It’s been a rough few months. I’ve never had an on-going emotional issue that I didn’t know how to handle, until now. Enter, anxiety. For a few months I’ve been really struggling to fall and even stay asleep. As I stare at the ceiling I finally give in and check the clock to see that I’ve been laying in bed for roughly 3 hours, wide awake – but exhausted. After some self-examination and introspection I can pretty quickly tell you what’s happening inside and where the stress is coming from. Life is a blur, new job, new workout leaders (who were hired by the devil to ruin my previously peaceful workouts; hard, but peaceful), family stresses and then there’s normal life. I have gotten weighed down, flustered and, well, anxious. It took some time to figure out what was happening. But since then, I’ve come to grips with it, and now I have to address these things. Oh right, and while all of these things are weighing me down, the enemy, always the opportunist, takes his chance to attack.
So my thoughts turn toward my most recent relationship (which really isn’t recent at all, but just go with me). The enemy is taking the opportunity while I’m down and out to kick me around and make me feel completely ruined. As if not being able to sleep or solve problems in my world is creating enough stress, let’s add-on guilt and shame. So I’m caught up in a whirlwind of emotions thinking that I still have issues to address and deal with concerning this last relationship. To which my response is, seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!
This is not the issue. This is the icing on the cake where the enemy wants to turn my attention away from seeking the Lord about guidance on these other stresses and pull my attention to confusion, guilt and shame, so that I will not feel like I can approach the Lord. It’s very sneaky. And, the sad part is, it works. While I’m heavy-laden with stresses and working through things in my life that are hard and take time and effort, the enemy wants to distract me. And he should! I’m walking in the Light and he should be scared of that. But I need to be more aware of his ways. Fortunately, he uses the same tactics over and over. I’m learning to recognize them and fight against them. At first I didn’t see this as a tactic at all – I walked in the bondage of guilt and shame. Eventually, I began to claim Truth but still, not free. These days I walk in freedom yet willingly put the shackles back on, not recognizing it’s an attack, and I can respond differently than before.
Today is different. Today, I saw the connection. The Lord opened my eyes to the tactic the enemy was successfully using. The Lord showed me that I can stand up and say, “No, thank you!” Though I’m thinking it will probably be a little more aggressive. I don’t have to put those shackles back on. I don’t like them and I don’t want them. If the Lord wants to convict me of something, let Him do that! I don’t need the condemnation from the enemy. Now that I know how the enemy works, my prayer is that my eyes will be open and when he comes at me again with these thoughts, that I will recognize them and claim the Truth of the Gospel immediately.
In the words of all those weight-loss people I follow on Facebook, “trust the process”. Read the Word, spend time with the Lord, ask for prayer, invest in your community. This too will pass. Let’s actually focus on what the Lord wants us to focus on – not what the enemy pulls our attention to.