I was cleaning out my desk drawer at work when I came across a note card dated 10-9-18. I paused. The words written on the card were strong but the manner at which they arrived on that piece of paper were stronger.
I date everything I write because I can’t remember “when” I wrote something but when I read the words I can often remember “where” I was, not physically, but mentally. I can remember the circumstance that inspired the writing.
I remembered that particular morning with clarity.
I was sitting at my study, “my table”, in the living room at home, trying to find reprieve from my nemesis, fear and anxiety. They had roused me awake well before daylight and were, I’m sure joyfully, having their way with me.
I have found it nearly impossible on nights I can’ sleep to fight back while lying in bed. It is best to get up! So, I did, and after sitting at my desk for a while, I did something I had never done before.
I decided to write down a few positive affirmations, and these three phrases followed…
- “I am a child of God”.
- “I am wonderfully created”.
- “I am God’s greatest and most loved creation”.
I stopped there and put brackets around those three phrases and wrote, “Focus on that today”. Comforting words, true words, but it just wasn’t what I needed. Warm and fuzzy wasn’t strong enough that morning.
Then out of nowhere another thought hit me. It was delivered with the gravelly voice and intensity of a riled up old ball coach. One that you know loves you but is about to give you both barrels because you need to step it up a notch…. “Hey cupcake, why don’t you also focus on what God is NOT”!
I so remembered that voice from when I was playing ball, especially in college at South Alabama! The sometimes in your face delivery could have a negative effect on some kids but not me, it just fired me up. Like throwing gasoline on a fire.
Then another slew of phrases appeared on my paper that captured the words so often rattling around in my head today. Insert the voice of your favorite coach here….
- God is NOT fear!
- God is NOT anxiety!
- God is NOT Weakness!
- God is NOT Stress!
- God is NOT depression!
- God is NOT Failure!
- God is NOT low self-esteem!
- God is NOT, “You can’t”!
- God is NOT, “You are inadequate”!
- God is NOT, “You are not capable”!
- God is Not these things…. Satan, the enemy, is the author of these things!
After I finished writing these phrases down, I wanted to turn around and high five somebody, but the room was empty. Nevertheless, the pep talk had been heard and the point had been made…. Fight Back!
Reality is, we are most often told to focus on the positives in life. The warm fuzzy phrases, the ones that make it on to posters and the sides of coffee mugs, the feel-good words.
Reality is also this…. There are battles being waged within us. Real high stakes fights, that affect us, and often the people we love the most around us. These battles are not warm and fuzzy, but aggressive, messy and painful.
Fights that sometimes require you to put the happy phrase coffee mug down and stand your ground, or better yet, go reclaim some ground you may have lost!
It is great to remind yourself daily of what God is, but sometimes you need to square up and swing back with what God is NOT!
Fifty years of living has taught me that whether you asked for it or not, sometimes life just beats you up. It happens, get used to problems and set-backs showing up…. but don’t live in them!
Want a struggle, a bad time, a battle to end? Want to get to “the other side” sooner, then fight back. Or, as a friend of mine often reminds me, “keep punching”.
Embrace the positive things that God is, but don’t allow the enemy to convince you that you are, or are destined to live out, the negative things that… God is NOT!
Get in the boat. (Stay in the boat Smith!) Do your part.
From Nose to Toes.
Shane / #16
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