I spoke to a dear friend the other day, one who I hadn’t talked deeply with in years. We exchanged stories of children and caught up on life. She opened up about her personal struggles with work, marriage, parenting and life in general. I found she had really been fighting, over the years battling those evil thoughts and detrimental voices devaluing her worth.
It made me so sad. That she had believed she couldn’t go on anymore. She was tired of living in constant combat. The pain, the never changing, the clenches of the confusion of life had taken hold of her. I wanted to reach through the phone and give her a comforting hug.
Then, I realized the many others in my life who are suffering in different aspects. Suffering in depression, marriage, professionally, financially, and those wrestling with self esteem. There are so many lost souls in the world today, desperately searching for that elusive peace and contentment, teetering on the edge of life.
Our minds run rampant, mental health issues escalate amplifying our internal pain. We see countless people on the outside, who live seemingly flawless lives, yet they are guided by distracted hearts that desperately hurt in private. Self-medicating, many are afraid to reach out, afraid to let their secret battles known. They are lost and lonely craving belonging.
Often those hurting inside, lash out at others in words and actions. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually whatever it may be. Life can be so hard and feel out of control. No matter how hard we try, we can’t outrun our hurt or pain. Sometimes it really does seem like there is nothing worth living for.
I know, I’ve been there. When my daughter died, I was lost and afraid. I lived in the dark corner of my closet, terrified of the world, consumed by guilt. Life as I knew it had ended. I couldn’t handle the pain or the thought of never tucking her in at night. My aching arms and broken heart were here to stay.
That was my own personal battle that continued for years. It was only when I soaked in God’s word, overtime, did He extend His hand, pulling me out of the dark abyss.
Now eleven years later, I can say that the only way I am surviving is by the grace of God. He is the only one that can give us ultimate peace and healing, no matter what we are going through. Not going to lie, I miss her every day. I still have days where my soul cries out with hot tears but I do so knowing this is not the end.
So, how exactly do we combat our internal battles? First we have to recognize the battle we are facing. Our battles are of the spiritual realm, not of this world.
We are reminded and warned in 1 Peter 5:8- “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the evil one prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
What a vivid picture. Everyday, the evil one is lurking in the shadows waiting for the perfect opportunity to pierce our hearts through our weaknesses and struggles. That so scary. He wants to distract and derail, destroy and devour us, inside and out. We must be watchful.
Often through thoughtless neglect it happens. We are busy. Overworked, stressed, feeding our minds with worldly noise. We continue about our days, not noticing the daily wear and tear causing our souls to become tattered and worn, thin and breakable. This creates the perfect opportunity for the devil to pounce.
So, a seemingly valid question comes to mind. What kind of protection do we use? How do we prevent this, just like any other physical injury? We religiously put on our seat belts, helmets and sunscreen, protecting our physical bodies from harm. There are countless types of life protections for our bodies, but how do we protect our souls? That is something rarely voiced.
We must SUIT UP and SHOW UP. Suit up in the armor of God and be ready for whatever comes our way, not shying away.
Just like we are told in Ephesians:
- Be strong in the Lord and in his MIGHTY power
- Put on the FULL armor of God to protect against the devil’s schemes
- Be reminded that the our struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms
- Stand FIRM with the belt of TRUTH, the breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS, with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of PEACE.
- Take up the shield of FAITH and helmet of SALVATION and the sword of the SPIRIT, the word of God
- Lastly, to PRAY in the Spirit on ALL occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
- Be ALERT and ALWAYS pray for the Lord’s people.
I love this image by Jonah Onyx- It’s the perfect image, something we all should have posted by our beds so we can be reminded first thing in the morning.
An illustration of the whole Armor of God, taken from the epistle of Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-18. A merchandise poster for The Word Cadets. Credits to Rose Publishing for the description. Copyright by The Word Cadets Graphics Team.
It takes daily reminders, a constant review of God’s word.
At times, we all get infected by depression and sadness. Through our afflictions, no matter what they are, God wants us to turn to Him. To lay our burdens down, give them to him and be reminded that the battles are not our own. He wants to rescue us.
We have to look deep inside. What is it we want? What is it we need? The world cannot give us what we truly need no matter how hard we search. Our souls will never be satisfied with this. Yet, God can provide everything we need.
We must deflect the lies of the enemy and remember that we have everything we need to overcome. We have the power within us and the Holy Spirit to fight back.
Daily we are tempted to fill our hearts with superficial madness that will appease our appetites for a short while, leaving that void still needing to be filled. To combat the chaos and negative thoughts, we need to know our worth, our value and purpose for this life and to remember, He died for us.
It’s so easy to give up and be torn down by all the darkness succumbing to the world’s harsh realities and words that we often take so personally. Life often thrusts us into unfamiliar and scary places making us vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. We must make the decision everyday to put on that armor of God in preparation for our daily battles, open our eyes, stand firm and join hearts with other believers.
Let us not forget:
John 10:10 Amplified Bible (AMP) 10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].
He wants us to be free of pain and hopelessness, and to live the life that He died to give us. Remember, with God we can be victorious- the bible says we are more than conquerors.
He is for us, a fortress for our soul. Believe and know, you are loved and you are enough, perfect just the way you are. Keep fighting the good fight, trusting with your whole heart. He will restore you.
We cannot let the world rob us of our self-worth and amplify our shortcomings. Our identity and worth is found in Him and nothing else. Not our friends, family, co-workers, wealth or prestige. Some may not know. Some may have forgotten the power in His name. Fill your cup with encouragement and positivity. Hope is real. Be reminded, He is the champion of heaven and salve for our soul. Turn to Him. Put God first. Pray. Saturate yourself in His word and see the endless possibilities.
In closing, I shout out to all suffering hearts, you can do this!!
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Is. 40:31