Right before I opened up my computer to write this, I was looking for a notebook. For a while, God has been stirring my heart, prompting me to write more. But I’ve been making excuse after excuse as to why I can’t do it: I don’t have time. It will bring up too many feelings, and I just don’t want to face those right now. I have more important things to do. I don’t have anything valuable to say. No one will want to read what I write anyway.
Writing is something I love to do, and no matter what I try to tell myself, I can’t shake the desire God has placed on my heart to write and share. I also know the only way I’m going to get where I want to be is to start where I am. No more excuses. Just start.
So, I was doing it. I was getting a notebook to keep at the ready, eliminating some barriers and making it easier for myself. I went to the drawer and the first notebook I saw was a generic composition book. The first few pages were written on. As I skimmed over them, I came to a page with notes about my son’s funeral – the order of the service, what songs we wanted in the slideshow, music to play in the lobby of the church. Talk about a smack in the face. It isn’t unusual to be hit with waves of grief like this; reminders of our boys are abundant. Photos of them adorn every surface; toys and step stools and crayon boxes emblazoned with their names lie tucked away in every room, like little minefields, ready to take us out when we least expect it.
With the sudden onset of sadness on top of the self-doubt I was already facing, I put the notebook down and walked away. All I really wanted to do was find some chocolate, turn on the TV and zone out. It would get my mind off of the sadness for a few minutes, distract me from my feelings and let me be numb. It is so much easier to give in and give up, but the whole reason I was getting the notebook in the first place was to get these thoughts and feelings out on paper, to allow God to work through me and to hopefully use my struggles to help someone else.
Paul put it this way in Romans 7: “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
This sums up how I feel so often. That inner conflict, the fight I face against the desires of my flesh every single day – multiple times a day. Though our struggles aren’t all the same, we all have inner battles that we fight. The enemy wants us to give in and be lazy and eat junk food and watch mind-numbing TV. He wants us to mindlessly scroll social media to forget about what’s bothering us. He wants us to lash out and be bitter and angry. He wants us to believe the lies and excuses we tell ourselves – that we’re not good enough or strong enough or smart enough.
So instead of spending the hour of free time, I had left succumbing to my emotions by vegging out with mindless reality TV, I opened up my computer. I recognized what was happening, and I made a choice. That day, I wasn’t going to let the enemy win. I wasn’t going to take the easy way; I was going to push through the opposition and do something constructive with these emotions. I was going to shut down that inner critic and believe the Truth instead.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV
What is standing in the way of what God has put on your heart? What lies are you believing about yourself? It is always going to be easier to give in. But I pray we can all be empowered to take that step He’s calling us to take, to do the thing He’s been stirring in our hearts. Because God in us is stronger than any opposition we may face.