Thursday, December 14, 2017

stop believing lies

My kids are in the phase of name calling. Some of them think it’s funny…sometimes. Some of them laugh when they call their brother a name but retort with “you’re going bananas” and now they are mad. The names can be hurtful (to a three-year-old) like “you a mean baby” or completely ridiculous like “poopy face” (because no one in this house is walking around with poop on their face!). They all come to me whining and depending on the situation and child’s age my words are different. But, to my six-year-old this morning I quietly said “you know that what he is calling you is not true. You know that name is not what you are or who you are so don’t listen to him.”

You might not be around kids often but there are still names and definitions and assumptions being said about you and to you. Do you listen to them?

There is a battle being waged in our minds.

What to believe, what to listen to, what to ignore, what is right, what is wrong, when to say yes, when to say no, who to ignore and who to agree with. Are you dizzy yet? I believe this is a spiritual battlefield. I believe that Satan did in fact come to “kill, steal and destroy” our hearts, our families, our homes, our dreams, our beliefs and the best place to start is within our minds. To pummel us quietly. We forget that God created us in His image, we forget that “He rescued me because He delighted in me”.

We talk about people’s self-esteem as being low because they don’t believe in their abilities or aren’t very confidant. But, if you are in a quiet room all alone do you actually believe that you are all the great things you show people? I didn’t. For 10 years I have shown confidence outwardly, I have maybe even, in reality, been all those great things but I never believed they were true about me. I believed those people that saw me were misjudging me, lying to me to make me feel better or just didn’t have a good view of reality. I wore a mask (rather well) of a girl becoming a woman who knew she was a creative mom, loving friend, thoughtful wife, secure as a stay-at-home-mom-homeschooler. But in reality it all felt like a mask to me.  

The funny, awful, twisted, manipulative thing about lies is that when we hear them enough and wear them around enough we don’t feel the mask anymore. We don’t see what is true and what is not. We hear the lies so much we believe them.

The fight isn’t what words come out of our mouth or what we eat or what we desire or what temptation we give into. The fight is in our thoughts and what we say to ourselves. When my kids scream at me because I won’t give them candy for breakfast I hear, “you never make them happy.” Often these thoughts that bombard me happen in such hectic moments I listen to them in the chaos and keep going. But, we need to recognize the words as a battle cry. We need to take them as an offense so we can enter the defense.

The next time you hear thoughts that tell you who you are and who you are not, take a moment and repeat them. Then ask yourself if they are reality or feelings. Are they are someone else’s opinion that gets to have an opinion? My three-year-old does not get to have an opinion about me being a good or bad mom, his verdict does not get to be truth in my ears. So, I speak truth back to him. I say, “I know you don’t like that I said no but it is better for your body to not have candy for breakfast and obeying mommy is respectful and kind and loving and God asks us to love each other well”. Speaking truth to fight lies really can be simple. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away, it makes you wonder if you have gotten it wrong.

Don’t let yourself be steered by lies that your children or stress or failure throw at you today. Walk in the truth by speaking truth to those lies. When you do, the false words that Satan flings will become more recognizable to you and the truth will start to be believed again!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fighting Strategies to win the Battle Today!

The kids are whining. Your car broke down. You are late. Your boss needs you to re-do the report. The dinner burned. 

We hear: 
  • “You are a bad mom.”
  • “You don’t deserve a nice car.”
  • “You are always late.”
  • “You can’t do anything right at this job.”
  • “Your husband will be disappointed again.”
We stop fighting. We let the broken car, the obstinate kids and the dishes in the sink win. We give them power they were never meant to have. Power to ruin our day and power to define us. 

Three years ago I yelled at my kids constantly. I could tell you that it wasn’t the correct response in a situation. I was drowning and didn’t see the life boat floating right next to me. 

The kids didn’t listen. When they ignored me, disobeyed or yelled at me I heard…
  • “They don’t care what you say”
  • “It doesn’t matter if you discipline them”
  • “It doesn’t matter what you do”
  • “You will never make them happy”
  • “They don’t love you”
We put on our own armor of protection. We numb ourselves to the hurt and chaos. We wear masks that convince others we are “okay, thanks for asking.” 

