“You aren’t doing enough, or the RIGHT things!! You are doing too MUCH or the WRONG things!!” These are the voices swirling around my head and so I run to grab my Bible and my warfare book and I crumbled on the bathroom floor, weeping and crying out to God to be my strength. I rebuked the evil that was weighing down on me and telling my mind lies and I prayed for the Lord to fill me up so there was no room in the inn for that nasty liar called, Satan.
That was my battle a few days ago as my kids attempted to push their way into the bathroom to see why I was upset. Typically I am open with mommy’s not-so-good days or moments, so that they can see that I am still choosing to trust in the Lord, despite circumstances or feelings, and see that in the long run He works all things out for the good of those that love Him. Romans 8:28 (because He always does work things out.) But this time I did not want to allow the kids to know what I was dealing with right in the moment; I needed to cry out to God literally.
A few days into the thick of this battle, I am coming out stronger mentally I believe, and am hoping to have gained some knowledge & wisdom of how to guard my mind better. My husband has been officially called to duty as of 2 days ago. I am typically pretty good at keeping my guard up, praying against blah and THOUGHT I had been really getting better at walking in the Spirit rather than the flesh. I was getting better at casting down thoughts that weren’t lines up with God’s Word, but something happened and bluh bluh is all I can say. I told my husband that night that he was very much needed to help guard my weak spots. I told him, in case he didn’t know or forgot, where my weak points were and that I NEEDED him to gear up and fight when I get too weak. When you are weak but in a battle, you need to be defended, you need someone to come and cover you. I was crying out to him about this and I believe what Satan actually meant for harm God is using in our marriage to draw us closer spiritually now. But note that I did not talk to my husband until after I poured my heart out to God and kept trying to read through the tears.
I write now to help gather my thoughts so bear with me because this is long and I pray it isn’t too choppy. I have been interrupted a few times as it has taken me all day to write this, edit and rewrite.
I have been through the ringer with the guarding of the eyes and ears years ago, and that is another blog in of itself. But this particular struggle has to do with the battle that goes on in the mind. Dwelling, over-thinking, over-analyzing, and if it is possible over OR under spiritualizing, and trying to learn the difference between the still small, voice of the Lord amidst the other “voices & opinions” of others or that Satan tries to whisper in my ear. This struggle I am posting about is one of my mind being attacked. I did the Battlefield of the Mind study by Joyce Meyer about 3 years ago, but I guess that is one I may need to do again and continue daily, as the Bible says, to wear the helmet of salvation (helmet = head protection eh?) The struggle is sifting through and past the opinions that are being thrown at believers from every end now days: Worship this way, look that way, be this way, sound like this, don’t do that, eat these instead, do it the way they do it because it is working for them, pressure, pressure, pressure.
The battle I face is an awkward one for a woman who was raised in church all her life, surrounded by people with loving attitudes for the most part. I could easily get tripped up alone on the part of how & why am I even dealing with this.
I am coming to understand more and more that I study on spiritual warfare, that the deeper we want to go with God, and actually pursue that intimacy, that Satan will put up a fight. I want to think, “But if I am pursuing you, Lord, why aren’t things getting better….or, How come my mind still feels in a whirl right now?” (keep reading for my still unveiling conclusions)
I think I am coming to understanding that though my circumstances may not change right this moment, think JOB, I need to continue trusting in Him and keep pressing on in this daily race towards the eternal prize. Hebrews 12:1,2 (Ironically enough, this was one of the first verses I had to memorize in Sunday school as a child….hmmm)
The other thing I am sifting through and attempting to study, as I stated a second ago, is spiritual warfare, and the reality of it all. Our flesh wants to focus on the here and now and make excuses for why things happen, or why they may not happen, but the Holy Spirit who lives in me gently reminds me there are bigger fish to fry than what only my human eyes can behold right now.
I am not sure why there are days when I feel super strong in my walk with the Lord, and other days I have to repeat scripture to myself to remind myself that I am saved by the blood of the Lamb. I am not sure why more than anything else, my mind seems to get attacked more. Is it because I am a prayer warrior at heart? Because as an intercessory prayer partner with the Lord, the best way to shut me up and shut me down is to attack my mind? Maybe so…. but I want to learn Satan’s tactics so that I will not SHUT UP OR SHUT DOWN.
Maybe it is because Satan really has been around a long time and he has significant experience in attacking people eh? He has his workers scour the land studying their prey, so they can carefully attack the weak or unguarded areas.
