What’s Up with “Sup?”

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By Jane Bromley

We humans exist simultaneously in two realms – the physical and the spiritual. We are spirits who “wear” bodies and have souls. Our souls consist of our mind, will, and emotions.

The mind is an amazing creation, and we humans, brilliant as we imagine ourselves to be, have not even come close to duplicating it. Artificial intelligence will always be manufactured. But Holy Spirit often speaks to us in our brains. It’s where we live. Our thoughts, conscious and unconscious, determine our choices. Our imaginations (inside our brains) often work at creating explanations. While every one of us humans is different, this little micro-universe has some commonality in all of us.

We all have thoughts. Many of them are routine, commonplace, universal. “I need to brush my teeth.” “These shoes are uncomfortable.” “What shall I fix for lunch?” We all have thoughts – thousands a day –, and they are scattered throughout the world inside our brains. Some ideas take an ugly turn when the enemy whispers suggestions to us, or maybe the flesh poisons our brains with something toxic. These are external triggers that produce “stinkin’ thinkin’ – doubt, anger, self-pity, and my big temptation, worry.

My brain, my universe, can be like a busy household of multitaskers or like a beautiful, peaceful park; or it can morph into a dangerous, desolate wilderness or even a battlefield. The enemy has dispatched his minions, armed with fiery darts, not to harm our earth suits (our bodies), but to inflict damage in the only place he has access – our souls – mostly, our minds. He is adept with his lies. They are subtle and undercover, so we are sometimes sucker-punched.

In the little world between my ears, I have noticed that it is primarily a happy place. I “practice His presence” and experience contentment, gratitude, and joy as I wander looking at galleries full of memories, lingering to contemplate and meditate, and consider plans that give me hope and comfort.

But there are a couple of tiny windowless rooms that I find myself in more often than I want to admit. One is full of memorabilia, representing circumstances or unresolved outcomes I didn’t like. I don’t go there often, but I lick my wounds and feel sorry for myself when I do.

There’s a scary little hideout just for fear. When I listen to the enemy regarding what might happen, I have been known to run to this dark little place, where I cower and shrink under the “what ifs?” peering through the cracks, trying to see into the future.

One more corner that I withdraw to at times is dark and gloomy but so familiar. The enemy tricks me into retreating to this depressing room – even though I know, I’ll regret it. I’ve been to this place often to try and “fix” a situation that is way out of my skillset. I counsel my husband and children and friends and family often not to go to that dark, claustrophobic cranny, but, hypocritically, I find I have been lured there often myself – sometimes multiple times in one day. The sign on the door reads “WORRY.”

One early morning between awake and asleep, I was listening to scripture, and I heard Rev. 3:20 – the one that inspired all the pictures of Jesus knocking. Ironically, my thoughts were drifting back and forth between that image of Jesus and the closet worry room. I knew the verse was used often for evangelism – to invite people into the Kingdom. But I also knew that Jesus had spoken them to one of the first church plants – the one at Laodicea.

Jesus chastised them for thinking they were rich when, really, they were miserable and poor (Rev 3:17). He counseled them to buy gold and clothes to cover their nakedness and salve for their eyes (v. 18). He knew they didn’t have anything to buy stuff with. They needed Jesus to provide the gold, the robes, and the salve. Laodicea was kind of like the American church – lukewarm and even disgusting in their lack of passion (v. 16). But Jesus didn’t come down too hard on them. In fact, He said in verse 19, “Those whom I dearly and tenderly love, I rebuke and discipline and instruct.” Then, in verse 20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with Me.”

As I lay there, simultaneously worrying and thinking about those words to believing Christians – albeit children who needed guidance and instruction – I “heard” something in my imagination. I heard Jesus knocking and saying something like, “It’s Me. I’ve got sandwiches.” I was in my little worry room, and Jesus found me. But He didn’t scold me. He just said, “May I come in? Let’s talk about it.” I didn’t feel like I was in trouble at all. I only felt relief.

The thing that was causing me to worry was complicated, but I knew that the moment Jesus took it, it would all work out. It wouldn’t be complex for Him at all. The fact that He wanted to eat with me and even brought the food was so comforting. He just wanted me to share my burden with Him. He wanted intimacy and the relaxed backdrop of a meal together. I was instantly able to let go of my anxiety and dialogue with Him. Back and forth – me expressing my thoughts, Jesus expressing His. It was so memorable – even if it was just in my imagination.

The little universes in our heads are constructed with imagery unique only to us. They are continually under construction as our minds are renewed. (Sometimes, demolition is necessary, as in the little worry corner. I haven’t been back there in over a week. I think it’s about to be remodeled into something useful – maybe a tea room or a porch for picnics.) “Supping.” Eating. Tasting. Feeding. All those terms suggest feasting on Jesus’ words, dining at His table, intimately enjoying His presence and our union with Him. I’m so grateful for that sliver of revelation that dropped into my imagination. I’m so thankful that Jesus showed me, “What’s up with ‘sup’?”