You’ve probably heard people say, “Don’t pray for patience. You’ll end up with trials to teach you patience.” I probably should have thought of that before I decided to make emotional eating the focus of this 40-day fast the ladies’ group at church is doing. “Don’t battle your emotions. You’ll end up with hormones/emotions all over the place.”
The last couple days have been really rough. I’m not sure why exactly, but I’m thinking there are greater powers out there wanting me to fail. It makes sense that went you dedicate a certain period of time to focusing on the Lord, that Satan would fight his hardest against you, right? Well, yesterday I flopped. I was already feeling down before I came in to work, so here’s what happened . . .
There’s been a woman assigned to work in my department recently. She’s the type that’s the “Keeper of the Rules.” Now, that is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But it’s very hard to work with someone like that and not feel judged. Especially when she likes to talk about how she can do your job better than you. “Give me three weeks, and I’ll turn things around!” Bless her heart . . . bless my heart . . . Anyway, moving on.
A few days ago, she measured the storage closet we have in this office. She’s rarely in here, so she doesn’t see how many times I clean it, and people blow it up again. She devised a plan to get it organized which included sticking a 16” wide shelf in the middle of the room. She, bless her heart, has also been working on making a 10’ dragon from cardboard for a Renaissance day at school. Maintenance found a whole bunch of random pieces of cardboard yesterday and asked me where to put it. They asked if they could put it in the storage closet in this office, and I said yes. Today, I showed the man I work with the room. He had hated her “reorganizing” that room too. The room is floor to ceiling cardboard – her personal mess. I said, “Ya, stick that on your 16” shelf.” Of course, that man busted out laughing, “Oh, man. Mrs. Walker!” Whoops. Well, there goes my testimony for today.
That shot the whole day for me. I knew I blew it. When the day finally ended and I was able to read the chapter of A Call to Die assigned for today. Go figure it’d be about the different ways Satan tries to attack us. The biggest things that stood out were his attempts to discourage us and place obstacles in our path.
Discouragement came as soon as I spoke. My smart mouth got me in trouble again. Those who really know me aren’t surprised at all. The temptation is to throw out the entire day with one mistake. It’s like cheating on a diet by eating a piece of candy then saying, “Well, this day is ruined,” and binge the rest of the day. Or, for the sports analogy lover, it’s like hitting a triple and rounding the bases, but sulking on the way back to the dugout just because it wasn’t a home run. No! You don’t do that. You stand up on third base and wait for your chance to slide into home. No, it wasn’t a home run, but that doesn’t mean you can’t score at all.
It was a bad day. I was tired, cranky, and had a short fuse. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up entirely. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” With Christ, every day is like a second-chance to do better. I don’t have to live in discouragement, consumed with my inadequacies and mistakes.
The second method of attack that stood out to me was labeled obstacles. He spoke of Daniel 10. Daniel had prayed and fasted for three weeks. I’ve done the Daniel Fast – it’s not easy. No sugar, no meat, only whole wheat . . . But it was still good to do. Daniel had prayed and prayed for answers, but he heard nothing. There’s a note of encouragement we can see right there. Daniel was a man of God. At that time, he was God’s spokesperson for Israel. If he didn’t Daniel 10:12 states, “Then he [the angel] continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.'” Since the first day! God heard Daniel’s pleas immediately. But there is a war going on over our flesh and souls. Just as God longs to have control over our lives, so does Satan. He’s placing obstacles in our paths to keep us from feeling like God is answering our prayers. When I read that, it was my “Aha!” moment. I knew it! We consecrate ourselves to the study of the Word, so we’re being fought more fiercely than ever.
So, what next . . .
WE FIGHT BACK
We aren’t helpless little things unable to fight against Satan. We are equipped with the full armor of God able to stand against Satan’s schemes. We know that we cannot give up whenever we make a mistake. Two steps forward, one step back, but always moving forward. We must focus on things of eternal value. Our end goal is Christ. Be aware that our enemy is a lion waiting to pounce on us. Pray for our eyes to be opened to, not only Satan’s schemes, but God’s blessing all around us.