I have had times when I read, and read, and prayed, and prayed, had not watched the news or soak myself in anything other than God and His promises, and I STILL was battling heaviness. So why is that? To me that doesn’t seem “unguarded.” Is this where my over-thinking comes into play? But I do not dwell on things much anymore really, so that can’t be it. Yes I stated above it was a personal struggle, but it is one I am overcoming with Him. Is this just simply that Satan chose a particular day to mess with me and I just need to pray through until he gives up and leaves? Yes this may very well be! After all, we are supposed to have power & authority in Jesus right? But it doesn’t mean Satan will back off without kicking and screaming sometimes I guess? And just to let you in on something really cool, my verse of the day on my phone’s Bible app was James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
…this is where I am learning, I believe, that we are really in a war of good & evil. If a lady who has turned to the Lord and said “Okay, not my will but yours be done oh, Lord,” and she still faces doubt, fear, unsettling feelings sometimes, doesn’t that tell you that she is in a war that you can not see? (and I want to study further on the difference between the war with our own flesh versus being attacked a spirit)
Doesn’t that sort of hint that, hey, it may not be because she is doing the wrong things, or not enough of the right things, but that she is literally in a war? And the more she realizes it, the more the evil tries to bring her down? This could be by means of lies and deceit, extreme fatigue, sickness, doubt & fear, worry & anxiety, etc. The list goes on but after a while they start to repeat themselves. Satan runs out of ideas and has to try those same tactics with different coverings.
I have been in this place for a while now, of praying to be used in God’s Kingdom everyday. And the Lord is answering, He has been putting people in my path each day whom I can help, sometimes in small ways, sometimes bigger, but I am learning to recognize that it is God giving me the opportunity to obey Him either way.
And one may think, well if she is faithful to the Lord, faithful in her home and to her family, and faithful to church and giving, faithful to her neighbors (whoever that may be that day), then why does this happen to her still? Why does she still face heaviness or the defeating feeling sometimes? Why does she still battle with what other people think of her and her intentions, when it only truly matters that the Lord knows her heart? Why does she battle with the issue of church so much? Why is it that when she finally finds a place she wants to get rooted, the devil puts up such a fight? He makes sure she hears or sees things she wishes she hadn’t, that distract from the main point of it all. He makes sure she second guesses herself on everything she does to try and keep her trapped in a box of guilt and pride (the kind where you think LESS of yourself).
As I write my hardships and admit this battle has been going on for a while now, I realize it is all still pretty rhetorical. Because as I said, I am learning that just because you are a true Jesus follower, you are not LESS likely to deal with the evil that wants to come at you, but it means you will be EQUIPPED to fight it off, and some fights may take longer than others, (read Daniel 10!!) And it is not a one-and-done deal. I am learning I have to be equipped everyday. Is this why the Lord wants us to ENDURE?
I was asking myself that question last night. There are many verses in the Bible that talk about if you are following the Lord’s ways, you will be prosperous and blessed and safe etc. If that is the case, then why does he tell His followers to ENDURE until the end?
Prosperous, blessed & safe do not seem like they have to be endured but that you would actually enjoy the journey right? Could it be that prosperous, blessed & safe is of God and it is GOOD yes, but that it doesn’t always mean the kind you can see? Could it mean it is even more of the kind that you CAN’T see? The laying up of treasures in Heaven?
Matthew 6:19-21 Living Bible (TLB)
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen.20 Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value and are safe from thieves. 21 If your profits are in heaven, your heart will be there too.
Could it mean that you need to trust in Him even when circumstances are screaming at you that your faith is not making a difference? Could it be that the reward one will get later is far more than they could ever get now? Yes.
If most of us went off of what we saw with our own two eyes, we would be pretty poor judges of much. Only God sees all and knows all.
So while some may say I am doing something to bring these attacks on myself, I can tell you I have a very retentive heart. I am not one to get away with doing wrong and it not hitting me like a 100 ton brick. If I slip up I come falling down to Father’s feet asking for forgiveness so that nothing will be between our relationship. I am learning, and some things can not be figured out, but I want to be like Job who persisted on worshiping the one True God no matter what happened. In the end, he was shown to be correct.
After all the letting out of that….here are my final thoughts/goals/desires, some of which have been ongoing for a couple years but with the Lord’s help we are making headway:
I am already to the place where I do not feel the need to have all the answers. I do however need to remember I can’t really trust my own judgment calls but need to go to Him in prayer about e v e r y t h i n g and by what the Word says and not base things on my feelings or circumstances or by what things “appear” to look like. I want to find who I am in Christ aside from who everyone ELSE is and what they are doing in Christ, stop comparing & over analyzing, truly walk in faith and know that I have accepted the gift of salvation from Jesus but realize that in saying YES to Him I am also saying YES to be an active participant in waging war against evil. And go ahead and give me some of that thick, elephant skin…grit…as I have been told that we all need as we walk out our faith in this ever fallen world.
Thanks so much for reading this lengthy outpouring of my heart, and I realize to some it may have been too much, but I believe God knows what I need more than any human does and I am resting in that. My next blog may or not be about fasting as I try and find what the Lord wants me to do next in order to prepare for the continuing journey ahead. For now, I will keep being God’s child, a mom and a wife, and writing. Because I know for certain that this is a season of writing.