First month of 2015 is over and God has blessed us to witness a new month. Perhaps you are living out your vision board, still connected to those “non-resolutions” or just living life in a different way compared to 2014, or better, even as compared to yesterday. Maybe you’re waking up like millions of other people fixated on a disbelief of what will go down in football history as ‘that play.” Congrats to the New England Patriots, but this blog ain’t about them! The TD that I want to explore is Target Dispersion. It was unfamiliar terminology to me a few weeks ago, but who would’ve thought its been operational in my life for a while, and amping itself up over the last month.
I can thank two women from the National Center for Victims of Violent Crime who came to my campus to speak on the prevalence of stalking for unfolding target dispersion. A perpetrator of stalking elects to not only direct unwanted behavior toward someone, but creates intentional systems to keep the victim disconnected to those in his/her network. Stalking is serious, and more often that not, the victim has a plethora of evidence to support his/her case, but often attempts to manage or ignore the unwanted attention thereby enduring it as opposed to taking steps to get it to stop. As I reflected upon the presentation for days and then weeks later, I began to liken the approach of target dispersion to the enemy, and his repeated desire to keep us disconnected to not only Christ, but to each other as a network of believers, a network of encouragement and a network of accountability. In doing so, he continues to isolate us to feeling and eventually believing that we are in this thing of life by ourselves. So. Not. True.
We know the enemy desires to sift us as wheat. We know he understands the power that we possess as believers and followers of Christ. Problem is, do we know and believe?! We have to become sophisticated engineers of our faith and the prompting of the Holy Spirit that resides within us. Let’s take life seriously. When we have what we call a “feeling” to give someone a call, or to share a testimony or to go check on them, let’s follow through. Those are intentional interruptions perhaps to our own regularly scheduled events, but could potentially result in explosive occurrences in the lives of someone else. Someone else could be on the brink of despair and a small gesture from you may be just what they need to go on another further.
The enemy knows our connections. He seeks out who he desires to disrupt. On any given week, you can best believe that there are similarities to what me, my husband, our daughter and son are experiencing; and if we don’t come together and conduct a threat assessment through the utility of our Lord and Savior consulting the ultimate anti threat assessment book – the Word of God, we can just categorize something as a “bad day,” or “bad week.” Know this! Just as in the case of stalking, when the perpetrator can’t reach you, the first thing he/she does to get in contact with you is to connect with your network. Further, after he/she makes connection, the hope is that no further communication goes forth to discuss the contact that was made.
Let’s appropriate the concept. For example, when you are dealing with something ferocious, the tendency is to “go it alone.” Dip out from ministry, come to church (maybe) but sit in a different area so as “not to be seen.” Maybe delete your social media account for a while; after all its one way to keep from seeing all those inspirational messages and quotes. Elect to get involved in a texting relationship with folks; its quick, and it accomplishes a goal of communicating, but in a noncommittal fashion. Go to work, but remain in isolation so much so that your coworkers don’t know how to approach you, so they elect not to at all. These steps, whether in full or in part, not only make yourself available as a target, but also create the perfect storm for you to navigate by yourself.
Let me be clear. While referencing the framework of stalking to unfold this writing, I want to strongly encourage and employ you to take stalking seriously and seek professional assistance should you or anyone you know be a victim. In unfolding the practice of target dispersion over our lives as followers of Christ, I hope that we may be vigilant in understanding the power that we collectively have to fight the good fight of faith! In my circle right now, my daughter is abroad, my son is developing independence, my mother is care taking of a cousin who just had surgery, a close friend lost a young family member unexpectedly, and another friend is facing a chronic illness – again just one month into 2015. Nevertheless, God is faithful and we must as family, friends, strangers and believers seeks ways of encouragement, affirmation, lifting each other up. As my mom says, “the saints are always praying,” and so we must! I Corinthians 1:10 reads, “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Imagine the possibilities!