I know better than anyone that the harder we try to hold on to Jesus and read our Bible and teach our children the right way to treat other people, the more and more the world is going to beat up on us, trying to get us distracted from spreading the gospel. Satan uses every tool in his arsenal and pushes every button he can to get us to step off of the path we are walking with Jesus. I have been told recently that Satan can’t hear our thoughts like God can, so we have to tell him out loud to leave us alone and that we are the children of God. I thought it was an interesting thought and pondered it a few minutes and then filed it away.
In the month after that, I cannot tell you how many times I have said it to others who were going through trials. But, I didn’t have proof that it would work until I tried it myself. One morning that I felt especially great and was singing my worship songs (off-key mind you 🙂 ) All of a sudden, I felt this pressure on my temple that I haven’t felt before. I have headaches almost every day, but this was a new kind of pain. It felt like someone taking their finger and pressing it into my temple…hard. When I found myself saying leave me alone and get out of my head…I was shocked when the pain stopped. And I had no headache at all that day. I’m convinced that Satan uses sicknesses to distract us from God and what we should be focusing on.
There are so many things the enemy can use as tools against us, and we don’t always recognize them as the enemy. Life has us so busy that we forget to fellowship with important people in our lives, much less seek someone who is not easily seen or heard. We are constantly striving for the next big tech release or keeping up with the Jones’ or the next promotion that we forget about the people next door or in the next desk that need us to notice them. We are very proud of the accomplishments and think that are of our own power, but the truth is that nothing happens without God’s approval first.
When I find my brain spinning and I feel out of control, I have to remember to pray and ask for wisdom. How do you fight the enemy and keep your eyes where they should be?
Last week was a crazy tough one. Work was particularly stressful and busy. It seemed every person that could possibly take jabs at me took 3 or 4. I had one of the worst headaches I’ve had in a really long time and it lasted ALL. WEEK. LONG. I was really in a dark place emotionally (but now, looking back, I had prayed for it when I asked God to break my heart). I was ready to run away and hide from everyone and every thing. It seemed easier than handling everything that was going on. But, that isn’t my story. I’m not a runner, I’m a fighter. I whether the storms with my Prince of Peace at my side.
After light finally started showing back down the long, dark tunnel in my mind, one of the most amazing lessons was set on my heart in a conversation with God. I had been praying and praying for Him to break my calloused and hardened heart. I didn’t realize how bitter I have been until He gave me a little insight into myself Monday night. (As usual, Sunday morning’s sermon was timed perfectly.) I find myself blaming someone for something that they did not do. I have been carrying pain and bitterness and earthly rejection around in my heart for so long and had never dealt with it head-on. I didn’t realize how it affected every conversation I’ve had with other people. If a part of my heart is hardened and closed off, how can I enter into every conversation with an open heart like we are called to do? How can I truly feel everyone else’s pain if I am secretly harboring my own? How can I love the hard-to-love when I’ve now realized I’m one of the hard-to-love?
It’s funny how Satan gets in our heads and twists up our thoughts and does it for so long and so well that we don’t even question the lies. We don’t think about our over-reactions in depth when they happen because we are so wrapped up in who hurt us or how to throw back another comment that stings a little more. And how many of us (myself included!) go back over what YOU did wrong in a disagreement? Not many. Aren’t we all telling everyone we know about what was done TO us? That is what Satan wants from us. He wants us to hang on to the hurt and lock it away deep in our hearts so it festers and gets deeper and deeper until we don’t really know where it started. We don’t know how to even begin to turn it over to God and ask him to transform it back into something beautiful.
Most of the time, I don’t even know where it started, so how do I forgive the person that wronged me so that I can ask for God’s strength to move on and focus on filling that space with beauty and grace? That is one of the things that I am still working on, but I am getting there. Every day, I’m trying to choose my reactions instead of just letting them happen. And God is so good; He makes it much easier if I ask for help. That’s one of the things I love the most about Him. Even with the small things in my life, He is faithful and He will meet me in the middle of the road, holding out His hand. I do not deserve such treatment, but it is such a blessing to know that I cannot mess up so badly that He will stop loving me.
Do you have something you need to ask for God’s help with? Don’t ever think anything is too petty or childish; He already knows your thoughts and what you need. He just wants to hear you ask for them. What can you fill up your newly emptied spaces with? Ideas for impacting those around you in the name of Christ? What about impacting your family first and making sure they know where the change comes from? Then, see who else around you needs help…and then reach out your hand. We are the body of Christ. We have to act like it and not just talk it. If you are uncomfortable, that means you’re doing something right.