Any time you make a declaration, a decision or step onto a path to trust God’s plan for your life, you are noticed. All of Heaven applauds and roots for your success, fighting for your royal right to the life you are to live. The Holy Spirit leads and guides you into all knowledge and truth if you allow Him to. Jesus intercedes on your behalf. God Himself rejoices at your trajectory towards Him and He comes closer to you. On the flip side of this, hell takes notice and immediately comes ready with plots, plans, schemes and tricks to steal the words and actions of joy from you (see the parable of the sower and John 10:10).
Satan is allowed to pick a fight with you, throw shade on your sunny day and heart. He’s a thief, so he seeks an opportune time to gleefully pee in your Cheerio’s with the hope that you will not recognize the pee-pee O’s, eat it and gag. Not only gag, but choke. And not just choke, but die. And while you’re choking making sure you can’t see nothing but the bowl. Yeah, it is that disgusting, but we fall for it every time! The only person who hasn’t is Jesus. No? Check this. As soon as Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon him, Jesus was sent to the wilderness by same said Holy Spirit to be tempted. That’s right. It was on purpose. If the savior of the world couldn’t stand, then we had no hope. Fortunately, Jesus is Jesus and not me because um…I would have had Olive Garden breadsticks, with extree butter. Steamin’ baby.
Anytime we make declarations AND we act on them, hell comes against us. One of the best ways he has of tripping us up is to get us complaining about (a) being inconvenienced or (b) what we don’t have. It really does come down to those two things. It is known that if we are thankful and praise God, that God inhabits the praises of his people. We are now operating in the will of God, and exerting the authority of Jesus Christ, even just in obedience. Satan’s goal is to trip you up, tempt you to willfully and happily choose to back down or to be outright rebellious and disobedient. Does this feel good? No chastening (correction or discipline) feels good when it’s occurring, but the payout tho’! The payout is what keeps you going, and you’ll be glad you stuck with it.
Case on point…today was the third day of bed exercises… only I was exhausted this morning. For the last few nights, I’ve been getting into bed at 12:30 am, 1:00 am. In order to meet my goals of giving God the first of my day (not just a surface hi) and listening to people who inspire me, as well as get those exercises in, I have to be up and in motion no later than 5:00 am. Notice I said, no later than. Yesterday, I barely got my time in, and it was rushed, definitely not quality. Today – I hit snooze until 6:15 am, said my general prayers on the toilet while brushing my teeth (oh so sexy), and listened to positivity messages that didn’t penetrate as deeply as I would have liked…because by that time, Six was up and needed attention. That kid knows how to work an attention angle. I’ll say that much.
Did my alarm malfunction? No. Did I oversleep? No. Six actually woke up at 4 am. He was claiming thirsty and hungry. I was having none of those shenanigans. He immediately went back to sleep. Had I gone to bed when I was supposed to around 10 pm, I could have stayed up, and had more prayer time. For me, an hour of sleep doesn’t always do much. The hour would have been time invested. While I didn’t go to sleep on time, I was pretty irritated at being awakened at 4 am. That’s a whopping three hours of sleep. And I still didn’t return to sleep until close to 4:30. Now this, my friends is what theft tends to look like – intentionally circumstantial or situational. To top it off, I woke up ahead of my 5 am alarm anyway. Did I get up? Naaaaaah. I rolled back over like any other respectable sleep deprived individual. And I continued to disengage the 15 minute interval alarms I’ve set for myself to ensure timeliness. I kept doing so until 6:10 am. The innerme stole from me too. #stolen
This doesn’t sound like a fight. But it is – and that’s the deceitfulness that Eve encountered, that we still encounter today. Random distractions are sometimes actually heavily choreographed opportunities to become distracted, murmur and complain. You can’t have the strength of God when you aren’t paying attention or complain. You stay in the desert when you complain. Complaining causes you to lose direction, focus and clarity. It’s a concerted distraction. But thanksgiving, gratitude, praise…those are spiritual currency of sorts. It gets you access to joy unspeakable and peace that surpasses all understanding. It gets you the ability to see the 10,000 on your right and left side drop like flies, but His praises remain on your lips as you live in the shadow of His wings.
The randomness of my kid waking up …yeah it was choreographed. Me hitting that snooze button brought on by my own disobedience was my flesh working against me by my own selfish choice. We have to choose life so that our seed (dreams, plans and ambitions) may live. Making the alternative choice (as in not choosing actions that bring life) is a way to pluck the seed from us, to have it eaten, or have it choked out (see the parable of the sower – google it, you’ll find it, I promise). And it, this choice we have to make, happens daily.
Every single morning since I decided to follow what I’ve been told felt like a fight. It has not come easily. It has been a push. Last night during prayer time, the Lord said ‘push back’. It didn’t just pertain to the situation I was thinking of or revealed to me. It also meant pertaining to the things in my heart, I’m going to have to push back. It isn’t easy right now, but I refuse to back down. Although bed exercises didn’t happen in the morning, but a 15 minute video after work that was a bit more intensive did. My thighs are SCREAMING and certain parts of my lower abdomen and the obliques. I keep telling myself (as I consider Icy Hot as a moisturizing lotion in those areas) I’m going to look fabulous and feel great. It is a fight. My flesh is literally uprising in rebellion to my decision to keep my temple healthy and looking good. It hurts. My flesh got so beside itself that it practically yelled at me to sleep during a meeting, and I ALMOST did. But I told the truth on myself in the meeting, got some help in my time of need-coffee. Then took a power nap in my car.
The fight is to be expected. Don’t act brand new, even if you are. Fight back. Fight the good fight of faith. Stand firm in the understanding that the small things, while small, still require resolve, determination, discipline. Set your face like flint (read: Game face). Keep seeking, asking, and knocking for help in your time of trouble. For me today, the fights were abundant: unexpected food day loaded with cupcakes I wouldn’t normally eat (I’m fasting dessert), oatmeal sans raisins (one of the few sugars I can have), a lunch I wasn’t too thrilled with (didn’t have time to eat), and ridiculous work demands. But you know what? God gave me grace. He allowed me favor in ridiculous moments that made me want to yell and scream. And by the grace of God, my Six went to sleep 20 minutes early. Praise God!!!
Expect the small steps to reap a great reward-just don’t expect it without a fight. It comes with the territory. Wear your armor and be strong – stand!