Well, it’s certainly been a while since I’ve posted. And I want to be completely open and transparent as to why it’s been such a struggle for me to just sit down and write…
I’ve been wrestling with God. Like the down in the pit, super messy type of wrestling that drains every morsel of energy and leaves me dazed and confused. But before I go any further, I should probably give some backstory as to how I found myself here…
A couple weeks before Christmas, I noticed my joy starting to fade away. Even though this is incredibly selfish and way off base from the real reason for Christmas (aka JESUS), I was not in any way looking forward to the holidays. But I put on my best happy face and made a bold attempt to barrel forward. That was mistake number one.
I completely ignored the sadness that slowly crept into my mind, plaguing every area of my day-to-day life. HOW MANY TIMES CAN I POSSIBLY LEARN THAT IT’S DUMB AND NOT HEALTHY TO IGNORE THE HARD THINGS? Yes, I was sad. I wanted my dad. And I wanted him bad. For me, the second year of holidays is harder than the first. I mean, it makes sense. The first year I was so focused on simply taking it day by day and didn’t celebrate each holiday as per usual. But in the second year, new traditions and plans are made, a loud reminder of what once used to be.
So, I found myself wrestling to stay afloat. The waves crashed over me time and time again, taking me farther away from my rock. And instead of fighting back, I let myself be taken away from Truth. Satan saw his opening and he rushed right in and fed me lie after lie. And I let him. I didn’t even make a pathetic attempt to resist and flee. Lies that I wasn’t good enough, that there is no hope, that I’m a failure, and that there was no way out, all of which filled my mind. The effort I needed to fight this battle seemed impossible to conjure. And for about a week I trapped myself in my bed and lost myself in the world of Netflix where I could focus on the problems of made up people in an attempt to avoid my own. That was mistake number two.
Can I just say that being human is pretty much the worst sometimes? Paul said it perfectly when he stated, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). This verse completely sums up the battle I’ve been fighting. Unwisely, I let satan tear me down and pull me away from Christ. I found myself riddled with anxiety I hadn’t faced in over 3 years. And once I allowed myself to slide into that pit, there was nothing I could do to get out.
At least nothing within my own power that could free me from the chains I freely let myself become shackled by. I had a great need for Christ to rescue me, for Him to rush in and drive out the lies and replace them with His truth.
But in order to do that, I had to let him. I had to invite Jesus into my troubled heart, which for some unfathomable reason took me a while to do. Looking back, I sure wish I had noticed the slow decline of my joy and peace and immediately acted, fleeing and fighting everything satan kept throwing at me instead of letting the lies take up residence inside my mind. Eventually, though, after a week or so of defeat I realized I was not in a good place and needed to make a change.
The pit that had become my norm was a place I had not been since before I knew Christ, and the hopeless feeling I had was the first thing I knew needed to change. I had to remind myself that, no matter how awful life may seem at the moment, it would not last. That there is a light to cling to in the darkness. A spark of courage and joy was all I needed to get myself on the path towards healing. And God, my faithful provider, did not let me fall.
Oh what a good God I serve! Even when I turn away from the truth He pursues me relentlessly and welcomes me back into His loving embrace. God’s faithfulness never ceases to amaze me. It’s one of those things that when I contemplate the entirety of completely wrecks my heart in all the best ways. It brings me down to my knees in humility, yet uplifts my spirit all at once.
We are living in a world that, spiritually, is constantly under attack. The devil is persistent in his attacks and we must be on guard. There will be times where discouragement and valleys and pits will happen, but we have a choice. Will we let the lies and discouragement overwhelm and pull us away from the One who can liberate us? God is on the ready to deliver us from our afflictions! He wants to relieve us! But we must ask Him to fight for us. To protect us from the wickedness that tries to envelope the world we live in. It’s not easy, but it’s not supposed to be. The trials we face in this temporary world are preparing us for a perfect eternity with the Lord in paradise. How awesome is that? That even when we are faced with difficult circumstances, God can not only deliver us from them but also use them for His glory!
And what is the best way to drown out the devil and be filled with Christ? Be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12) and filled with His word, aka the Bible (Psalm 119:105; Matthew 4:4). We absolutely need Jesus if we are going to go head to head with the evil in this world. Take Him out of the equation and already the battle has been lost. Our strength alone is not enough, but Jesus, in His great love for us, will stand and fight for us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
Being stuck in that pit was absolutely awful and it’s a place I never wish to be again. I made the mistake of allowing the devil to sway me from the way of truth. But on the bright side, I now know what to be on guard for and how the devil may try to entrap me. But more importantly, I know that Christ, my Lord and Savior, will “lift me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire” (Psalm 40:2).
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” /// Ephesians 6:10-18
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” /// 1 Peter 5:8-11
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” /// Psalm 34:19
“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.” /// Psalm 10:17-18