My Current Enemy

I recently attended a retreat where the speaker encouraged us to renew our dedication to hiding the Bible in our hearts. She provided a useful framework for coming up with a faithful interpretation of passages we may be reading, and sent us off to apply it.

Feeling a bit scatter-brained and unwilling to apply my attention to one particular passage as directed, I flipped around until I found a line that stuck out to me.

"I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way...." Psalm 142.  
This is where I have been living lately--with a faint spirit. I need some mercy. I'm getting encouraged....What's next?

"...In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me..."
Oh.

I enjoy reading the psalms. I've always heard teachers praise them for being full of the entire gamut of human emotion, for showing us that it's "okay" to express our feelings to God, that believers have long struggled with many things. One thing I have never quite gotten, however, is what I am to do with the many references to the speaker's enemies--his real, in-the-flesh adversaries, such as King Saul toward David. Many today have such enemies still.

Me personally? Not as many. I'm blessed to not be able to think of any individual personal enemy. Antagonists, sure; enemies? No. Consequently, I tend to check out when reading these parts of the Psalms. What am I supposed to do with it?

But as I was considering all this that afternoon, it occurred to me that my biggest enemy at the moment are the many voices in my own head. Voices that aren't telling me the truth, sowing discontent, or eroding my confidence in what God is asking me to do and be today. They say:

  • See? You fail again. Of course.
  • You're doing a disservice to your kids with your educational choices. If you made different choices, things would be better. They would be better. You would be better. 
  • You're wasting your life. You should be accomplishing something that people care about. 
  • How ashamed the college alumni office would be if they knew what you weren't doing. You're a disappointment to feminists everywhere. {To which I say, 'What?! Where did this even come from?}
  • You are exhausting yourself for nothing. 
  • You've been on the wrong path for a long time.
  • It's not worth it. 
These voices are my enemy these days. When I started reading through and praying through that psalm with this in mind, it suddenly seemed a lot more real and helpful to me. These accusations and condemnations "pursue me" and are "too strong for me" (142:6).

Psalm 143 encouraged me in this way too:
"Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground." (143:9-10)
Isn't that what I need in this season? Not to be constantly rolling up and down on the roller coaster of life? I don't know the answers to some of these questions that come to mind often. It's hard sometimes to discern what is a legitimate question to consider or a change I might profitably make from an unhelpful doubt or a nagging discontent that can't be solved except through God working in my heart. However, I know that I'm not to be living in fear and confusion constantly--it's not helpful or productive. Let me walk faithfully in the light that I have. Let me take one step at a time and wait on the Lord to direct our paths on His schedule.

When I'm bombarded and overwhelmed by these my many enemies, let me pray like Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:12:
"...For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." 
Furthermore, let me hear the response that the Holy Spirit sent to Jehoshaphat in that situation:
"'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's'." (2 Chronicles 20:15)

2 comments

  1. Very refreshing to read and relate. Thank you, Katie! I always have, and always will look up to you. ❤

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