I cried for two hours last night. And I was holding back tears for the three leading up to it.
I had a great day—the best day, really! I got to hang out with one of my best friends, get ahead on my homework, and go for a 2 mile run. I felt like a boss.
To continue my awesome-streak, I decided to head over to Local Coffee to hang out with my roommate. But they were closing soon, so I would have to book it.
I scrambled through a shower, half-brushed my hair, slung my bag over my shoulder, stuffed my feet into a pair of shoes, and ran out the door all while still enjoying my heavy metal playlist, GET PUMPED.
On the way, my foot got a little… shall we say “leaded.”
The pickup to my right caught up to my speed, sandwiching me uncomfortably between itself and the left-hand curb. As the road inclined, I swerved around the curb, flying 10 mph over the speed limit. The truck leaned into the turn. I did the same.
A little too well.
Slamming into the median, I heard something explode! My car swung up into the air and I tightened my fingers around the wheel until my knuckles were white. A shrill scream echoed over the blaring bass guitar.
Fighting to take back control, I did my best to assess the situation even as my car zoomed uphill at 40 mph.
Why did my car sound like that…?
I pulled into the first neighborhood entrance I passed, kept my hazard lights on, and circled the exterior. The two left tires had both burst open. Completely open.
The whole ordeal—calling a friend for help, calling a tow, waiting on the tow, towing the car, and getting home—absorbed my entire evening. After three long hours of silent self-abuse, I apologized to my roommate and went to bed.
There I proceeded to cry until I fell asleep.
Listen. I just had car trouble two weeks ago. I’m running low on funds. And I’m finally on the upswing from a scarily strong bout of depression. I already need God’s help to just get me through the day… how can I bear to have one more thing go wrong?
Why can’t life be easier?
How to Live in Enemy Territory
I hate to break it to you, but we’re not called to lead easy lives.
You and I are living in enemy territory. God has called us to serve on the front lines. We’re the paratroopers who’ve landed within enemy borders and there is no safe place for us.
Do you really think you’d be able to relax if, at any moment, you might step on a landmine?
Life’s not easy. It’s a hard fact to wrap your mind around, but I hope you do, because then you can fully understand the weight of this next statement:
God never asked us to fight by ourselves.
He gives us the strength we need to fight, to deal with crap, to get through it. But even more than that, he gives us joy through the pain. He doesn’t leave us to walk around depressed and beaten down. (Fight those thoughts. They’re landmines.)
However, while God loves to help us (what good dad doesn’t?), he’s still going to ask you to take on part of the responsibility.
I have to go down to the tire shop. I have to pay for two new tires.
But God has my back. He’ll make sure I don’t go broke. And he’ll bring me His peace and joy during the midst of this turmoil. The only question is… will you let him?
Some Practical Steps
Allow me this one “do as I say, not as I do moment,” okay? Because this is serious.
The enemy is after you. And you have to be vigilant and deliberate if you’re going to successfully ward off his attacks. Don’t get bogged down by the crap of life. Trust me, that sucks.
But that’s a pretty nebulous statement, “don’t get bogged down.” Personally, that’s my least favorite kind of advice. Why? It’s not useful. It’s not actionable. It’s not something I can check off a checklist and say, “yes, I’ve done this.”
While life doesn’t fit into boxes (and was never designed to), fortunately there are a few practical, actionable steps you can take to make sure you don’t allow the circumstances of your life to play into the enemy’s hands.
I’ve used every one of these. And I can tell you from experience, they work:
- Talk to someone—preferably a mentor, but it’s nice to talk things over with friends too. Just make sure you’re not fighting alone.
- Pray and be prayed for. It’s the strongest weapon you have.
- Rebuke the enemy with your mouth. He likes to influence you, but he can’t stand against the name of Jesus. Rebuke him and move on with your life.
- Read your Bible. Where there is truth, a lie can not stand.
- Worship. Thank God for the wonderful good things in life. Hang out with Him. Say something! Or don’t. Be silent, still, pensive, whatever. Just chill with Him. And allow Him to speak to you.
- Participate in activities. Whether it’s going for a run, or baking brownies, get out of your house and out of your own head. Don’t run from your problems, but don’t allow yourself to become stagnant.
- Just be. Once you’ve sorted things out (even if you still don’t fully understand your situation or don’t have any good solutions), allow yourself to move on. Don’t dwell, but move forward with your life as normal. Walk with the grace and confidence of a Child of the King.
The point of these practical suggestions is not to fix your problems. It’s to fix your perspective. The truth is, if you’re a child of the One True King, the enemy can’t do a thing to you.
But he can pollute your thinking and make things seem worse than they are. So get your eyes off yourself, and remember what’s really important.
It’s not the car. It’s not the finances. It’s not your emotional state. It’s Jesus.
As long as you can keep your eyes in the right place, falling forward into Him instead of away, the crap of life can only make your relationship with Him that much stronger.