We are in a war. The battleground of this war is largely in our minds. The enemy’s goal is to keep us in a place where we believe lies…about ourselves, about others, about God and about His Word. Satan is the father of lies and I have fallen prey to his schemes far too many times.
I’ve had enough.
This last attack came when I was weary and sick. I had some type of sinus infection that just made me feel like poop.
When I get sick, I just like to go to bed and sleep until it passes. I don’t need to eat. I don’t watch TV. I disappear from social media and talking to my friends. I don’t read. I just shut down.
The only thing I desire during times of sickness is affirmation from my family…you know, things like “we love you”…”we hope you feel better soon”…”we miss you”.
After a few days of being sick, I felt this heaviness in my spirit. It was almost like a heavy blanket was laid on me. I became quickly depressed and offended. Things that bothered me bubbled to the surface and seemed hopeless and my thoughts became irrational.
I started to question who I was, what I was doing, where I was going. It kept getting bigger until I was questioning…what is the purpose of it all?
The feeling of worthlessness welled up in me so big, I thought I would drown in it.
I became extremely sensitive to what my family might or might not be thinking of me. Everything became twisted in my mind. For example, “we hope you feel better soon” really meant “we sure hope you get your lazy good-for-nothing butt out of the bed soon and be a mom for crying out loud!” or when Jeff would say “I love you”, he really meant “I’m trying to love your worthless tail, get up and do something lady!”
Imagine my family trying to dodge that filter on all their words.
Makes me mad looking back on it. I should have seen it. I was under attack and the enemy meant business. But I was not prepared.
And since I was not prepared for this battle, I defaulted to my old ways of dealing with this kind of attack.
I fell victim to it and the only way I saw to get out of it was to work myself out of it. I needed to do something that would earn the approval of my family and then maybe God’s approval. I felt desperate to get back into their good graces.
I had a choice. I could have turned to God and reminded myself of who He is and how He sees me. I could have reminded myself of what I now possess because of Christ dying for me. I could have reminded myself of His free gift of salvation and that I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. I could have remembered the miracle of God in my marriage and how far Jeff and I (and our girls) have come with the Lord.
But I chose differently. I chose my old way…works…performance…
I completely gutted our garage.
The whole time I pulled things out of the garage and into the yard, I blasted sermons. I picked sermons dealing with BIG issues.
Every plan I had working was some type of performance-based way to gain good graces in the eyes of my family, in the eyes of God and, for a bonus, get some tips on “how to be a better Christian.”
It seemed the harder I worked, the greater the battle for my mind became with thoughts like …
You really think this is going to work? You will never amount to anything. Look what you did. Look who you are. You are nobody. No one has ever wanted you. You weren’t wanted as a child and you aren’t wanted now. You don’t have a job. Your husband has to work his butt off taking care of you and just look at you…you are a mess.
I was spiraling out of control…back to my old ways of thinking…
I started off my guilt-driven cleaning spree quite zealous…for Jesus! For Jeff! For my girls! For my friends! For my community! For my church! Praying for my enemies!
Fast-forward three hours…
The yard looked as if my house threw up! I was down to sweeping the floor with a small house broom…gotta throw in some self-punishment while I’m at it.
I was tired, dirty, hot as fire, defeated.
I found a dead chipmunk curled up in a corner and could totally relate to it.
I started asking God questions like…
Why Lord? Why am I doing this? I can’t keep this up! I can’t do it anymore! I don’t want to do it anymore! My husband deserves better than this! My girls deserve better than this! My friends are my enemies! I am a mess! Who am I to pray? I’m no good for the community or the church!
BLAH! BLAH! BLAH!
LIES! LIES! LIES!
But I fell for it.
Jeff came home and the look on his face said…
WHAT ON EARTH HAS HAPPENED HERE?
We got the garage put back together (and it’s quite beautiful by the way).
The kids had to babysit for life group that night, so they left. It was just me and Jeff.
I confessed my thoughts and feelings to him. I cried.
Jeff asked me, “Who do we turn to in times like these? Did you forget?”
I wasn’t feeling it.
He grabbed my hands and prayed for us…
Okay…mostly for me.
When he was done praying, Jeff spoke truth in love to me. He confronted the issue of my lack of discipline in raising the shield of faith when the attack of the enemy comes. I get hit once and then again and again and again until I’m down…and out. After getting hit, I take my eyes off Jesus and I want to just…be…done.
The way I reacted to this attack during this sickness was just as dramatic and sinful as when the Israelites went right back to their unbelief after all that God had done for them. They watched Him provide water out of a rock and rain their meals down from heaven and part the Red Sea for crying out loud!
I hated being in this place again. I shouted to the LORD “There is nowhere else I want to be than right next to you! I never want to go astray! God! I just want to please you!”
Then I remembered…without faith, it is impossible to please God.
What does that faith look like?
We must exercise our faith.
I have believed these lies for so long…the rutted path in my brain is so deep and so familiar. It will take EFFORT on my part to choose FAITH and make a new path.
Combatting lies is not a playground game. It is a fight that takes place on the battlefield. We are in a battle.
As soon as I came out of this battle, the enemy tried once more to hit me with his lies “I can’t believe you acted like that. I thought you were further along in your walk with Jesus than this?”
Guilt and condemnation.
We have two choices…Cry out to God, REPENT and move forward in Christ…or FALL. How much further do you have to fall before you take this seriously? This is not a game.
Have you had enough? I have!
In Ephesians 6, Paul writes…Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God…
These are commands. Why does he tell us to do this? So that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
I am guilty of spiritual laziness.
That is not an option in my new life.
The old life has passed away…the new life has begun.
What does it look like for you? Is there a place in your life that you can identify where you still choose to make the same mistake you’ve made for years? What will it take for you to say ENOUGH?
The enemy knew the right time to strike me. He studies us and he is patient. He waited until I was sick. I was isolated. I was weak. I was not in the Word. I was not renewing my mind. I was tired.
I flat out sinned and refused to put on my full armor of God and instead fell victim to the enemy.
I was deceived into believing that I was a victim.
As a child of God, I am not a victim.
I fight FROM a position of victory, not FOR victory.
I have a game plan for the next time I get sick or begin to experience a spiritual attack…I am going to make a battle book and in it I will have Scriptures that will renew my mind when I am down. It may sound cheesy but THIS IS SERIOUS.
If I don’t make it a priority to exercise my faith as a child of God, I will always fall victim to the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour.
I can choose to go to this dark place again or I can remember who my God is and exercise my faith.
I am reminded of a conversation I had with my counselor a few weeks ago about a situation that I was stressing over. She gave me very wise counsel of what to do. As we were ending the conversation, I decided to rehash it one more time, as I needed to analyze the situation from yet another angle. She listened. She really is a patient one. When I was done I said something like, ”I don’t know…I just don’t know what I’m gonna do.”
My counselor is so precious to me because she is a woman of God and she will give it to me straight when I need it.
Like at this moment.
She very sternly said something like “What do you mean you just don’t know what you’re gonna do? I just told you…now do it!”
See? God’s like that…”I told you what to do…now do it!”
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22)
I am strong in Christ right now…so now is the time to plan.
Maybe the first page in my battle book will be a picture of David and Goliath. David believed God is who He says He is and he exercised that belief time and time again. How else could a young boy boldly bust out onto a battlefield with just a slingshot and rocks? While everyone else cowered on the sidelines in their unbelief, David killed the enemy.
God told him what to do and he just did it.