In December of 2011, I wrote a post about what God had spent all of that year teaching me. It's one of my favorite posts to date. However, two days after that blog hit the internet, my husband actually began his new job. January 1, 2012 literally began the first day of a new chapter in our lives as a family.
The rubber met the road, so to speak. God actually expected me to apply what He had spent a year in 2011 teaching me. (Wow! Who would have thought application would be required, right? Duh...I can be so naive sometimes...anyways) The concept that God was enough. He was all I needed. Well, let me tell you, I began spinning my wheels, mustering all my courage, all the fortitude and strength inside myself, but something inside me didn't take the car out of neutral. Looking back, I know now I was on a fast track to a major burnout and four blown tires.
January passed relatively uneventful. Joey wasn't traveling much yet, but you see, I've been down this road before. I was secretly anxious and waiting for the hammer to fall. I knew in my heart that when he started traveling, when he wasn't here, when it was just me and my two precious children all alone, I knew things would get tough. I knew the looming storm would ensue.
I mentally began to borrow trouble.
That knowledge. That expectation was like a rock in the pit of my stomach--a heavy rock. It was like wearing a collar that's too tight, always feeling like one more good swallow and you're going to choke. You see, looking back, that was my first mistake. I wasn't taking myself out of neutral. I wasn't actively believing what God had taught me. I had head knowledge of all the promises He had given me, but I didn't truly believe them--well, at the very least, I didn't begin to practice them.
I started believing subtle lies. Not blatant ones, mind you, very subtle ideas that I'm still recongnizing as coming from the father of all lies. His most deceiving attack? He made me believe that these thoughts were my own because if I had identified them as from him from the very beginning, I never would be climbing out of the ravine I've been in now.
One of my highest spirtitual gifts is discernment, but added to my analytical yet highly creative and emotional personality, I am a walking time bomb for self-sufficiency to despair. I know all the right things to do. (So I thought.) I felt the rock in my stomach, the choking feeling around my neck, and the brewing storm in my life on the horizon. Yet, instead of battoning down the spiritual hatches, filling my life with the Word of God, and relying soley on His strength to ride out the coming storm, I started making my own preparations.
Joey and I made sure weekly date nights were still a priority. I would take time outs around the house to stop and take deep breaths, say short prayers, and quite literally suppress, push down the emotions welling inside of me. "Keep calm," I told myself, "stop worrying about something that hasn't even happened yet." I started self-talking to myself, "Ok. You know when he's gone, it's going to be hard. Just hold on. It won't last for long. The two of you will figure this out. God will take care of you. You will adjust quickly. It won't take three years to figure out the new normal like last time. You are strong. You are capable. He's depending on you to hold it together. Your kids are depending on you to hold it together. If you make this transition smoothly, then everyone will be ok."
Oh my soul!!! Can any of you see how wrong this thinking is? I can now, but I didn't then. Those kind of pep talks occur often in my mind. For, "as a man thinketh, so he is," right? The problem is all the positive self-talk in the world is useless if it is not founded in Christ. Everything I thought on a daily basis, were good things. They were positive ideas usually based in a smidge of spiritual truth, and that's where satan took his foothold in my mind. I didn't need a smidge of truth, I needed Truth in it's entireity. I needed Christ and His words, His thoughts, His ideas to be the Anchor for the coming storm.
Instead, I bought into one of the biggest lies satan can tell a believer who's known Christ almost their entire life. You see, I like to think of myself as a Lifer--you know, a Christ-for-life kind of girl. When you grow up surrounded by Christian influence, heritage, and legacy, when you accept Christ at the age of four, get baptized at six, rededicate your life at eleven with full knowledge of Who and how to serve, then you're a Lifer. I can't imagine my life without Christ in it, without His Holy Spirit speaking to my heart and mind. I just can't. I don't want to. Now, this is a HUGE, enormous, tremendous blessing!!!!!
But I've lived long enough now to see how satan can twist the biggest of God's blessings into the biggest of our curses simply by leveraging our sinful flesh to his advantage. Satan oh so subtly twisted God's words from the very beginning in the garden of Eden, and his tactics haven't changed much in over who-knows-how-many thousands of years. (Stick with what works, right?) But when you're a Lifer, I've realized recently that while I've been privy to so many more of God's blessings than most who don't find Him until their late teens or twenties, I also have been manipulated more over a longer period of time by Satan's subtle lies in my life.
You see, Satan's war is with God, and if I don't belong to God, he may use me, block me from seeing the light, but mostly, I don't think he cares that much about me because I'm his eternal slave and unwitting bondservant anyway. BUT, if I am a child of God, then his beef, his war is targeted directly at me. If he takes me out of the battle, then I'm one less soldier he has to worry about trying to save one of his unwitting prisoners from the fiery flames of eternal hell.
And for me, he has always taken me out of the battle by twisting all the godly things I think I know into false teachings that root in my mind and heart and spread disease like wildfire through my system. For me, this disease has always manifested itself in some form of depression. Only in the past ten years have I learned to recognize the symtoms and call a spade a spade, but looking back on my middle and high school years, this is not a new pattern for me. Depression is my go-to response to satan's influence and/or attacks in my life--this truth, I've come to realize in just the past few months. Believing satan's lies drags me into depression. Period.
So the biggest lie a Lifer can believe? That I know it all. That I've heard that already. That I know the verse to combat that idea. (Without ever actually quoting the verse, mind you. I just "know" it.) That I remember hearing a message about that once. That I know the right thing to say. Oh yeah, I did a Bible study about that once--it was helpful. I know how God would handle that situation. I know how you're feeling. I know you're struggle. I know how God feels about that action. I have the righteous advice to give for every situation. I know the consequences that will follow. I know what scripture says, in general, about that subject. (Again, without actually ever quoting any scripture.) I know, I know, I know, I know, I know. I've heard it all before. There's nothing new under the sun anyway, right?
WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP. And what a load of subtly twisted truths. If you're a believer, can you spot them? Can you see how an idea with a grain of truth (because there ARE some things I DO know) can be twisted into prideful knowledge that only steals, kills, and destroys others when the attitude, delivery, and relationship aren't exactly as God has them aligned for any given moment.
I've learned over the years how damaging this attitude is when used toward others. I still struggle with it sometimes--any one of my siblings can testify--but, by God's grace, I'd like to think that when it comes to dealing with others, I've gotten better. However, this year has taught me how incredibly vicious these subtly twisted lies are to myself personally--to my own thoughts, ideas, and self-conversations.
I will explain, but for now, I'm going to stop here for today, and leave myself contemplating that huge, smelly, load of crap because unless I can wrap my head around the fact that my pride in being a knower is just as sinful as the rapist, the murderer, the gossip, and the disobeyer--then I can't really move forward. I haven't learned my lesson if I can't confess this sin and move forward in the forgiveness and humbleness and brokenness that this revelation from the Lord in my life requires.
Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the Lord our God,(hence, I can know nothing He doesn't already want me to know) but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."
1 Corinthians 13:1-10 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
Isaiah 55:9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Ecclesiastes 1:17-18 "And I set my [t]mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. 18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain."
The TakeAway: Knowledge of the Lord my whole life has blessed me beyond what I can ever think or imagine. It has kept me from making many wrong and hurtful decisions. But when I start letting satan slip in and twist this knowledge ever so subtly by slacking up and not keeping the truth ever at my fingertips, quoted word for word off my lips and in my thoughts, I will become prideful in my knowledge and the consequence is much grief and increasing pain.