For a couple of years, I’ve had the spiritual impression that something was holding me back in some way. The something hasn’t been a constant thing, but more like an unexpected storm that just shows up.
Not depression. Something different.
But in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37
I’ve been seeking an answer from God for the past two years. I’ve prayed about this often: What am I doing (or not doing) that’s the cause?
I’ve focused on what I might possibly need to change in my life, my shortcomings, all of that. I want nothing more than to be fully dwelling in the Vine of Christ.
A lifelong Christ-follower, I know there’s a battle raging outside our realm of conscious awareness. I know we’re under spiritual attack. (Ephesians 6:12).
But I completely missed the subtle attack that had been underway in my mind.
On the first day of this year’s 21 Days of Prayer, I felt the Spirit whisper that maybe it was something I was thinking that was the issue and that’s where I needed to focus. Immediately in that moment, I asked God to help me to see and understand what “thought” had me in its grip. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
I knew the circumstances that coincided with the arrival of the something…..I just failed to recognize the source of the attack.
In my late 40s, I experienced—for the first time—what it feels like to be rejected. At first, I thought I could solve the problem by doing more—and doing more, better. After repeatedly achieving the goals set in front of me, I realized that it wasn’t about my performance at all. It wasn’t even about me.
That realization made it easy to let go.
I found myriad ways to grow from the situation and, from the depths of my being, I knew that God had me right where he wanted me and that all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).
Eventually, I embarked on my new path and life was good. Until one day…in early June 2015, while mowing my lawn, I was blindsided by an overwhelming sense of self-doubt, followed by confusion.
“Why are you doing this? It won’t succeed.”
After a bit of an initial shock, I shrugged it off. Disregard. Nose to the grindstone.
I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve never lacked for confidence. I’ve always had so much confidence that I’ve had to consciously reign it in, lest I bite off more than I can chew or run off ahead of where God wants me to be.
Our strengths can also be our most vulnerable points of weakness.
The something reloaded and started firing away.
“Remember that essay you wrote 25 years ago about Discovering God’s Will for Your Professional Life? You need to go back and read that again. Did you forget that everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind?”
“Oh, by the way, you don’t have the resources to pull this off.”
By the end of the third month after the something’s arrival, I started to lose momentum. I focused on my resources (dwindling as they were). I had been walking on water, and then I looked down and realized I was in the midst of a storm. I doubted, ever so slightly, that I was on a mission.
I faltered—just long enough for negative thoughts to reproduce like cockroaches in a pile of trash. As soon as I would squash one, another would pop up.
“You’re piddling, Quitter. How’s that book you were writing coming along. Finished it yet?
“You are weak. You took the easy way out.”
The Enemy’s negative thought seeds produced the fruit of confusion.
“Hey, God, I thought I was on an inspired mission. What’s going on? What did I do?”
I froze my efforts. I prayed without ceasing and I stayed close to God. I decided to wait patiently on God. I pivoted somewhat when doors opened
It has not been easy, but God has answered prayers and met my needs. (Philippians 4:19).
Last year, I saw a path for combining a couple of initiatives to build on the prior work. By the end of 2017 I felt the attacks resuming.
By January 5, 2018, the renewed attack was fully underway.
“You don’t deserve…..”
After more than two years, my breakthrough during this year’s 21 Days of Prayer was the understanding of how the Enemy has been attacking me through thoughts of doubt and worth.
It’s weird how we can already “know” the answers yet not “see” the application in our own lives.
Is the battle over?
But there’s already Victory. Jesus took care of that.
I have come that they may have life, and may have it in all fullness.” John 10:10
If you dwell in me, and my words dwell in you, ask whatever you want, and you shall have it. This is how my Father is glorified: you are to bear fruit in plenty and so be my disciples.” John 15:7-8
Both verses from John are from The Revised English Bible
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Sheree Martin is a lawyer, entrepreneur and digital media consultant. She’s on a mission to help others Discover, Grow and Shine. Sheree is mom to multiple furry creatures and aunt to three awesome young adults. She loves spending time outdoors, especially at Shine Springs Farm, doing anything fitness related, and cooking real food for friends and family. Click her to read Sheree’s Breath on Paper bio.