Thoughts jumble, words stammer, prayers tangle on my tongue as I wrestle. As I wrestle with myself. As I wrestle with my fears. As I wrestle with the Enemy who prowls and seeks to devour, who seeks to steal my joy and imbue my moments with darkness and doubts.

But faith is bigger than fear and He who lives in me is greater than he who lives in the world.

This is what I know. This is what I believe. This is what is true. Even so, I struggle to quiet the voice of doubt and to focus my eyes on Jesus and to trust these words.

Sometimes I find it ironic that despite how many Scripture verses I’ve hidden in my heart and that I can call to mind, my automatic response to stress and uncertainty and difficult circumstances is to be anxious.night sky

Cast all your cares on Jesus, I tell myself. And I do. But then, my natural response takes over and I sense the anxiety skitter out from the shadows of my mind to distract and misdirect my steps and my thoughts {again}.

Do not be anxious about anything, I remind myself, but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And I do. Fervently, repeatedly. And the peace that passes all understanding settles on me, cloaks me like a warm, familiar blanket and I rest a moment. But then, my mind wanders off, preoccupied with worry and what ifs.

Pray ceaselessly, I repeat to myself. And I do. Well, at least I try. I try to make prayer like breathing, because really I need both to live the life that Jesus calls me to daily. To live the abundant life Jesus promises me. But then, my natural tendencies get in my way, clogging my thoughts with the worries, with the cares, with doubts and the fears. And, as my praying falters, so does my sense of peace and the relaxed breathing.

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength, I say. I know this because I have faced moments that seemed impossible, that were impossible, as I faced them in my own strength, trying to figure things out with my own schemes.

I just need to figure out _________. I cannot count the number of times this phrase passes my lips each day, completely contradicting all that I know about God. Completely contradicting everything He has shown me over the days of my life, especially the ones that held seemingly impossible challenges or obstacles.

Like Moses and the Israelites, He has ushered me through the Red Seas upon whose shores I have stood feeling trapped by circumstances and enemies. Trapped by the Enemy.

But the amazing thing about God is that even in the worst moments, the ones in which I have willingly, obligingly, freely followed the Enemy into the muck and mire of temptation and sin, God has always provided me a way out. I haven’t always taken it, but it has always been there.

muddy feetAnd sometimes that muck and mire, that temptation and sin isn’t as obvious as dating a married man and committing adultery. Sometimes it’s the subtlety of giving in to my anxious thoughts and letting fear paralyze me. It’s the unbelief and the surrender to anything that isn’t a full surrender to Jesus, isn’t it?

And that is where I have found myself today in my wrestlings as I’ve sifted thoughts and fought for words but settled for groans of the Spirt and snippets of prayer phrases offered from my broken and contrite heart, from my complete surrender to the One who not only knows the number of hairs on my head but also knows what tomorrow brings.

That’s why, despite my wrestling, despite my repeated reminders to myself of the Truth and the seeming miserable failing in that effort, I found myself rejoicing. Why? Because it means that where I am and what I’m doing has rattled the Enemy from his complacent slumber. He’s worried. And so he’s on the move, on the prowl.

He and I, we’ve done this Tango before. And too often he has steered me off the path, led me into the muck and the mire and the mess.

But today?

Today I have rejoiced because I am redeemed and I am a daughter of the King and I am striving to surrender all of me to all of Jesus. Striving to surrender, isn’t that a great description? And because I’ve been planting the seeds of God’s Word daily and asking God to help me pray and seeking His face, Jesus is claiming victory over me today.

And the Enemy? He’s not happy about that.

So, know, my friends, if you’re faltering, if you’re struggling, if you’re facing things that seem impossible, claim the Truth because you’ve got the Enemy on the ropes and he knows who’s going to win. And, *spoiler alert* it’s not him.

 

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