Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 320 Going to War with the Enemy Within

Dear friends,

I wrestled over the content of this post. Ultimately I decided to fess up, because I've promised to tell the truth. It's a difficult subject, but it's for real.

Over the last 2 days my darker side has reared its head. I have been struggling with a couple of temptations, both old head games that the bible would call "strongholds". Yesterday was really a rough go, whacking down thoughts and actions that belie who I truly am, threatening to strand me in a dark, isolated pit of sin where I could get messed up good before I chose to come home again. Ironically, one of those strongholds is alcohol. I'm not saying it's wrong to have a drink. But one knows when the mindset is not the pleasure of a special cocktail with a nice dinner, but the diabolical goal of forgetting problems and escaping pain in forbidden ways. Dealing with trouble by excluding the Great One from the picture, and seeking an alternative God. Feeling dissatisfied and seeking satisfaction in a counterfeit. Strangely enough, temptation to sin was much less palpable in the midst of some of the worst pain in my life lo those 10 months ago. No doubt there are times when disaster could drive someone to addiction and vice. But I found myself graciously free of that battle for a while. While we walk on this planet, though, there will be another temptation around the bend. It's common to all men. And it won't go away til we're dead.

The dark lords that call us are different for each soul. My dear friend who knew God did not want her watching soap operas duked it out with that one for years before she gained her victory. I have never, ever been tempted to watch a soap opera. For her, soap operas had become an idol, and the Great One wanted her to let them go for the sake of her freedom. It was a hard, rocky road with many setbacks, but she's got her liberty, and she's ever vigilant lest that thing get its tentacles around her again. Only you know what that thing is that could kill your body, relationships, calling, purpose, even your very soul. The Lord says when we are tempted, He will always provide a way of escape. Sometimes we see the safety hatch, and look the other way, hoping God won't notice that we were "tempted beyond our ability to turn". But that's never true. When we sin, we practice the very thing that makes us human: the power to choose. A soap opera seems like nothing - but each man knows his Achilles heel, and the tiniest stone in the shoe can make the pilgrim road a misery over the many miles...

I'm still like a woman on a boat, trying to get my sea legs with these things, choosing one minute at a time to hold on to what is good and right. I'm a little stronger today, by the grace of God, so it's a little easier to choose the light over the darkness. But I must keep a wary eye on my shadows. Telling you about this one is a way of doing that. (Hiding in the dark perpetuates the problem). That sly enemy of the souls of men can't hurt God, so he goes after the apple of His eye. All the while our Rescuer is saying, "get in the lifeboat, son, and you'll be safe". What a Savior!

If you've already landed in that pit of darkness, let me tell you I've been there too. And the One and Only is always on the ready to pull us the heck out of there. Repentance is a happy word, not a shameful one. It's the key in the lock of restoration. We'd be fools to stay in the garbage dump when our Father wants to bring us out into the place of peace. Always, though, the choice is ours.

How I wish I didn't have to admit to my own weakness! But if I'm gauging this thing right, I've got a feeling the rest of you have your seasons of temptation too. Our culture doesn't help much either. So maybe you'll be encouraged to know that I'm really going to pray this week for all the bloggies in that area in particular. The Dark one wants to take us out, with a car accident or by making us cave from within, or by any number of schemes. But he's no match for the King of Goodness and Light. Be strong, friends, and go to the right God to meet your deepest needs.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


1 comment:

Susan said...

Thanks for such beautiful honesty--must have been really scary. I don't think too many of us would post our main "tugs from below."

We were discussing in a humorous way on the Lord of the Rings site that creepy hand in the barrow downs just after the Hobbits left Bombadil--but it comes to mind as an analogy. Frodo gathered his courage and cut the thing off before it could grab him. That's what you've done, and thanks for pointing out that we can too (although sometimes it's hard to find that knife!!).