Over the past few years, I've learned a bit about spiritual warfare. One thing that I have learned is that satan is really, really good at knowing our weaknesses and exploiting them, and he doesn't play fair. He doesn't take into account if you are tired or going through a difficult period of time - nope, he looks for any weakness, any sign of your sword lowering or your shield faltering. Then he strikes.
His goal is to keep you from being saved. If he can't do that, then his goal is to destroy you and take you out of any meaningful part of the battle. He does this in any way that he can.
As I said in my previous post, my summer Bible reading is to read through the New Testament and write down everything that describes my identity in Christ. What can I say? I like lists.
A few years ago, I read through the Psalms and wrote down everything it said about God. It was incredible to go back and read through the list, and I got to know God so much more intimately.
So, last week, I got started with Romans. I was a bit intimidated but was pleasantly surprised at how much stood out to me during my readings.
About this time, I started to feel a bit blue. I wasn't feeling navy blue - just a Wedgwood blue. For some reason, things I had not thought about and had made peace with a long time ago began to come to mind. The fact that I never got a full time job at a newspaper; the fact that my resume wasn't all that hot; the fact that I just worked a series of jobs rather than had a "career." The fact that my adventures seemed more geared toward a sitcom than a travel documentary.
Suddenly, I started to feel like the world's biggest loser (and I don't mean that in a good way either). I started to feel down on myself and was tempted to wallow.
However, as I prayed about this, God helped me to step back from my feelings and look at this situation from a different angle. I mean, why would this feeling of loser-ness be hitting me now? I AM currently writing for the newspaper. I am doing more, right now that has to do with my actual degree and gifting than ever. It didn't really make sense to suddenly start feeling like a loser and all pathetic.
It took a few minutes for the light bulb to click on, but when it did, it made perfect sense. Here I was studying my identity in Christ and satan was attacking my identity - bringing to mind old dreams and hopes that I had long ago packed away because they no longer fit.
You see, when I was little, I did not play with dolls and dream of being a wife and mother. No - I dreamed of doing "great things." Things like going down the Amazon and writing stories that wowed everyone, of travelling around the world and being on the New York Times bestseller list, of being an adventurer.
Most of the time, I look at my life and love what I see - a great husband and two terrific kids. A job where I get to meet a lot of very cool people and then have the privilege to share their stories. A Sunday school class where I get to share God's truths and love on some really great women.
However, satan knows me very well (he's made a career himself of learning how to read people and discover the chinks in their armor).
He knows there are some moments when I look around and worry that I have not accomplished much, and 40 is breathing down my neck. Of course, now-a-days, I'm not nearly as keen to motor down the Amazon. After all, I don't do heat or humidity, and I doubt there is indoor plumbing either. However, I'd still like to be on the New York Best Sellers list someday.
The thing is, a long time ago (probably around my oldest son's first birthday), I came to understand that my plans and dreams for my life didn't necessarily line up with God's plans and paths for my life. Maybe some people can backpack through the jungle with a toddler strapped to them, but I am not one of them. I was just hoping both of my boys would use the potty on their own.
I found being a wife and a mom IS an adventure - just a different kind. Nothing teaches you more about patience, humility and your own weaknesses than having a baby and toddler simultaneously having the stomach flu. Nothing teaches you about unconditional love than being married for the long haul.
However, satan knows my desire to write and speak - maybe not exactly as I had dreamed of it in my youth - but dreams nonetheless. When I was seeking to know my identity firmly - down to being able to point to chapter and verse to prove it - he struck that tiny chink in my armor.
How subtle. How ironic. How like satan to sneak in the back way when you least expect it. You have to hand it to him for his cunning.
Fortunately, I didn't wallow in my pity party because God helped me to recognize what was going on. A few years ago, it would have taken me a lot longer to catch on.
I guess that's why I'm thankful that God has me on the path He does - His ways are always the best ways and they never leave you with the bitter taste of regret.
~ Blessings, Bronte