Jul 2, 2014

I stood motionless in the corner of my room, my dishoveled bed evidence of my defeat.  I can count on my hand the number of times in my life that I didn't make my bed first thing in the morning.  I don't know why I am like that . . . . I don't remember my mom forcing me to do that growing up, but I can assure you that if my bed is not made, something is wrong with me.  Like today, for example.

Signs of a battle: blue bottle of peppermint spray, broom, messed up frame and unmade bed

My barely opened squinty eyes taking in their first glimpse of light, only to spy that out of focused 6 -8 legged black blob on the ceiling above my bed.  Focus, Rachel, focus.  It was then that I flew out of bed (not normal for me) in search of my peppermint spray, my little blue bottle of sweet swelling, natural, spider repelling, peppermint oil spray. I had just doused my room (windows, door frames, etc.) with the strongly refreshing spray of peppermint oil the night before AND I had reported to the friend who sent me this wonderful oil that I had not seen a spider in over 2 weeks - at last, my 8 legged nemesis had gotten the message:
You are not welcome here! AND if you dare show up I will not hesitate to bathe your spidery big body in peppermint oil!!!!!

But . . . . . . .

In my nightgown and barely awake, I was keenly alive with the desire to usher my unwanted guest out of my room.  With my blue bottle of peppermint oil and the broom by my side, I watched and waited.  You see, this arachnid was camped out over my bed, and my 5 year old was asleep on my floor.  I fired a few warning shots of peppermint spray and my nemesis retreated to that place where the ceiling meets the wall, and then he descended.

"AHAAAAAAA!" my war cry pierced the tranquil morning air and I launched into an AK47 fire spray of peppermint oil, and my victim fell to my husbands night stand.

"I've GOT you NOW SUCKER!" I shouted  . . . . in my head or was it out loud?  Who can say for sure with the adrenalin of war pulsing through my body which had catapulted out of bed just moments before.

Cornered behind a picture frame, I was assured certain victory, and with wild abandon I liquified Jon's bedside table.  BUT THEN, the unthinkable . . . was this super spider immune to my weapon?  In all of his 8 legged glory, like a stunt man emerging from a blazing fire, he crawled onto my bed and walked first across Jon's pillow "OH NO YOU DON'T"  I shouted!!!!  But OH YES HE DID. . . .

He disappeared beneath my pillow, me staring in belief with my mouth wide open and the pepperminty smell of defeat filling the air.

My 8 year old, hearing my cries from the other room, inquired had I won the battle? Did I GET HIM?   Head hung in repulsive shame, I muttered, "No, sister, he won that round."

"I have bad news and good news, " I told Jon.  "The good news is that your pillow smells like fresh peppermint.  The bad news is the spider got away, and we both know what that means (initiate ocd seek and destroy sequence here.)"

So here I sit with my unmade bed as a reminder of my defeat.  It hurts.
And of course, I am plagued by the what ifs . . .
What if he is inside my pillow?
What if he is just in that tiny safe place between the wall and the mattress?
What if he has a host of babies under my bed and at night they come out for revenge?
What? WHAt?WHAT? IF? IF? IF?

Have YOU ever been plagued by what ifs????  Have you ever stared defeated at an aspect of your life that you thought for sure you had conquered?  There is an enemy (father of lies, author of deception and doubt) out there who likes to take advantage of these moments - if we leave the door open for that.  But doubts, lies and deception can't come in without our permission.  So the absolute best remedy for this - far superior to peppermint oil - is the truth, found in the word of God.  Here are 5 life giving truths from scripture that have helped me revolutionize the way I live - especially when I am reminded of my brokeness, have stumbled or wallowed in defeat briefly, or have felt rejected or abandoned.

1.  Know your God.
God has chosen you.  When, not if, bad things happen, He is with you.  He tells us not to be afraid because He has provided a new life in Christ through redemption!
Isaiah 43:1 - 2
But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.

There is so much more to know about God than these couple of things, but this is a great place to start.  I highly recommended diving into your bible and mining all of the truth about who He is.  You won't be disappointed, and you need this information for the rest of the steps!
  2.  Know the enemy.
The image of the devil, ugly and thorny and firey, is not a true picture of how he captures us or operates.  Back at the begining of time he was beautiful, more beautiful than any other, and it was his pride that made him want to be superior to God.  His tactics have not changed.  When he tries to entice us, it is usually with a thread of beautiful appeal, a promise to good to be true, and a sliver of doubt disguised as an honest question. Described in Genesis 3 as "more crafty than any other," he is excellent at planting seeds of doubt and offering false promises.  If I don't take time to study his tactics, I will likely not notice his counterfeits.  They are not red with horns, they are beautiful with charms. (I highly recommend the Kay Arthur study book/dvd series Lord, is it Warfare to help study about this. )

Satan was thrown down to earth with his angels.  He has dominion over the earth - no wonder things are so wonky down here!?

Revelation 12:9
"The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."  

The first time the name Satan is used in the bible is in Job 1: 1-22.
Satan had to have God's permission to mess with Job, and he could only operate within the bounds that God set for him.  Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself!

Satan is a master at mishandling scripture, so if you don't know it well yourself, it's likely to sound right. Satan is a master at disinformation, and according to Kay Arthur "effective disinformation is in the target audience's strong predisposition to believe something."  Interesting. Think about that.

3.  Armor up. Stand FIRM.
I have a dear friend who has memorized putting on the armor of God from head to toe, but I like to think about how I get dressed and follow the order of the scripture:
underwear = gird loins w/ truth
bra = breatplate of righteousness,
shoes = shod your feet w/ gospel of peace
accessories = shield of faith and  helmet of salvation
Wallah.  All armored up for the day.  Without this armor, we are ill equipped and will likely fall captive to the crafty schemes of our enemy. Standing firm means maintaining my position, which is hard to do when  I am afraid or doubtful, unless I refer back to #1.  Notice in verse 12 who our struggle is against! (And yes, I'm totally thinking of that old Saturday Night Live skit!)

Ephesians 6:10 -17
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in )the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and havingput on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the (shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and thesword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

4.  Take thoughts captive.
This has always been a struggle of mine, capturing the thoughts that don't belong.  The biggest part of this battle is knowing the truth, so that when a thought walks in that is not true, I can recognize it and call it out.  So, I highly recommend picking a few scriptures at a time and memorizing them so that the truth is digested into your system - this will help when an unwelcomed thought waltzes into the mind.

2 Corinthians 10:5 
"We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"
This means that if a thought enters my mind that is contrary to the truth of who God is, that I capture it and usher it out of my mind, making it obedient to Christ.  

5.  Claim the victory that has already been won in Christ Jesus!
Revelation 17:14
"These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

Sweetness!

So, right now, I am going to walk into my room and claim victory!  I will make my bed and not spend a second more contemplating the what if's.  Silly spider, victory is mine!
Oh the irony that I would have a question mark pillow on my bed!