Tag: satan

What’s Your Super-power?

“If you could have any ‘super-power’ what would it be?”

That was the ice-breaker question posed at a women’s gathering I attended. Peals of laughter could be heard from different small groups around the room as women shared a desire for everything from a “Bewitched” nose twitch to clean their kids’ mess, to a cloaking devise, to the ability to be “beamed up” out of uncomfortable situations.

It’s a fun question to think about, but unfortunately we often seriously compare ourselves to others and think “Oh…I wish I had THAT ‘super-power’!” The gifts and talents others have can seem so “SUPERior” in light of our own that can feel so ordinary.

There are two reasons comparison is so dangerous. When we compare, the result is either pride or despair. Neither are pleasing to God, right? 

As women, I think we’re more prone to the despair end of the spectrum. Satan’s kryptonite seems to be that diabolical little word “as”.

He whispers,

“Not as pretty as…”

Not as good a mom as…”

“Not as popular as…”

“Not as smart as…”

Recently, my small group did a book study, and there is one line from Genesis 3:11 that we have gotten in the habit of repeating to one another when we feel discouraged or “less than”,

This is from Genesis 3: 9-11  when God is talking to Adam:

But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked;so I hid.”

 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?

God knows HE  didn’t tell Adam he was naked.

Is the message you’re hearing really from God? Or is it from someone else? 

After all, God is the One who said you are fearfully and wonderfully made, the One who said He has created good plans in advance for you to do, the One who said He has called you by name, you are His – His chosen, His beloved, the one He sings over…

So today, instead of comparing, let’s remember this…

Two Truths and a Lie

1. My husband went to prom with a murderer.

2. I bungee jumped at Victoria Falls, Zambia

3. I received flying lessons as a wedding gift.

Two of these statements are true and one is not.* Ever play that game?

I think we play an unhealthy version of it in our heads every day.  Often we just rehearse a lie over and over again as IF it were the truth.

What should we do instead of listening to the tape in our head that says “Not good enough. Not valuable. Uninvited. Unforgivable.”?

Paul gives us some advice in 2 Corinthians.

 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Here, “Stronghold”  is like a castle with a mote, but I picture it kind of like a hologram that you can walk through – it isn’t real. The Greek word for stronghold, ochuróma can mean: “a prisoner locked by deception”.  Satan is the father of lies and he may make his castle seem impregnable, but it’s not!

In another place I found this definition:  “A stronghold is an influence by the enemy … The strength of the stronghold depends on how long and how much influence a person has allowed over themselves by listening to what the enemy is saying concerning any given situation in which the stronghold has taken root.”

We see the truth of this emphasized in Proverbs:

Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life. Prov. 4:23 CEV

Craig Groeschel says:**

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So what can we do? Replace lies with Truth and then, practice rehearsing the Truth more than the lies. 

As you speak Truth to yourself, you’ll grow in the strength of God and His thoughts about you – yay!

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What if we rehearse the truth instead of the lie? What the mind repeats it retains, right?

Think of a negative phrase you have said aloud or thought to yourself that stems from a sense of shame rather than your identity in Christ as HIs beloved child.

Turn it upside down and say, in first person, present tense, an affirmation of your God-given value. For example:

I am unlovable. . . . I am infinitely loved.
I don’t have enough. . . . I have everything I need.
I am stupid. . . . I have the mind of Christ.
I am worthless. . . . I am precious in God’s eyes, I am honored, and God loves me.

So mine would be:

I am not good enough. I don’t add value…   I am uniquely gifted by God & He has prepared good works in advance for me.

So say the positive truth aloud like it is true several time. Then rest silently in the awareness that this is you – a unique, gifted, equipped child of God, made in His image.

* Write the most common lie Satan uses to trip you up in the comments and I’ll tell you which one is the lie. 🙂

**This is adapted from Life Church. For more on this, watch “Words to Live By” by Craig Groeschel, or read this synopsis.

How to Respond When “Not Good Enough” is Ringing in Your Ears

I have to be honest with you. I was feeling quite Anne Shirley-ish the beginning of August – “in the depths of despair” as she liked to say dramatically. There was no up to my emotional roller coaster ride, only down. I experienced some cold hard failure and  the crafty Lying Liar was having a hey day with me.

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This isn’t his first carnival. He knows exactly which attractions will trigger all the fear and insecurity in me. He knows how to get me into the “fun house” of distortions, and turn up the volume of the hawkers on the Midway who all seem to shout “Not good enough! Not good enough!”

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And before you know it, I’m owning it. It’s MY refrain that echoes through my days. “Not good enough.”

“NOT good enough!”

“Not GOOD enough!”

“Not good ENOUGH!”

I did all the things I know to do when discouraged.

I tried to focus on serving others instead of myself.

I tried rehearsing everything I’m thankful for.

I prayed.

And then, a little nudge on my shoulder drew me away from the noise of the Midway to a tiny whisper of the Holy Spirit.

