Almost two months ago, I planned to write my next blog on the topic of learning to love where you are right now. Ironically, the bottom fell out before I could start working on it and I have not been able to write anything at all. I am and have been up to my neck in a quagmire consisting of one trial after another. However, I find myself still thinking about what I was going to write on the subject.
I will spare you the details, but suffice to say, it was a series of sneak attacks, each seemingly benign on its own but back to back, they began to cripple me. It began with emotional distress, which became severe anxiety, which led to physical ailments and ultimately a depressive state. No matter how much I wanted to write uplifting and positive messages to share with readers, circumstances compounded almost daily until they successfully shut me up and shut me down.
It is a brilliant strategy: the systematic chipping away of my resolve, which has left me weak and unmotivated. Oddly enough, even though I lost my resolve and didn’t care much about anything, that one idea just kept rolling around in my head: learning to love where you are right now. I find myself wondering, why this notion refuses to go away. Why is the idea getting stronger as I get weaker?
Without a doubt, I am under attack. I realized just this week that something else is going on here. I realized that I am also being tested. I am certain that God is not testing me because He needs to see what I am made of; He already knows. He wants ME to see for myself.
I thought I had come a long way in my spiritual journey in the past several years but it turns out, I have not. I was prepared to write an article about learning to love where you are right now and I could have done it. But before I got the chance, it was as if God chose to make a point of showing me firsthand that what I was suggesting is not always that easy for people. Empathy, Cheryl. You love to talk about it. Now be immersed in it.
God is humbling me. He is showing me exactly who I am when the pooh hits the fan and guess what, I do not like what I see. It was surprisingly easy for the enemy to cut me off at the knees. As my ability to deal with conflict eroded little by little, it just got easier to for his flaming arrows to hit their mark. To use a Star Trek analogy, my shields were down and the next photon torpedo, which otherwise would have felt like a little turbulence, actually knocked me out of the captain’s chair and sent me rolling across the bridge. In non-geek terminology, what normally would not have bothered me actually left me gasping for air and clutching my chest due to a panic attack.
Satan delights in our pain. Any watered down, Hollywood fairy tale version of this creep that you might have believed is nothing but a lie. He hates you and he hates everything that makes you happy and gives you peace. He comes to steal, kill and destroy.
The good news is that God is for us, not against us. He is all things holy, righteous and good but make no mistakes about it God will allow us to be put to the test. You may ask, if God loves us, why would He allow us suffer? The answer is because sometimes it is necessary for ultimate salvation. You can take that anyway you like. Salvation of your soul, saving your actual life, saving someone else’s life.
My test is still in progress, full swing. However, already it has revealed that I am a weak, insufficient and pitiful person. Without God to bolster me, I am nothing but a helpless rag doll in the mouth of a vicious beast. Stripped of any conviction that I can possibly survive on my own, I proclaim the following:
I am human. On my own, I am inadequate and ineffective. This is my flaw.
I am dependent upon God for absolutely everything including my next breath. I can do nothing without Him. I cannot make my heart continue beating yet He can stop it with no effort whatsoever. All I have, He gave me. All I know, He taught me. All I am, He made me. This is my truth.
I am a Christian, reborn of the spirit because of the mercy of my Savior and His sacrifice. I have tremendous faith. I know I am a child of God and nothing can snatch me away from Him. This is my victory.
Even as I write this, I am still in the thick of it, fighting but coming up short. Hour by hour my situation escalates and I am waylaid from yet another direction. I am not reflecting back on this from a place of victory or recovery. However, God is revealing truths to me that I cannot help but be grateful for, even if they sting a bit. Okay, a lot.
It hurts to admit it but when God took a step back and said, “Okay, let’s see how prepared you are on your own“, I found out just how terribly deficient I am without the backing of my Father and His angel armies. In my stupidity, I withdrew and slid into a foxhole rather than reaching up to Him to take my hand and ask him to fight with me and for me. So focused on the trials, I lost sight of the only One who could pull me out of the chaos swirling all around me. My circumstances manifested like dense cloud that made it harder and harder for me to see the light. I am ashamed, mostly because I know better. It is important to confess it because even a faithful Christian can be punch drunk enough to lose perspective.
Today, because of free will, I have a choice. I can give up and let this destroy me or I can accept that God is working to accomplish something in me. But before I do anything I have to acknowledge how I got here. God calls us to repent of our sins. I do so openly, prostrating myself before my Creator. I have been guilty of pride, self-sufficiency and forgetting where my strength comes from. My heavenly Father is reminding me by way of some tough lessons that my strength comes from the Lord and only from Him. I am not angry with God or resentful. I am GRATEFUL! Why? Because God loves me enough to put some work in on me. For some reason, I matter. For whatever purpose He is refining me, I will rejoice in His discipline. I will shout from the rooftops: Praise be to God for His love and mercy. Thanks be to the Lord for His forgiveness and grace. Glory be to The Lamb who was slain so I may claim it all!