While I was sitting in my bathroom with the lights on, refusing to use my desk lamp so as to keep from disturbing Bree, since it was nearly two in the morning, I wrote out the lie that Satan was trying to feed me…all of the lies.
I’d spent the majority of the day struggling against this feeling of hopelessness and fear and wandering, like God had dumped me in the middle of the desert without any direction as to where I could find water, shelter, or food. I was fighting against bitterness, confusion, fear, and anger. The worst part about this struggle is that I knew the truth in my heart, yet I felt like facing it wouldn’t fix anything.
God does this thing where He uses the talents we have and the environment we’re in to show us the truth, His truth, and put it so plainly and so perfectly that we remember who we are.
As I sat on the floor of the bathroom, I worked on my novel. Every time I experience spiritual warfare or spiritual confusion, I write out a scene where my main character fights against the evil that I’m experiencing. As I wrote out her actions and I describe her internal struggle, the evil itself, previously disguised as something innocent or practical to me in real life, became very real and very obvious to my main character, and also to me. Last night she faced the fact that she held a great deal of doubt and irreverence for her Rescuer, and even as He stood before her, she still doubted Him.
It was in that moment that I remembered how real all of this is. I remembered that people, no matter what lies they try to dress up and make nice to look like the truth, no matter how they act, no matter where they’ve been, what they’ve done, or even what they will do—people are not the enemy, and moralism is not the answer.
Satan, is the enemy. This whole time I’ve been stuck feeling like I have to fight against people and against what they say and what they do, and yet I’ve been pushing against a cardboard cutout instead of the actual culprit. Worst of all, I forgot that this war can’t be won by my desire to win or my will to push through or my own “battle tactics”. The only way this war can be won is by God’s power. Love is going to win this war.
Today, when I went to Studio, which, as you may know, has been an area of great struggle for me, I decided to stop fighting against my professor, and instead remember God’s words spoken through Paul in his letter to the Philippian Christians. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (2:3)
I’d been trying so hard to be above everyone and to be the better person and all of these ridiculous lies disguised and well-meaning truths that I’d forgotten how many times God asks me to bring myself low and to put myself underneath others instead of above them. I also forgot how wonderfully romantic God is in the way He’s won me, in the way He continues to pursue me. I also forgot that speaking a bunch of Christian jargon, and trying to bring up God in every conversation, is not what He wants me to do.
During Studio, when I decided to respect my professor even if I didn’t agree with everything he said, it was much easier to see him as a person in need of a loving Savior instead of an enemy. Satan had been fooling me with this idea that “people are just tryin’ ta bring me down!” That’s just simply not true. I mean yeah the world doesn’t exactly agree with what God’s word says and Who I follow but then again that’s not because of me; their war is not with me, but rather with God. When someone disagrees or degrades or shows hostility toward the gospel of Christ and anything that has to do with Him, it’s not because of the messenger. When someone does that, it’s between them and God, and I have nothing to do with it.
I talked to my professor after class and apologized for how I’d acted in the first weeks of the semester, and he, with a smile and genuine pleasantry, forgave me. And I left, remembering what it felt like to act like the soldier, the daughter, the princess I am, and remembering how hard I used to fight, and wondering at just how dusty my sword and especially my shield might be.
I almost feel like I’ve been woken up from a dream where everything I felt, all of my emotions, were true, and everything that was actually true looked like a lie. Last night, as I wrote, I talked to God, being reminded that everything my emotions, Satan, and my circumstances were telling me was an absolute lie. When God says He is greater, He’s telling the truth.
At church tonight, I sat in fellowship with a small group of women, talking about discipline in our Christian walk and how to fight against laziness, desensitivity, pride, and complaining. We talked about who God is and how desperately we need His help even to muster the strength and the courage to trust Him.
God is just so much more than I’ll ever be able to understand. He’s so much bigger than I’ll ever be able to comprehend. He’s just so much stronger than I could ever dream of being. He’s so great and mighty and I really don’t even deserve to exercise the privilege of writing about Him, because I can’t do Him justice with the limited number of words in every language on the face of the planet. I can’t write about Him in a way that fully communicates who He is and everything He’s done for me and just how dark and dirty and disgusting I was before He pulled me out. And here I’d forgotten. I’m not capable, no matter how much grammar I know, no matter how precise I am with my wording, no matter how passionate of a logophile I may be, I cannot describe everything that God is, what He’s going to do, and how much He loves and cares and adores me in every way, even when I believe the lies of the enemy.
I know that recovering from deceit isn’t easy, and I know it’s going to be difficult to continuously be aware of disguised lies around me, because there are many, but I also know that I do not want to go through that again, that separation, that wall between me and God where my hand should be holding His. I DO NOT want that to happen again, never again. Just like Chaviva fighting against Fallaximus and revealing him for who he truly is via the sharp blade of Ellond, I will fight against the lies Satan and the world are trying to feed me with the word of God and with the promises He’s given me and with the way He loves and protects and trains and challenges me. I will fight, but not against flesh and blood, because people are not the enemy.
I don’t know why God is allowing me to struggle this way or how He’s going to use it, and I don’t know what other obstacles I’m going to be facing on top of this one right in front of me, but I do know that God isn’t going to leave, and He’s not going to let me down if I lean on and depend upon and trust and put my hope in Him. He says in His word that when I seek Him with all of my heart, then I will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). He says that He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He says that He loves me enough to sacrifice the one thing He loves the most, His son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16). He says He paid the price and became my curse to vanquish it and rescue me from my tower and bring me back to Him (Galatians 3:13). He says that He will not be mocked and that He’s a witness to everything that goes on in our lives and He knows everything there is to know about everything (Galatians 6:7, Jeremiah 29:23, 1 John 3:19,20).
This war is far from over, and the enemy is powerful, but my God is stronger and greater and He doesn’t need me to be in His army, but rather He wants me to be in His army, next to Him on the battlefield, beside Him as a friend, beloved as a daughter, and respected as a princess in His royal court.
God says, when I accept His son and believe in Him, that I am these things: a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3-4), a daughter (Galatians 3:26), a princess (1 Peter 2:9), a bride (Isaiah 54:5), redeemed (Luke 1:68), loved (Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:6-7), rejoiced over, enjoyed (Zephaniah 3:17), and set free (Galatians 5:1).
It’s about time I started acting like it.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” —Zephaniah 3:17
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” —2 Timothy 2:3-4