At first there was a question.

Could it be that by saying “Not good enough” about yourself, you are actually saying that about God? That God isn’t “good enough”? Did He make a mistake? Are His ways perfect except when it comes to you?

And then this came to mind:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

If God has prepared good works in advance for me to do, He has created me “good enough” to accomplish them.

Yes I’m a cracked pot, broken and imperfect and in need of redemption.

I may not be a 10 talent person, but the 3 talents God has given me or you are good, and the works He has for us to do are good. And He is good.

There are times we may fail and it’s God’s will for us to learn from it, pick ourselves up, and try again. But I think there are other times when, instead of beating ourselves up, we need to say, “Well, that must not be the good work God has for me. He must have something else up His sleeve.”

The Message paraphrases it this way: “He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”

You ARE good enough because God in you is more than good enough.

So let’s find the work He’s prepared for us to do and do it!

“If you know you are the Beloved, you can live  with an enormous amount of success and an enormous amount of failure without losing your identity. Because your identity is that you are the Beloved…The question becomes ‘Can I live a life of faith in the world and trust that it will bear fruit?'” – Henri Nouwen

 

Road Trip – Promises

I’m sorry I didn’t get this posted on Monday. Trying to stay true to my commitment on this experimental “Road Trip” series, but we’ve had a lot going on. Thank you for your grace!

I don’t really think about taking road trips into “enemy territory”.

I don’t like thinking of anyone as an enemy, and a “battle” image is not one I’m usually drawn to. I want to be a lover not a fighter.

But as I was reading Joshua 1-4 about his road trip across the Jordan and eventually into the enemy territory of Jericho, it struck me that we are constantly on a highway where the Enemy is actively trying to thwart our progress and we often forget that.

In John 16: 33 Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble…”

And then there’s the whole lion thing in 1 Peter…

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C. S. Lewis wrote, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…”

I probably fall into the first camp of thinking too little of the schemes of Satan in my everyday world. After all, Satan in “Mayberry”? What?? But, daily the giants of envy, pride, bitterness, impatience, and selfishness lurk on the road. So it’s important that I pay attention to what Scripture says about the spiritual warfare I may be ignoring. Continue reading

What to do With the Catchy Tune, “Not Good Enough”

The other day ended up being one when the refrain “not good enough” drowned out any other tune.  Like a pop song on the radio you can’t get out of your head, the words persisted.

They were magnified through headphones of my experience throughout the day.  They were the  filter through which I heard the well-meaning words of my husband.

I couldn’t fix a problem.  “Not good enough.”

My idea wasn’t taken into account. “Not good enough.”

Someone was chosen over me.  “Not good enough.”

I didn’t win. “Not good enough.”

“Every single thing you’re doing in your life, someone else is doing a better version of it!”

This has never happened to you, right?

Or maybe, just maybe… Continue reading

Three Important Truths about Encouragement

Good Morning!  Hope you had a refreshing weekend soaking up God’s goodness.  This is what greeted me this morning as I started to write.

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Now don’t you wish you lived in Minnesota (or woke up earlier :))? 

Since it’s summer and we have lots of new readers to the blog, (and, let’s be honest…I’m ready for a writing break), I thought I’d share a post from a couple of years ago.  Hope it’s helpful to you. Share your thoughts in the comments!

Last weekend John and I preached together on the topic of Encouragement from the book of Acts.

AARRGGHH!  When we do this he is exceedingly kind and because I’m a planner and he’s a “fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants” guy which freaks me out, he lets me study and write the sermon and then he just naturally does his thing, which is always authentic and conversational and makes everything better.

Anyway, I’ve always thought about encouragement as a good thing, a nice thing…

But as I studied it in the book of Acts I began to see it as a crucial tool that God uses to combat Satan in a spiritual battle that is continually raging.  I fear that sounds all hokey/pokey intense and mystical, but think about it…

Satan’s goal is to get us to believe the lies that

we don’t matter,

that God is powerless,

and that we’re all alone.

When we encourage, we remind others of God’s truth – that they do matter, it’s gonna be ok, and they’re not alone.

You can listen, or get more resources here, but what I’ve been thinking about is three things we didn’t say.

1.  Discouragement is personal. Not only does Satan lie to discourage, but he is also crafty liar.  He tailors his whispers to each of us uniquely.  His attacks usually center around our identity.  So if we’re tempted to find our worth in being married, he’ll whisper “You’re not lovable.  You’re not attractive to anyone.”  If we’re tempted to find our worth in accomplishment he may whisper “You’re only a mom, or a secretary, or a barista, or a whatever…  You’re not making a difference.  You’re not good enough.”

Be aware.

2.  Encouragement is personal. The most powerful encouragement is very specific.  When someone says, “Nice sermon.” I tend to discount it as just polite small talk.  It’s like the difference between “You’re terrific!” and “You have a gift of hospitality that helps people experience the welcoming heart of God.  Thank you.”

