Stay Alert

This past weekend I was preparing for Scarlett’s first birthday party.  Saturday morning was the day I would take on cleaning the house from top to bottom.  I got up, did my Bible time, and got straight to work.  I decided to throw in my ear buds and listen to one of my favorite Christian women leaders, Jennie Allen.  It was her preaching about “getting out of your head” from her new book.

As I was vacuuming, I wanted to shout “amen” so many times to what she was saying.  Everything she spoke hit me! It was all about our minds! This negative, victim mindset we carry with us through our days is not serving us, our home, our community, or the world. But I already knew all this, it was not new. But it was like I was hearing it with fresh ears and a stirring was happening in my soul. I was on the verge of tears.

Suddenly the vacuum STOPS.  It’s clogged. “What.in.the.world!? I have so much to do! I don’t have time for this!” I walk down the steps so frustrated and of course my husband and boys were just having a good old time, playing around and I am thinking every “victim” type thought you could think of.

Finally, I get the vacuum unclogged. I tell myself to think positive thoughts. I tell myself how good my husband is and how hard he works and that he should enjoy this downtime. Then I get back to work.  Ear buds in. Push play. Go time.

I finish the upstairs and decide to get on the Walgreen’s app so I can print out Scarlett’s monthly pictures for her birthday frame even though I was just getting started with the cleaning.  But now that Scarlett was down for a nap, I had hoped to do this quickly, finish some laundry, and finish the bathrooms before she wakes up. I open the app, go through a full year of pictures on my phone as quick as I could to find each month’s picture.  I add each one and select my store. Hit enter and the app shuts down. “WHAT THE HECK!?”  I try to keep cool and start all over again, praying the baby stays asleep a little longer than normal.  Grab each months pic, add location, enter.  Shuts down AGAIN!!!!

I let out a “are you friggin’ kidding me!?” My husband asks, “what’s wrong?”  I begin rant, he says “sorry.” I say nothing.  He repeats, “I said sorry.”  With all my frustration I respond, “what do you want me to say? It’s ok? It’s not!”  Insert argument.

The next 4 hours I spent going down a rabbit hole of negative thought after negative thought as I cleaned.  I was frustrated, angry and it seemed like my mind had me in a place that made cleaning take triple the time it usually does because I just couldn’t stay focused.

Has this ever happened to you?

Around 3 o’clock I finally stopped being stubborn and started praying. “God, what is going on?”  Softly and gently He spoke into my heart.  I picked up the phone and texted my husband who was out doing errands for the party and told him how sorry I was.

That morning the Lord was really moving me in an area and the devil saw it. Then he saw a moment of weakness and frustration and he jumped in to devour. He saw it and attacked. He took that opportunity and wanted me to see my husband as the evil one and myself as the victim.  This could start the war the devil was hoping for in our marriage.  1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

But thanks be to God.  I know my true enemy.  It might take me a few hours to remember but I will always remember.

How could I have done things differently?

That day for a few hours, I forgot to pick up the armor of God when Satan attacked.  As soon as that negative self-talk and frustrating grumbling began I should have been alert and recognized exactly what was happening.

Ephesians 6:13-18 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the LORD’s people.”

We aren’t always going to get it right. But what we can do is work toward it.  And when we realize what is happening, we can thank God for his grace, ask Him and those we hurt for forgiveness and suddenly we will find ourselves settled back into the peace and love of God.  We just must stay alert.

 

Lord,

We know in these days we aren’t fighting against flesh and blood but against the evil of the world.  Help us be alert and ready with your armor of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, your word and prayer!  We know this is the armor we need to fight the battles in this world.  Our enemies are not our husbands, our children, our neighbors or our friends. Our enemy, the devil, prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour. Help us remember that he is our true enemy and that you have already won victory over him and so can we! Help us discern your voice over his. When we stumble, help us quickly to our feet so that we can shine like the stars for your glory. We ask you this in your precious and most holy name. Amen.

Here is the awesome book I was listening to. Click book cover to purchase.

 

 

“Wherever You Go, So Are You”

I heard this quote once and it floored me.  It was one of those quotes that I had to think about at first and then when I got it after a few seconds, it impacted me- HARD.  Probably because it was exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time.

You see, I was set in a victim mindset after a particularly bad relationship and I carried that mindset with me for years. I took it from relationship to relationship like a hundred pound luggage!  Anything anyone said or did that was a tad sarcastic or meant to be a joke, I couldn’t take it.  I defended my worth to the death.  But what was actually going on was me disguising my truth and pain with a hard exterior that was “confident.” Deep down I wasn’t sure of my worth after heavy wounds from that relationship were handed to me, so defending it was the only thing I felt I had to hold on to.

In my defensiveness, I tried to make myself believe that was just me proving my confidence!  I tried to make others believe it too.  While some may have, I know what it really did…

It didn’t allow me to be vulnerable.  It didn’t allow me to get close to anyone truly at the heart of it.  I didn’t trust anyone and at the end of the day, I didn’t let love in nor did I love anyone back.  I protected myself and blamed everyone else for everything.

Year after year thinking it was everyone else, I heard this quote. “Wherever You Go, So Are You.”  Why was I continuously unhappy in my relationships? Because “I” WAS IN THEM!

They say relationships are like mirrors looking back at you.  They are your best teacher because you have to face the hard truth of who you REALLY are.  It’s easy to be single and do life the way you want it. Sure it might get lonely but you don’t have someone telling you when you are being a jerk.  You don’t have someone complaining when you start to spend too much time on social media or when you’re being just plain selfish.  And in my past relationships, I just couldn’t handle that.  I couldn’t handle someone telling me I wasn’t enough because I was in so much pain already!

But then finding out about the grace of God, knowing that I’m not perfect and that “that’s ok”, knowing that I was more than enough, so much so that Jesus tortured himself for my life, was when I was set FREE!

KNOWING that made my responses change.  BELIEVING that made ME change!

Trust me, I still have my defensive moments. Just ask my husband. But I can eventually get to a place to recognize where I failed.  I can eventually say I’m sorry. Then I can take that lesson and CHANGE to be more like Christ.

I don’t know where you are with your relationships. Whether friendships, marriages, courtships and even relationships with your family members, but either way I hope this quote sticks with you like it did for me.  I pray that the next time you start to feel that ping of unhappiness or defensiveness you can look at yourself in the mirror or try to put yourself in the other persons shoes.  We are all a work in progress. It’s a daily struggle for all of us to be the best versions of ourselves. But every day is another chance to get better, to say I’m sorry or to forgive.

I hope you take that step today.

Let me know if there’s any relationship that I can pray for below in the comments!

As Always. Fabulously Flawed,

Jill Rohrbaugh