[This post was written a few days ago.]
I've wanted to pull my hair out several times this week. Seriously.
I've been missing my quiet time this week. I like to rise early before Puuddy (our oldest daughter) so I can spend some time with Jesus. I've learned that this time is vital - it sets the tone for my entire day. So when she started waking up before 8am this week, I was irked. Like, seriously on the edge of freaking out. And to make it worse, she hasn't been napping either. Awesome. The result? One absolutely fried and stressed out mama. (If you're a mom then you're probably sitting there nodding, thinking oh yeah, I've been there before....)
Now this has nothing to do with my daughter's sleeping habits and everything to do with the fact that the enemy is a thief...
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ~ John 10:10
I'd been gaining some good ground in my walk with Christ during my quiet time. Not to mention the fruit of peace and joy that that time was bearing in my household. And this makes the enemy mad. No - furious.
"Enemy?" you ask. "What enemy?"
If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ then you have an enemy and he is Satan, or the devil. He wants to rob you of the very life that Jesus offers.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8
Oh yes, he's real. I'm seeing that more clearly now. The more I try to deepen my walk with Jesus, the more hell breaks loose.
And so there's this constant need for me to go back, to return to the feet of Jesus, repenting of my selfish, sinful ways and seeking the cleansing and healing that only Jesus can give. Otherwise I make myself vulnerable to the enemy's attacks. But it's so easy for me to slip; to ignore the gentle nudging of Jesus to turn to Him. Honestly it's easier for me to whine and complain, allowing the enemy to gain a stronghold and steal my joy. But to experience the abundant life that Jesus offers, we have to fight for it - daily. Sometimes several times a day. But it's worth fighting for. Oh, is it worth it!
Back to this morning...
As Puuddy made her way to the top of the stairs before 7:30am, I felt my heart sink at the thought of missing my quiet time yet again. Any joy or hope for the day quickly evaporated, and I was about to give way to the bitterness and anger that so conveniently presented themselves to me.
And then I saw it. The pattern. Morning on top of morning of missed quiet time that resulted in stressful, teary-eyed and lifeless days. By their fruit you will recognize them...(Matthew 7:16a). This isn't the life that Jesus promises us.
"What is the fruit of what you're experiencing? What is its effect? If it continues, what will the results of that be? What will be lost?...Is something being stolen? That's not from God...Look at the fruit - it will give you a good idea of the tree it came from."
~ John Eldredge, Walking with God
The thief was having a field day and I was almost blind to his schemes. Before I realized it was an attack, I'd lost my will to pray. I was becoming weary and spiritually exhausted. The last thing I wanted to do was pray. And that's exactly what the enemy wanted, by the way. But once I recognized the pattern and saw the attack for what it was, somehow it became easier to endure and, most importantly, pray. As I prayed, I could feel the life of Christ returning to my body. Relief. Healing. Peace. The more I spoke God's promises over myself and worshipped Him, the better I felt. I couldn't just hope that my mood would improve and joy would return. I had to make an effort. I had to claim it.
"If you walk with God, you will find yourself called up to the real thing. Intense battle. Authentic joy.
The battle will find you.
But you have to be intentional about the joy."
~ John Eldredge, Walking with God
I have to learn to be intentional about my joy. My life literally depends on it.