When bound by something very strong, something that has held you for a long time, freeing yourself is only part of the problem, it is what comes next that is difficult.
I have identified that I am often held captive by three very persistent strongholds.
I am learning that according to the great and glorious gifting that God has blessed each of us with, there is always a counter force of that blessing, a curse if you will. And the Devil lays traps accordingly. He doesn’t just lay a random trap hoping to catch something in it, he is a hunter and he knows us, our weakness and our strength. He knows what bait to put out, but when he fell he took a legion of demons with him. The devil is like a lion according to the bible where it says to watch out for him… A lion Villon that I was always very curious about is Scar from the lion king. Notice that he plays the part of a friend, he has plans to dethrone the prince but then when it comes to taking the prince out he knows that he can’t really kill him himself so he uses manipulation, lies and then uses his henchmen the hyenas.
For a while I have known two of my hyenas very well and after a while of them persistently showing up, you just kind of get used to them, but this morning I realized that my entire mindset has become one of defeat because if every two seconds you are distracted by something you start to wear down. I also discovered there is a hyena that has been lurking in the dark unnoticed and waiting for an opportunity for my weakness to finally get me tired enough that I become too injured and weak to fight back.
A couple things that I might mention is that we have everything we need in our relationship with Christ to be strong, to be brave, bold, fierce and to keep ourselves nourished by the streams of living water. He has given us our daily bread and our living water, but if we get lazy and think we do not need it we may be setting up the perfect ambush for those hyenas.
I will share with you three of my hyenas but encourage you to pray and ask God what your enemies look like. An easy place to start is with the ones you can see. Look for areas where you feel defeated the most often.
My first two are sisters:
The first hyena is so obese. She is hungry all the time, selfish, greedy, and just completely self indulgent. She is the craving that cannot be satisfied, she is hunger. She is one half of my struggle with food addiction. She is addiction. Sometimes I try to run away but just like Edmund in “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.” I find myself craving that Turkish Delight. I sell myself out and if I’m being honest my husband and my children will pay for my indulgence as much as I do because if I keep on ignoring that she is slowly killing me, eventually she might. She lies to me by flattery and coercion, by setting up a series of half- truths that I am just fine the way I am and that I should reward myself with food. She tells me what I deserve, she tells me what I need to hear to tickle my ear with her split tongue. Before I know it I am primed and ready for her sister to come and do her work on me.
Her Sister is the second half of my struggle cycle. She is skinny and you can see every bone every rib stuck to her skin, emaciated, she is the obvious opposite to her sister in that she is deprivation and self- punishment, she is starvation and shame, she is also good with half -truths but her lies prey on my faults rather than on my pride. She waits until I am sick with disappointment and then she attacks with her plans of stripping me of health by punishing me with few calories and painful exercise. When overworking me doesn’t work because I am too weak to go on, she temps me with short cuts, pills and plans. She also makes a deal with her sister for partial custody. I can spend the morning with her but the evening belongs to indulgence.
My demons wait for me to go crazy from the battle, a battle that could be avoided entirely if I could only rest and live in the protection my king has offered me. You see sticking with the Lion King analogy, the hyena doesn’t live in the pride lands, they are scavengers that trespass but live on the outskirts waiting for weakness to come to them. They are waiting for the prince to be alone. The enemy lives in darkness and Simba went where his King had said was off limits. In real life, predatory animals look for either a weak animal or one that is isolated, keep this in mind when you hear the lies of the enemy pulling you away from the pack.
But let me tell you of a third enemy that waits for the first two to tear me apart or for me to get away long enough for it to have me all to itself.
The enemy sets up a series of traps for me and just as I think I am getting free from one trap I find myself in perfect condition for the bait of another. I am weak from the struggle, I am hungry, I am feeling many things but one of those things that primes me for my next trap is that I am tired of serving those two masters of suffering. So I seek freedom and end up making a deal with pride. It’s the voice that says I can do it, I can beat it, I am a goddess and I will rise up. Problem is… I can’t do any of those things in my state and I can’t do it on my own.
I try to be my own master but as soon as I grow tired of carrying the world on my shoulders I tell myself that I was better off with gluttony, at least drowning my sorrows tasted good. And the cycle begins again.
We will always need a master, the question is “who is it?” The word then becomes… Surrendered. Who are we surrendered to. Christ gives us several verses, to the woman at the well He tells her that she can have water that will quench her thirst forever. To the disciples he says He is the bread of life. To the followers of the law He says I am the rest you are looking for. He promises His yoke is light and He promises He is a shelter, a strong tower, a rock… What are we doing? Why can’t we see that our problems are really just a misplaced moment of surrender, we can be surrendered to Christ, Slaves of Christ (the one who died for us, or slaves to masters that kill us with every cruel moment of our surrender to them! We can have a perfect master who loves and takes care of us and that is an amazing thing, Lordship begins the moment we surrender our ways to His, so when we find ourselves in the dark we must reach out to God and ask him to bring us into the light.
By the way the hyenas will come and they remember how weak we once were but they will be devoured by our king because we serve in His pride, we are a part of His flock!!!! Isn’t that amazing news?
So today when I struggle to find my way, I realize it isn’t my way I need at all… It is His way! Lead me oh Lord onto the paths of righteousness for your glory and your names sake. So when people ask me, “how did you do it?” I will say the question is: “How does God do it? How does He love us so much that He sets our feet on solid ground?”