Age & Stage
Manifesting your dreams is a dangerous trend sweeping through our schools and social media. Manifesting and setting intentions is witchcraft.
“Manifesting your dreams” has entered the mainstream through social media. On the surface, it’s presented as another version of “the power of positive thinking.” However, it is another form of witchcraft that is dangerous trap for unsuspecting Christians and teens through social media.
Did you know that you can learn to be a witch on TikTok? The influence of witchcraft is all over social media, and even if your family has chosen to stay off of TikTok (or other forms of social media), there is no doubt that your teens will eventually hear the language of witchcraft in their school hallways or out on the soccer field.
While social media is rife with clear language that is troublesome (witchcraft, witches, and spells), there is also language being used that is just as connected to witchcraft, but kids may not even realize it. You may not either.
“I didn’t even know what I was doing was wrong!”
I hear this statement repeated multiple times every time I speak on the topic of witchcraft to groups of Christian students. Many see things like spells, tarot cards and contacting “spirits” as just fun and games – something that isn’t truly real. Many teens say that no one had ever talked to them about witchcraft at all, so how were they supposed to know to stay away? And it gets even trickier when we are dealing with language that is witchcraft in disguise.
If you’re out on social media at all, you will recognize the term “manifesting” or “manifesting your dreams.” It has become a buzzword of sorts, for people of all ages to publicly declare the things they want to see happen–their future. Young people are “manifesting” love or good grades or college acceptances. The word has settled into every corner of social media. I hear it in high school classrooms and your teens have likely heard it in their hallways, too.
It’s easy to think that it’s just another word for wishing for something. For many people using it, that may be exactly how they see it. But when you start to dissect what’s contained within that word, the troublesome nature of it appears.
Manifesting claims that you can get anything you want by thinking it, saying it out loud, and creating it (combining it with works or rituals). Those, my friends, are the same ingredients as a pagan spell. You do not have to dig very far to connect manifesting and “setting intentions” to deeper explanations of using witchcraft spells to get what you want. Social media is providing video examples of how to engage in witchcraft and many young people are unaware of the dangers.
Manifesting points to the self as the source of the desire and the power to gain it. But Paul reminds us, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6). Our flesh can want things that are bad for us, which is why we are then reminded, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13).
Manifesting will always have “the flesh” as the source because it is only connected to our human desires. But it’s all a lie–we humans have no power in and of ourselves. Paul tells us, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). “Through Christ” is the only way we have strength. If we are trying to get something we want, apart from Christ, then we have strayed into enemy territory. A place where we can become quite deceived and drawn away from the truth.
Jesus tells us “ I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) The Bible is a veritable depository of the stories of humans who tried to do things their own way and failed mightily. The lie at the core of this trend is a very, very dangerous one: I don’t need God, I can get whatever I want for myself.
When we pray and share with God the desires of our heart, our prayers are directed to God within the relationship that we have cultivated with Him.
To what or to whom are all these “manifesting” declarations going?
There are only two sources of supernatural power: God or the enemy. The world would like to tell you there is a neutral source of power, but there isn’t. There is no “Universe” out there that is neither good nor evil that can hear all these manifestations.
There is no neutral power source for us to be able to get what we want. So whether people recognize it or not (and frankly many don’t), when you engage in “manifesting,” you join the enemy on his side of things. He doesn’t mind making lots of false promises to deceive people.
Have a frank discussion about the words “manifesting” and “intentions.”
Even if your child claims they have never seen the words, they will trip across them either online or over lunch. Ask them how they feel about prayer. This is a key area to explore because if they feel disconnected from prayer or don’t really understand it, then they are much more likely to not recognize the dangers of the language they encounter out in the world (which is ever-changing!)
God absolutely wants to hear about all of our desires and longings so we can encourage our kids to share everything with Him. But there are times when we must lay aside things we may want, too. We are only going to be able to tell the difference between something that is good for us or bad for us if we are actively connected to our relationship with Jesus. Not everything we want is good for us, and since God is a good Father, we must surrender to His will in trust.
As a family, explore how people in the Bible prayed. There are beautiful prayers in both the Old and New Testaments. If your children are old enough, have each family member explore a prayer each week and then share about what they discover. What stands out and what can we learn from it?
Have a family talk about social media algorithms. Remind them to be careful what they search for and what they watch since that is what feeds them additional content. They should also actively block accounts that have troublesome content.
God gives us boundaries out of His great love for us. He wants to keep us from harm. We can help our children see the goodness of God by speaking of our own trust in Him to guide us to what is best. There is a wealth of wisdom in the Bible and through prayer.
We all have dreams and longings and thankfully, we serve a God who cares about us so deeply that He invites us to share all of it with Him in prayer. And truly, He is the only One that can satisfy our hearts and make us whole.
©2023 by Sarah Anne Sumpolec. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
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