Warfare, a battle raging inside. A fight between what we know and what we do. A struggle to stay the course when temptation, frustration and ego steps in.
I read scripture daily. This isn’t me tooting a righteous horn, this is my confession. That my internal temptations are so strong that I must hear, read or meditate on the word of God, every day, just to stay the course. This doesn’t translate to always getting it right, ohhh no, this actually translates to me seeing how much I get wrong. That quick moment of jealousy, those lingering thoughts of anger, the pride that makes it all about me. While these thoughts may not seem all that lethal, they are most definitely a slow drip of poison that will, in the end, steal, kill and destroy. And isn’t that JUST what the enemy wants? Isn’t that how he works his most deviant magic? Not by putting ludicrous thoughts of death and destruction in our mind but by taking the very real hurts from those around us and spinning in a lie that will leave us feeling empty.
Danny and I just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. A day that we literally talked about 10 years ago when honeymooning in Mexico. Planning out the renewal of vows and wandering where we would be! The excitement was palpable, but the reality was sobering. We were in a tough season of busy schedules, never enough time and exhaustion. As the day approached, with no extravagant plans, I pondered over where the last 10 years had taken us. The truth was, 3 beautiful children that we get to love and raise here on this earth, professions that have provided for us and kept us safe, a community that has rallied around us during the best and worst seasons, a faith that grows stronger each day. But the lies, the lies were, we weren’t connecting that week…so what was the point, we couldn’t afford to go anywhere grand because we didn’t have enough money, did he even want to spend the day with me? Oh and the topper was one sideways comment on our drive to dinner that led to 30 minutes of silent treatment, followed by tears in the bathroom. And THIS, this is where spiritual warfare, the fallen angels lingering in the heavenly realms, swoop in, and do their magic. No, this isn’t fantasy fiction, this is the reality of what’s working behind the scenes each and every day. It starts in our thoughts, with those lies I just listed above, then the very words that will inflict pain are put upon our lips, then the brokenness, the loss of trust, the isolation where satan sits and waits. BUT, not this day. Not this time. This time, my husband, looked me in the eyes and began a conversation. We talked about the miscommunication, the hurt feelings it led to and then forgave. Right then and there, we stopped satan in his tracks. What could have become another awkward anniversary of just going about the motions became a date night for the ages. We held hands, talked, kissed in the “kissing alley” and got tattoos. It was probably one of the best dates we’ve ever had! What was different? What stopped us from wasting another anniversary being mad and angry? God. In the past, God was never in the forefront of our marriage. We were. We put ourselves, our needs, our outcomes above all else. I can tell you after 15 years of trying to white-knuckle “our way”, it’s a waste of time. It led to more fights, more hurt feelings, more disconnect and more lies.
Friends, this is where we all get stuck. Whether it be in parenting, marriage, ministry or friendships…when we put our needs above His, we become vulnerable to the lies. It’s not that our needs aren’t good, we may want what’s absolutely best for our babies, our marriages, ourselves but the problem is that we have no control over of the outcome. We can pour into our marriages and they can still fall apart. We can helicopter parent our kids and they will still mess up. We can give every ounce of ourselves to ministry or our friendships and they still leave us feeling short. And this simple thought of “I am not enough” is where our spiritual warfare steps right in. Just as satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, using hunger, power and even scripture to trip Him up, he tempts us daily. He tempts us with traffic, hurtful words and lack of funds. He breaths the very real lies that steal, kill and destroy all of our relationships. His victory is when we feel broken, lost and alone.
So when we find ourselves in this mental space. Suffering. Hurt. Abandoned. We need to read, speak and meditate on His truth. This is where the lies die and truth becomes our victory.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer.” Psalm 109: 2-4
“And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:15
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Find the verse, the word, that fits your current circumstance and write it down. Put it where you can see it every. single. day. You don’t have to read the entire bible in one sitting, but sitting with one word from God can produce more healing than any amount of shopping, self-medicating or self-loathing.
If He is for you, who could ever be against you?
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
May these words make it to who they are intended for….