The Battle Between My Ears
I started a new routine during quarantine. Typically these types of things come with the New Year and making resolutions, but for me, I didn't kick it off until 3-4 months into 2020. I started jogging. Now, I know the term "jogging" denotes a slow run, and doesn't sound as nice as "going out for a run", but for me, it's totally jogging, or even a fast-paced walk at some times (especially when I'm coming back up the hill that leads home).
I've never been a runner. I've never enjoyed trying to work myself up to running a mile without stopping for a break to walk and catch my breath. But, this year, something is different. I've gotten to the point where I can jog for 2.5 miles without stopping OR dying (I'm sure that the cars passing me may thing I look like I'm about ready to pass out, but that's okay). And you know what helps me as I tick off those miles several times a week? Putting in some earbuds and listening to a good podcast. I can't listen to music, because the beat of the music, if off from my pace, just screws everything up. But I've found that if I can find a good podcast, it distracts me from what I'm forcing my legs/lungs to do, AND it's been so good for my heart & soul to soak up the truths that are coming from these different people I'm listening to.
I've found lots of favorites podcasts that I alternate between, but one of the most recent podcasts I've been soaking up is from Passion City Church's pastor, Louie Giglio on "Winning the Battle of the Mind" (find it here).
Friends, as I look around me, or scroll for even a few seconds on social media, I can't help but see the incredible battle that Satan is waging in our world and in our hearts. I believe that he knows his time is short and he is swinging as hard as he can. He doesn't play fair. And he doesn't care who he destroys in the process.
We have been isolated for months, thinking that we are safer by staying at home alone. But instead of protecting ourselves from a virus, we've actually made ourselves so much more vulnerable to his attacks.
Think of a flock of sheep, for example. If several wolves approach the flock, looking for a quick meal, do you think they are going to surround the sheep and try and get them into a tight group? No, they are going to try and separate one sheep from the rest of the flock, as it becomes a much easier target when it is isolated. I believe Satan's tactics are very similar. Isolate her . . . get him by himself . . . and then they become easy prey.
This happened to me several months ago. Church services were still online, and we were in the midst of quarantine (or maybe in the early stages of starting to reopen.) One day I found myself in such a deep pit, emotionally, mentally, & spiritually. I don't know that it was depression, but life just felt incredibly heavy. And the easy thing for me to do would've been to just try and battle alone. I didn't want to bother others. But something inside me said, "text some friends and ask them to pray for you". And as soon as the thought hit, my heart agreed. I NEEDED the help of others to battle through this with me. So I did. I texted 4 of my girlfriends and just shared briefly what I was going through, asking them to pray for me. It was absolutely amazing what happened when I had others come alongside me, instead of staying isolated and battling alone. Not only did they lift me up in prayer, but they checked in to see how things were going days and weeks later. Talk about encouraging, and seeing how that was so much more effective than trying to do it on my own.
But that's just how Satan works. When he can get us alone, it's pretty easy for him to plant these seeds in our minds. And instead of questioning them or comparing them to the truth of Scripture, we water them, and even add a little bit of fertilizer and these lies are growing and taking up permanent residence there. I discovered a lie recently that I've been believing since I was a young girl. And it's messed with me for years! Instead of him just pitching a tent for a few days, I had allowed him to build a whole campground in the yard of my mind.
I just got a book in the mail yesterday by one of my favorite Christian authors, Jennie Allen, called "Get Out of Your Head." Guys, I've only read the first few chapters, but I feel like I need to underline almost every sentence. This is just one of the thoughts that resonated with me . . .
Sound familiar? Guys, our thoughts matter. What we allow to swirl around between our ears all day (& as we are drifting off to sleep each night) makes a difference. "The average parson has more than thirty thousand thoughts per day. Of those, so many are negative that 'according to researchers, the vast majority of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of a toxic thought life.'" (Jennie Allen)
Feeling overwhelmed, shut down, and incapable of dealing with everything going on around you? I know I am! Pay attention to the thoughts that are going on in your head, and then compare them to what God says about you. If they don't measure up to Scripture, toss them out and don't let them have another minute of camping out in your head.
And then, ask some friends to pray for you. (Or message me, I'd love to add you to my prayer list!) It makes such a difference when we choose community over isolation. We were never meant to walk through this life alone (and it's never been more obvious than at times like these, when quarantine/aloneness has been forced on us). Friends, we need each other. God has wired us that way. And Satan trembles at the thought of us waking up to realize that we are so much stronger together ❤️