I am coming out of a rough season of my life. It was an unexpected yet very lesson-filled season. Things in my life were looking great; I just signed a book deal to get a book published, my husband and I started an outdoor adventure business and I am in the middle of planning an upcoming mission trip for my mission organization. I felt on top of the world and let my guard down and then it was like WHAM, I can best describe it as satan taking a baseball bat and smacking me off my high horse. I truly felt taken out, and the worst part about it was I started to listen to what Satan was saying. I started listening to the lie’s and believing them, I started giving into the temptations he was dangling in front of me. In a matter of weeks, my life was unravelling in front of me and I had no idea how to make it stop.
I finally mustered up enough courage to speak to a couple of people I felt safe with and thought ‘bringing it to the light’ was a good enough answer. Sadly, as much as it was the first step, there were steps afterward that needed to be taken. You see what I was dealing with were symptoms to a bigger problem that I have struggled with for years. Anxiety. I struggled postpartumly after my kids, never realizing that this was something I have struggled with for YEARS before kids and had been trying to deal with it in so many different ways. What I have come to learn is that my way of dealing with my anxiety is masking it with things that have become an addiction. When I was younger I got really into partying and that helped me block the feelings my anxiety was giving me. As I got older, I was dropping one habit for another one. Eating became a way to soothe myself when my anxiety felt out of control. What I learned in this last experience was that when my world was feeling out of control, I was searching for way to make myself feel better in that moment, but never connecting my anxiety to these problems or ever getting to the root of it.
As crazy as the whole thing seemed, God had orchestrated ways for me to work through it without even looking too hard. A good friend of mine got me connected with an amazing christian councillor and I also started seeing a mental health councillor in town to help me start breaking down where this all began, and how to start managing it and stop letting it manage me.
As I started to come out of this really rough season, I began to realize that it needed to happen. All these
great things are in the works to happen in my life where I can glorify
God but I cannot bring all this baggage with me. I had to be put through a refining fire, that yes hurt and hurt to realize how long I have been carrying it all, but it HAD to be chiseled away in order to go into the next steps of my life.
As I started all this work, my relationship with God started to become stronger than my problems which had become a huge barrier within that relationship. I started taking care of myself more and more and a couple of months ago, I went for my first run. It was more symbolic than actually athletic. Running helps me think and it was symbolic in the sense of how Satan tries to derail us in our walk with Christ.
When I decided to run, it was sunny and encouraging to be outdoors. The second I made the decision to run, it started to gloom over and snow. It looked miserable and I almost decided not to go, but pushed on anyways. It reminded me of how when I realized I was not doing well, I wanted to reach out and start moving towards getting out of this darkness I found myself in. But Satan didn’t like that and made sure those first days and weeks of trying to get out of his strongholds were so difficult and miserable that it would seem easier to just stay; it was like the snow that almost made me not go for the run.
My first run was a tough run, since it was my first of the year, and I have been treated my body terrible all winter. After a while, the sun came back out and it totally changed my mentality and gave me the last little push I needed to finish the run. It really reminded me of life. When we are trying to do something good, walking in obedience and on God’s path, and how Satan tries everything in his power to make us change our mind or give up but as we continue with our focus on Jesus, the enemy starts to lose his grip and eventually gives up and Jesus’s light shines brighter than ever.
I took my dog which always adds a fun element but since he hadn’t been running for a year with me, he was very distracted and he kept trying to run ahead of me too fast, or pull me into some dangerous place like the road. The thing that I had control over was the leash; even if he was trying to go somewhere I could stop him because I grabbed ahold of the leash. It reminded me so much of something a friend tells me a lot: ‘Satan is on a leash.’ No matter how much the enemy tries to tempt us, lie to us and persuade us to sin, he can only go so far. He is only allowed, by God, to do so much and then he is reigned in. The only time it becomes dangerous is when we choose to listen to him and worse believe him. I heard something the other day that as Christians we equate temptation with actual sinning. We are all tempted, but we act like because we are tempted that we have already sinned. That the thoughts we have when tempted make us bad people and scare us because they are such bad thoughts. Even Jesus was tempted…but he did not sin. So when you are tempted by something bad, that is the enemy in your head, you have not sinned until you believe it, act upon it and give it life.
So this post is a bit of a confession but more of an explanation that no matter where we are in life; we all fall and we all give into Satan’s tricks but that God’s grace, forgiveness and love is so much bigger than anything satan can do. I know it is easy to compare ourselves to others and feel like we are the only ones who struggle, but that’s just not true. I encourage anyone who is in a difficult season, to dig deep and find the courage you need to take one baby step towards the light but to remember that you likely won’t ‘feel’ like taking it. It takes endurance, courage and strength to walk your way out of the darkness but the amazing thing is that God has equipped you with all those resources and is also there right beside you.