prophet, but in myself.