We are exhausted by living up to expectations and as Satan whispers lies to us, we begin to believe them. 

We are in a spiritual battle.

We fall into a trap that has a tight grasp on our heart and mind. That is the war that is being waged.

The Bible speaks of the devil as a thief who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). He comes quietly most days for me. Sneaking in with whiny kids, hectic work schedules, and disguising God given blessings. 

My heart grows numb and as it does the thief has won…he has begun to steal my joy, kill my hope and destroy life. 

I fight to prove my worth. I fight to be heard. I want to feel important. I want to feel loved.
It can feel like evil is winning. The reality feels impossible but when we let that defeat us we forget the end of the story. That is Satan’s victory.

There doesn’t need to be fear in the battle. We don’t need to shrink back, hide behind self-built walls, or dig our own trench for protection.

Satan knows very well what is tempting and destructive to each one of us. 

The enemy taunts us with the dream of what we look forward to at the end of a long day or a long week. We na├»vely slip into his beautifully set trap and always come out wanting more. 

We feel frustrated. Unfulfilled. Exhausted. We see the battle and want to hide. 

This life is hard. John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” It was not promised to be easy.

In marriage it is hard to love someone more than ourselves, it is difficult to give and not demand. Love becomes a sacrifice we are surprised by and the romance ebbs and flows.

Parenthood brings to light a selfishness we never saw before. We love, serve, and give with no return. We expected to feel fulfilled and loved and valued in life and we are left disappointed. 

Adulthood is a roller coaster of transitions. Finding a job is harder than we imagined, balancing jobs with family and friends is not flexible like we hoped. 

Life is a battlefield we are often blind-sighted by. Our expectations of peace and joy from a beautiful family, clean house, happy kids and loving marriage disappoint us and we look for someone to blame. 

What if that grief over dreams lost was a good thing? What if this trench we are fighting in is for our good? 

What if we are meant to be changed by it instead of changing it?

Satan wants us to believe that it shouldn’t be this way. He wants us to feel hopeless. The words we hear in the battle are lies the devil hopes we believe are true.

We are living on a quiet, seductive battlefield. It is a spiritual one, an emotional one and a physically exhausting one but, we didn’t get left alone!

Oh, how easy it is to forget that this fight has a PURPOSE! 

There is hope. The end is not defeat. It is sanctification! He has given us truth to remind us when days feel dark and lies feel loud. 
It is His truth that we have to sing in our kitchens, showers and cars. We have to repeat it while we walk the halls and climb the stairs. 

That is how we fight in these trenches courageously. That is why we can mourn. That is why we can sacrifice our comfort and fall in line behind the Lord who leads the troops. 

Romans 8 says, “we are more than conquerors.” This battle we are fighting is not just for a victory.  

We need to stop trying to overcome the struggle or end the battle. The victory is promised. 

There is value is in the midst of the mundane. It is in how we fight, how we live, how we choose to survive that has purpose. 

There is work being done. He will produce something through it. That something will be more than saying "I won" at the end. 

The process of fighting will draw us to Him. It will make us fall at His feet and throw our hands up in worship. 

Jesus offers our true safety, He is our hiding place and our protection. 

Psalm 32:7 “You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.”

That promise of protection is given because we are loved. One meant to be used as a tool in our belt, given so we can live freely.

Distraction, numbness or ignorance won’t dispel the battle. Speaking truth is the only way to fight. That is how we wage war on lies. 

We need to be aware. We need to confess our failings and speak truth. We have to take off our mask and admit what we cannot do. 

We need to celebrate with God that our weakness shows us our need for Him!

The reality that we won the fight will be secondary to the fact that we are alive to tell the tale. To sing His praise and confess our failures because He is with us, He enabled us. 

The success, the end of the struggle is His glory not ours! 

Do you feel the weight of the battle raging around you? What truths do you hold onto as you navigate daily life? 
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