Yeah, I’m aware of the fact that the title of today’s post is also the title of the award-winning movie that was released last year. The similarities end there, because whereas the movie was about a football player and an amazing woman, my post is about what happened to me last week, and the first couple of days of this one.
Before I continue, I want to dedicate today’s post to my friend Melanie, who, upon learning yesterday morning that there might not be a Seed post this week, snapped me out of my defeated state by sending me an e-mail that read:
“…shame on me for saying this, but shame on you for letting Satan stop you from posting. Who wins if that happens? AND you don’t always need to try to encourage your readers, even though you always do. Post the truth about what you’re going through.”
I slept on Melanie’s words last night, and I’ve made the decision to follow her advice by telling you what I’ve been going through, as best that I can. I’m gonna write this, not because I want to, but because I need to. I’m tired, and disgusted, and pretty much sick of being beat up this week. I’ve had it with people thinking that they can say what they want to me, or do what they want around me, or take advantage of the fact that I’m a Christian. What is it that makes some people think that a Jesus loving, God worshipping, Holy Spirit seeking person must to be a wimp?
I do love Jesus, and I do worship my Almighty God, and I invite the Holy Spirit to fill me and work through me every day. I seek His face, and long to feel Him with me and in me, and I try to be Christ-like as much as I can. Be that as it may, there are those days when I’ve just had enough of the “flaming arrows of the evil one,” and I question God’s plans for my life, and I cry out to Him, “God, are you gonna help me here, or what? Can’t You see that I’m struggling here, that I’m hurting here, and that I’m being beaten to a pulp? I’m in the middle of a raging storm at sea, and I’m sinking! How much more? How much more? HELP-ME-PLEASE!”
Sometimes, the storms pass quickly. Other times (and I hate it when this happens) the storms linger. Quite often these storms serve to draw me closer to Him. I believe that some of the storms are to teach me life lessons; that they’re God’s hand shaping me and forming me to be the Christian that I strive to be every day. Some are God’s way of preparing me to attain another level spiritually. And many are God’s way of testing my obedience to Him, and to what He’s called me to do.
During the past week or so, I believe that He used the storms for all of the reasons that I listed above. It has indeed been a very trying time.
Curiously, in the midst of the storms, not everything has been bad. In fact, God provided me with many opportunities to reach out to others, to share my testimony, and to pray for the needs of several people. Take away the challenges, and it truly was an amazing week. Of course, if we take away the challenges, life wouldn’t quite be the same for any of us, would it?
So what happened?
Simply put, I was blindsided by life, by people, and by Satan. And since I share everything that God puts on my heart, without reservation, I’ll go ahead and admit that I was blindsided by myself. Yep, you read it right. I did myself in.
You see, I don’t like confrontations. I don’t like being the bearer of bad news. I hate being the “bad guy.” I love leading people to Christ, or enlightening those who seek to know more of Him, through these pages. (Everything that I do is the result of wanting everyone to know what this feels like.) I gladly accept and desire the role of being a leader in any realm of God’s Kingdom and His people.
I believe that God has also given me the talent to be a leader in the business realm, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a reluctant leader. Why? Because as the leader of a team of seventeen people in our small business, there are times when I must be confrontational, and the bearer of bad news, and on occasion, the bad guy.
That was the case last week. I’d known for some time that there were a couple of people working for us that I needed to “let go.” It wasn’t that they were bad people. Both were classic cases of the right person having the wrong job, or vice versa. I was gonna have to be the bad guy and tell them that they were losing their jobs, because that’s part of my role as a leader in our business. Yeah, I was gonna have to be the bad guy, and fire a couple of people, and it wasn’t something that I really felt comfortable doing, and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. As a matter of fact, I put off taking action for a long time, all the while knowing that they were hurting our business! Which in turn, made me beat myself up because I knew that I wasn’t living up to my responsibilities as a leader of the rest of the people that work with my wife Jackie and me. The worst part was that it was their actions, and not mine, that put their jobs in jeopardy to begin with. Yet I was the one carrying around this huge weight of guilt for what I was going to have to do.
I liken what happened to me next as the “domino theory”, wherein the toppling of one domino standing on end causes a chain reaction resulting in the toppling of each adjacent domino until they’ve all fallen.
My hesitancy in doing what I needed to do lead me to question if I was on the right path in life, which lead me to questioning my purpose in life, which lead to questioning His very plans for me. My life, and my mind, was suddenly filled with chaos. A week that had begun with so much promise was rapidly becoming filled with what I like to refer to as being “crap”.
And that’s when Satan stepped in, using people around me to create even more havoc. There’s something that I’ve learned about Satan. He’s always there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to take us down. If we take our eyes off of God for a moment, or get distracted, or frustrated, or doubtful, he’s there. He’s like a vulture circling the skies, looking for “road kill”, or the weak, or those that have dropped their defenses. He will go to any extremes, using anyone that he can to get at you. Family members, close friends, and business associates are all in his arsenal of weapons. You see, when it comes to attacking God’s children, Satan knows no boundaries. He attacks even the strongest of souls, and when he does, he’s relentless. Given the opportunity, he will pound you into submission.
As recently as last night, I was nearing the point of walking away from everything that Jackie and I had worked for. The attacks were coming, wave after wave, from all sides, and I was just about ready to give up. The tragic part was that I was my worst enemy. I had given Satan the smallest window of opportunity to get into my mind, and he was having a field day.
I went to bed last night in prayer, asking…no, make that begging God to give me help. I was tired, and broken, but I was never going to stop loving Him, or serving Him, no matter what His plans were for me. And that’s exactly what I told Him.
I awoke this morning with the belief that God’s plan for me today would include an end to the chaos that had engulfed my mind for the past ten days. I made my way to my prayer chair in our kitchen and thumbed through my Bible searching for the nugget of truth, God’s Word, that would give me hope for a better day.
I actually found two nuggets, and both are from the book of James.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
I shared the wisdom and the promise of both passages with Jackie, and made a mental promise to God and to myself to make the most of the day that He’d given me.
A few hours later I received Melanie’s e-mail, urging me to write this post, and challenging me with the question, “Who wins if that happens?”
I immediately began working on this post. No way that Satan was gonna win the day. Besides, the victory was won the day that Jesus climbed on that cross for us. If we keep that thought in the forefront of everything that we say, in every thought that we think, in every action that we take, and in every step that we make in life, we will never lose.
And Satan will never win.