I saw the dresser tipping, but I couldn’t do anything but scream. My son was angrily yanking clothes from the dresser drawer, which he pulled at just the right angle to tip the dresser over. He righted it, but not before the Lego Star Wars ship, proudly and lovingly displayed on top, crashed to the floor.
In general, a broken Lego creation is enough to trigger my panic disorder. This, however, was a different level of intensity. My son began to wail. This was the Lego ship that a friend of ours was not able to complete before he passed away, that his parents had given my son because they knew he would love it.
The pieces on the floor made my grief raw again. As I picked up Legos and tried to get my weeping son put back together before he had to face a room full of middle-schoolers, I thought There goes this day!
This level of despair when only minutes ago I had told my husband my day’s plan. Today was going to be tight, but I had big things to do for God. After exercise, I had Bible studies to prepare, a blog to write, a cake to make for a fundraiser, and oh, the laundry! And then a destroyed memorial made throwing in the towel and spending another day in bed look like the best use of my time.
Be ready to wrestle…
As I reflected back on this moment during my Bible study time, I recognized the attack of Satan. Now, I’m not saying that a broken Star Wars ship was the work of demonic forces. However, the thought that came afterwards sure sounds like the adversary! A normal trigger for my anxiety exacerbated by grief that is so close to the surface is certainly hard! But for the first thought to come up being basically,
God can’t overcome THIS to do anything good with this day!
Now there is where Satan’s lie can be seen. It’s got his marks all over it.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
A lot of time, I think more that Satan’s only looking to destroy us. But destruction isn’t the goal of a wrestling match. There the goal is to pin- to render your opponent unable to do anything. To put them in a spot where they throw in the towel- it’s over- the day is useless.
And what a prime opportunity he had to pin me! A chance to insert that little lie. The lie that when my adrenaline is activated, when my heart is racing in panic, there is no longer a way God can use me. I’m so ineffective I shouldn’t even try.
Be on your guard!
Satan deeply desires God’s people be rendered helpless. We create a powerful testimony if we are free to do what God’s called us too, whether it be sharing truth about God in words or in glorifying Him while taking care of our households! Yeah, I’m pretty certain the devil would have felt mighty pleased if just the laundry was too big for God to do with me today. We are God’s workmanship, created in Jesus Christ to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10)! God has a plan for my day- works He’s prepared for me to do that declare His goodness! And Satan loves to knock us off our game. He will take any opportunity he can get.
So what do we do about it?
First, we need to be on our guard.
We need to recognize that we are on the devil’s radar. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Sometimes I think we consider Satan’s opposition to just be on a mass scale- major ways he is opposing the work of Christ in the world. But this is much more personalized. He’s looking for someone. And while he is super interested in the Church to have a marred witness, he’s also looking to destroy the individual.
And so while you might be thinking you aren’t impactful enough for the devil to care if you glorify God or not, since all you are doing is wiping noses and folding laundry or entering numbers into a database, if you are God’s child, he’s looking to pin you. And he’ll use whatever lie he thinks will be most effective.
The next thing to do is recognize our resources.
In Ephesians 3:16-19, the apostle Paul prays that the church will realize the power they have access to – that it’s already there for them! 2 Peter 1:3 reminds us He’s given us everything we need for life and godliness! We’ve got the power! God’s power!
Finally, we need to stand.
We’ve recognized our enemy’s attack and the power we have access to. Now we need to do something about it. To acknowledge to ourselves that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph 3:20) according to His good purposes, so if He wants me to spend the day working to glorify Him, He can do something miraculous with my panic. We pray, asking His Spirit to empower us. We take up our armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God.
Because we’ve got a job to do. And we are making sure there’s nothing that’s going to get us off our game.