Be specific.

3.  Timing is personal.  Never underestimate the power of encouragement used in a timely way by God.  Years ago I “randomly” felt prompted to write a guy in another part of the country who had been a mentor in leadership training for me in college.  I hadn’t had contact with him in 20 years.  I wrote of the impact his modeling had made in my life, specifically how his investment had made a kingdom difference.  Little did I know that this was a divinely timed prompting from the Holy Spirit.

I received a response from him saying “Your note came at the absolute lowest point in my life.  I had lost perspective.  I was in despair, convinced that my ministry hadn’t made any difference, that I had sacrificed for years with no fruit.  Your note was the reminder from God that I needed.”  Wow.  Blew me away!

Be responsive to promptings.

In what situations are you likely to be discouraged?  What has been most encouraging to you?

One More Antidote to Being Daunted and Undone

I’m not sure, but I think maybe the most crushing phrase Satan can whisper in our ears is “You’re the only one.”

You’re the only one who’s ever made a mistake that bad.

The only one who hasn’t had a date in a year (or three).

The only one who didn’t get that job or didn’t get into that school or wasn’t invited…

The only one who hasn’t done something important like marching on Washington or getting published or feeding the hungry in Calcutta.

You’re the only one small enough to feel jealous or sensitive about that stupid thing. Remember?  Like that thing I confessed here on Friday.

But then God gives a gift.  The gift of friends who put their arm around us and whisper “Me too.

They say “It’s really ok.  We’re all messes.  All fixer-uppers.  And I still love you.”

The other day after my post I took a walk on the beach with my dear friend… the sun so bright, the rolling tide so steady – dancing with the sand in a frolicky way, not rough and mean like it can be some days.

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And my friend asked some gentle questions and she listened and poured grace like she was pouring me a tall glass of sparkling icy tea.  Like she always does.  And she shared a little of her own “maybe I’m the only one” stuff.

Though the exact words may not have been spoken, everything about our conversation said “Me too.” and “I still love you.”

It feels like God provides these safe friends for a glimpse of the divine.  They remind us we’re not alone.

And then, like when the surf after a storm has left a lot of junk on the beach, our friends help us sift through the broken bits and find the beauty that’s still there.  The bright pieces of sea glass and the intact sand dollar that has survived the pounding.

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So today I’m thankful for friends who say “Me too.” and “I still love you.” and “There’s still beautiful treasure in the mess.”

Three Things we Left Out

Last weekend John and I preached together on the topic of Encouragement from the book of Acts.

AARRGGHH!  When we do this he is exceedingly kind and because I’m a planner and he’s a “fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants” guy which freaks me out, he lets me study and write the sermon and then he just naturally does his thing, which is always authentic and conversational and makes everything better.

Anyway, I’ve always thought about encouragement as a good thing, a nice thing…

But as I studied it in the book of Acts I began to see it as a crucial tool that God uses to combat Satan in a spiritual battle that is continually raging.  I fear that sounds all hokey/pokey intense and mystical, but think about it…

Satan’s goal is to get us to believe the lies that

we don’t matter,

that God is powerless,

and that we’re all alone.

When we encourage, we remind others of God’s truth – that they do matter, it’s gonna be ok, and they’re not alone.

You can listen, or get more resources here, but what I’ve been thinking about is three things we didn’t say.

1.  Discouragement is personal. Not only does Satan lie to discourage, but he is also crafty liar.  He tailors his whispers to each of us uniquely.  His attacks usually center around our identity.  So if we’re tempted to find our worth in being married, he’ll whisper “You’re not lovable.  You’re not attractive to anyone.”  If we’re tempted to find our worth in accomplishment he may whisper “You’re only a mom, or a secretary, or a barista, or a whatever…  You’re not making a difference.  You’re not good enough.”

Be aware.

2.  Encouragement is personal. The most powerful encouragement is very specific.  When someone says, “Nice sermon.” I tend to discount it as just polite small talk.  It’s like the difference between “You’re terrific!” and “You have a gift of hospitality that helps people experience the welcoming heart of God.  Thank you.”

Be specific.

3.  Timing is personal.  Never underestimate the power of encouragement used in a timely way by God.  Years ago I “randomly” felt prompted to write a guy in another part of the country who had been a mentor in leadership training for me in college.  I hadn’t had contact with him in 20 years.  I wrote of the impact his modeling had made in my life, specifically how his investment had made a kingdom difference.  Little did I know that this was a divinely timed prompting from the Holy Spirit.

I received a response from him saying “Your note came at the absolute lowest point in my life.  I had lost perspective.  I was in despair, convinced that my ministry hadn’t made any difference, that I had sacrificed for years with no fruit.  Your note was the reminder from God that I needed.”  Wow.  Blew me away!

Be responsive to promptings.

In what situations are you likely to be discouraged?  What has been most encouraging to you?

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