So, we’re talking honest about real spiritual warfare, the gritty underbelly of living Loved, the ugly ways the enemy tries to douse our hot, Spirit-lit fire, and my friend says what maybe some of the rest of us have been just a little too timid to say, something that just sizzles with courage:
He just tries to make me feel stupid. And sometimes I let him.
She’s angry, my friend—downright put out over it–and so am I, because I see the way our sincerity sometimes withers at the edges.
I mean, even for having a place where I pray, she says. It can be just me and I feel that way.
She’s right. Even as she says it, I hear the ridiculous sound of my own voice bouncing off those closet walls, the way hearing me that way can make me want to shrink back down to a whisper. Even when I march through the house owning my blood-bought identity, and fierce, I faintly catch a slithery taunt as the enemy flees. Fool. But then, he always has been a bully. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of letting him push me around.
Sitting around our kitchen table at night and my daughter, brave, volunteers to speak our hearts out loud in prayer. It’s a heavy mantel to do that for other people, even family, but when we ask the question–Who wants to pray?—she lifts her slender arm and in a send me voice says, “I will.”
And she starts strong, sounding more and more like a woman–like a woman who knows she belongs to a King:
Thank you for all of us here together, and thank you for our home, and thank you that we have food enough to feel full. Help us to listen like Joseph did (Matthew 1:20-24), to not be afraid to just trust you. Because you told him what to do and he just did it, even though he probably didn’t even really know what was going on…and yea.
And yea. To not be afraid to trust you…Even though he probably didn’t even really know what was going on. There’s nothing the enemy would more like to dismantle than our faith.
It was as though, in the pause, she heard herself, but not the beautiful I heard; not the redeemed she is, but the defeated she was. It was like some taunt from another place stopped her still, right in the middle of soul-pouring. Fool. I don’t even know if she heard it for what it was, but I’ve been there, and I know. And I’ve had enough. Something another friend said just the other day slid through my mind, something about the enemy picking the wrong fight when he messes with our babies. And yea.
My daughter, she finishes quickly–but she finishes her prayer, the words sliding away, quieter and quieter. Almost every sentence ends with and yea chopping off her thoughts, leaving them jagged, but I just feel proud of her–so relentlessly proud of her–for staring into the mouth of the lion. And I feel determined to see her all the way to chasing that lion back to his den.
I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. (2 Samuel 6:22)
These fighting words flood my mind, spoken by a shepherd-turned-King faith-free enough to worship like a fool, even by his own estimation; spoken by someone unafraid to beat back the lions threatening his sheep. David was clear on the identity of the real King; on the real owner of victory; on His true place of refuge. God had given him a kingdom, and he knew it. God has given us a kingdom too. So lately I’m praying these words, right along with the words of David:
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. (Galatians 1:10)
Because the bully loses his foothold when we begin to own the truth Paul wrote, that you have to become a fool to be truly wise (2 Cor 3:18).