Over the past couple of days I have had the opportunity to be vulnerable and honest with a couple of close friends. In speaking with them I was able to talk about the tension I am experiencing spiritually. In a recent post, I spoke to the fact that I can sense God stirring and working toward something. In a step of obedience, I led what could be considered my first altar call over the weekend and was privileged to see the Spirit move people to commit their lives to living for the Lord, but more importantly, walk into the freedom that is living with Jesus.
While this was incredible and seems like something that would lead to spiritual high, it has actually had the opposite effect. I’ve felt as though I’ve been in such a battle over the last few days spiritually and it has been exhausting. Today, while attending a Mental Health conference, I heard a man speak about living with schizophrenia/bipolar disorder and it hit home in such an unexpected way. Ironically, as part of his story the man stood in front of the room and stated that he doesn’t believe in God. While that was not the main take-away from his presentation, it was a big take-away for me. Reason-being that his story had a profound impact on my own personal struggle right now. As he spoke about his manic episodes and the last 20 years of his life, he also spoke to very recently feeling suicidal. He stood in front of the room and actively spoke to his current battle for existence and how he works through that on a daily basis.
At the end of his talk I commended him for showing us what is truly means to live the existence that is mental illness and not allowing his current state of vulnerability to keep him from speaking to the group. Although he personally does not believe in God, the Lord used his speech today to speak grace and encouragement into my life. The reason I was impacted by his talk was because I fully realize that I am walking through a spiritual battle right now. I am working hard to cling to the strength of my faith while also fighting off the enemy. I know that I can claim victory in Christ, as my dear friend so lovingly reminded me yesterday, but it doesn’t make the attacks from the enemy any less real or difficult. Listening to this man’s speech today, moved me in such a way that, as I said to my husband at dinner tonight, the Lord wants me to remind people that it is ok to be real during the battle. It is ok to allow people to know that there is a battle.
Just because I love Jesus, and have for a very long time, does not mean that I am not a target for the enemy. Yes, I know who will be victorious in the end but the enemy wants to distract me and hold me back from whatever it is the Lord is calling me towards. The enemy tries to speak lies to me and fill my head with negative self-talk just like he does everyone else.
He tries to tell me that I am unqualified and truth is, I am. The only qualifications I have for stepping into the land where the Lord leads me is that HE is my leader and HE is the guide.
The enemy tries to tell me I am too much for people. That I have “too much” Jesus and that it puts people off. Ok, yes, I know that talking about Jesus all the time can put people off, but the fact of the matter is that I would rather look foolish among men, and make a few people feel uncomfortable here and there for the sake of reaching those that do listen when God wants to speak through my voice.
The enemy tries to tell me that I don’t have a story to tell. Oh heck no, sir! Because of the things that I have had to walk through as a result of sin in this world – my God will use them for good and redeeming and Christ-honoring works. He will use them to take you down so don’t you dare try to silence my voice. Don’t you dare try to make me feel isolated because there is power in my volume!
Let me also remind everyone of faith one thing, it is ok to spiritually tap out or take a breather if you know that someone has pulled away. It is ok to understand when spiritual boundaries have been put in place. It doesn’t make you any less of a prayer warrior or mean you have any less impact on a person’s life. If anything, it indicates to the person that you respect their space. Also, you can still LOVE someone while respecting his or her space. You can still pray for them, you can still support them, and you can still encourage them. Just because someone does not choose to engage with you does not mean you are a failure or you have failed God. I have so many people in my life that this has happened with and it used to hurt, but now I understand that there is a growth process in faith that you cannot force on anyone. ALLOW THE LORD TO WORK because you will be amazed at how much better he is at this than you ever will be.
At the end of the day, I am blessed that I am in a place where I know and recognize the lies that are trying to be spoken over my life. I am blessed to know where to go to look for the truth in the Bible and how to battle through this fight. However, if there is anyone else out there that is walking through a similar spiritual battle, please know you are not alone and it is ok. Spiritual warfare is not weakness; it is refining and strengthening. Please also know that IT DOES NOT MAKE GOD LOOK BAD, it reminds people that we are human! Nevertheless, I know I will be victorious and I know the truths on which my faith and identity stand.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.