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    ChurchInspirationThe Joy Stealer

    The Joy Stealer

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    By Carol Gilham
    I woke up feeling defeated. My circumstances felt out of order and chaotic. I felt inadequate, insecure and well, down. It took me leaning in to Jesus, when I certainly didn’t feel like it, to realize we have a very real enemy. In this world we’re so distracted by our schedules, our jobs, our kids, or our Netflix marathon that we forget there’s a real enemy that wants to kill, steal and destroy. I don’t know about you, ladies, but it always seems to surprise me when things are going great, we’re drawing closer to Him, we’re taking steps of obedience, and then BAM, somehow everything starts to go wrong. You would think I would learn by now that our enemy doesn’t want us walking in humble confidence in God. He doesn’t want us finding joy in our circumstances no matter what they are. He doesn’t want us to find joy in obedience to God’s unique calling on our lives. Things are going great in your marriage, your workplace, your social life and then the whispers and lies seem to enter in to your mind. You look up and problems seem to be all around. Shouldn’t things be getting easier given our new commitment to live out God’s plan for our lives?!

    I heard at a conference last year that God has a unique, God-sized dream for us all, and we have a very real enemy that doesn’t want us to walk it out. The enemy will steal our joy so that we take ourselves out of the game. Have you ever heard the whispers? They start creeping in, causing insecurity, condemnation and resentment. Where did these feelings come from?!

    The joy stealer steps in. Now listen, I’m not the kind of person that thinks every hardship is an attack. I’m pretty practical, so sometimes even recognizing the attack comes way after I’m already feeling well-defeated. But once again, during a time of recommitment to putting Him before all things, I felt the pushback. We had an insanely busy holiday season (like every other adult with kids and jobs) and after our birthdays and such, Lent was a perfect time to reposition our hearts. We had some major goals during Lent, but most importantly it was to focus on Him first again, our marriage and raising our tiny human. I’d been overwhelmed with life and all the demands, so I needed to step back and focus on what mattered. My marriage seemed to be in a major pit, we had a distance between us like the grand canyon (ok, I might be exaggerating that, but at the time it feels epic), resentment and insecurity started creeping into both of our minds. The enemy was using our circumstances to create wedges. He was stealing my joy from taking steps of obedience and filling me with sadness, discontentment, even jealousy for my friends who were flourishing in new careers. Why would I feel this way when I was taking steps to fulfill my own dream? Our enemy doesn’t want us living out of abundance in Him. I truly believe we can get ourselves into these kinds of messes (which I do often), but I also think it’s naive to dismiss actual, spiritual warfare. Every time things are going great, big moves of God are on the horizon, and we’ve actually been praying hard for something—our world starts to crumble (or feels that way).

    Newsflash, battles are hard. Battles are to be fought by warriors. They don’t call it Spiritual Warfare for nothing. Our battle is hard, but the battle is HIS. Now, as women, we don’t have to get up and start making a to-do list of how to win this battle. We need to stop, BE STILL (which I’ve realized is painful for me to do, I don’t even like being in the car without distraction), and get in prayer, prayer allows us to take the fight to God and allows Him to fight for us.

    Did you know that we’re POWERFUL?! Luke 10:9 says, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”  We literally have the power to rebuke demons (Say what?!!) So get on your face, lift it up to God, those fears, that condemnation, those insecurities, those problems, and allow God to get in this fight because He is fighting from victory, not for victory. Rebuke the enemy in Jesus’ name! I’ve literally said it out loud before, he has no place in my home, my marriage, my family, or my mind. Now at times this feels silly. We live in a practical world where angels and demons seem more like a new series on Hulu than a reality, but believe me, there are times you need to speak out of the Holy Spirit within you and rebuke the enemy trying to steal your joy, rebuke the enemy trying to derail your marriage, rebuke the enemy trying to send you into depression. If you believe Scripture to be true, and I do, then saying those words, rebuking his feeble lies, he HAS to FLEE. That’s right, you command demons to flee your life, your mind, your marriage, your home, and they literally have to. I don’t know about y’all but that gives me a freaking She-Ra feeling like never before!

    We’re a little over half-way through Lent now, and many of us are trying to draw closer to Jesus or take next steps of faith in obedience towards that next thing God is calling us to do. Realize there is an enemy that wants you to fail. Just as it’s exhilarating to hear from God and take steps of obedience, don’t forget it’ won’t always be easy. So put on the full armor of God, preach the Gospel to yourself, and remind yourself that in Him you are more than a conqueror. Remind yourself that you fight from victory and not for it. Remind yourself you have a good, good Father who loves you and has an abundant life for you. Don’t settle for the lies. Don’t settle for the mundane. Pick yourself up off the floor and keep praying that prayer you’ve prayed for months and years now. I heard recently that it doesn’t matter the amount of faith you have, but who your faith is in. Our faith isn’t in our own weaknesses, our own inadequacies and short-comings, our faith is in God, the all-powerful King of the Universe. Keep up the good fight ladies, and remember He gives you enough strength and grace every single day, and with that, He also promises REST. 

    I’ll end with this because it came on when I was writing this blog and I can’t help but think the Holy Spirit was using Carrie Underwood and Ludacris’ words to strengthen me in that moment – the Lord works in mysterious ways.

    I am invincible, unbreakable
    Unstoppable, unshakeable
    They knock me down, I get up again
    I am the champion
    You’re gonna know my name
    You can’t hurt me now
    I can’t feel the pain
    I was made for this, yeah, I was born to win
    I am the champion. 

    Because IN HIM, we are enough. In Him, we’re more than conquerors, and He who is in us is greater than he who is in this world. We are champions. We know how this story ends, and we’re on the winning side. I refuse to allow the enemy to derail any of the plans God has called me to or any of the blessings in my life. My prayer is that God uses this to speak life into even just ONE person who’s under attack or one person who’s allowed their circumstances to overtake them. I pray God speaks life into just ONE person that is feeling defeated or depressed, insecure or inadequate. See the attack for what it is and realize we have the power that has already defeated it.

    Article first appeared in Bold City Voice

    About the Author:
    Carol Gilham has a Bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in Business Administration, Marketing, and is a die-hard Auburn Tiger fan. Carol is passionate about inspiring people and brands, and writes a lifestyle blog called “Let’s Get Real, Ladies.” Carol resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, Daniel and daughter, Kennedy.
    https://reallifemommy.org/

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