Defense Becomes the Offense

A little over three weeks ago, I twisted my ankle pretty severely moving.  The timing was horrible. I was moving from a third floor apartment and I had finally gotten into a consistent workout routine.  I had also just completed my fastest 2 mile run and was really excited about continuing my running plan that should have had me running a half marathon by November.

About two weeks later, I was able to do the workouts, but had lost stamina.  Walking for more than a mile however was about all I could do. Jogging was also very ineffective.  All I could do was shuffle and then would have to stop.

Today, I decided to try again.  It was a perfect evening to take a stab at it.  The rain had subsided along with the heat and humidity.  The storm clouds were slowly peeling back to expose a radiant evening sky.  The sun was highlighting the clouds and coloring the sky while the empty wet trail below was beckoning the critters out of hiding.

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There were several bigger snails traversing slowly on the concrete path.  A little cotton tail had center stage until the sight of me gave him stage fright which left him scampering off to hide in the brush.  A snake, that was more afraid of me, obviously slithered into the tall grass off to the side until it successfully was hidden from me.  And last were my crawfish encounters.

The first crawfish I saw was crawling directly towards me.   Upon the approach, I stopped to take pictures of him. He wasn’t too thrilled, but he just kept moving along

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On the way back, I thought I was running up behind him.  However, this one was different.  He had one claw…not two. This one was really intriguing, so again I stopped and pulled out my phone and planted it directly in front of him.

When he sensed the presence of perceived danger, he started to do that back paddle that crawfish do while waving that one claw in the air mightily.  He was waving that thing around as if he was swatting flies really trying to scare me off.  I chuckled to myself, until I noticed he was coming at me and my phone that was dangerously close to him.

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But still, I tried to get a good pic of this crawfish in defense mode and fighting a battle against a giant.  And then changing angles slightly, I saw him differently.  It was as if I was seeing him with one hand up in church in serious worship using praise as an offensive weapon. It was also as if he was in strong offensive prayer with that one hand up declaring and decreeing victory in Jesus name.

This switch of defense becoming the offense resonated with me so much.

When I’m scared and the battle or the enemy seems so much larger than me, I let fear push me back while trying to fight in my own strength and strategy.

But when I’m trusting in God, I march forward praising, praying, and declaring the victory that God is with me fighting and conquering the giant.

With blessings,

Erica

Ephesians 6:10-18

New International Version

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Wrestling with God

Wrestling is a physical interaction between two people in which one is trying to gain dominance over the other.

Spiritually, we learn in Ephesians that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against evil principalities. Because of this, there are times that my flesh and my mind wrestle with God.

Last Sunday I woke up with an overwhelming feeling of rejection. That continued as I went to church feeling like an outsider being over 40 yet under 50, divorced, and with no kids. It’s a personal perception of being a modern day leper. Looking around, you see where you want to belong but not having the qualifications of kids or a spouse to quite fit in. Of course this isn’t anyone’s doing, it’s just a perception I have always felt in my position. I felt like that married without kids and now it’s just gone from bad to worse.

I continued in service not able to shake it. I started to really miss my spouse. I started to wrestle with why my best wasn’t enough. I started to wrestle with my worth and wondered how long was I going to have to wait.

I went home and rested in my sadness for the rest of the day.

Sunday Evening
When evening came, I sat with the Lord in my prayer closet with music and started to draw. The word TRUST was written down.

What was at the root of this rejection? Has God not provided for me abundantly? Has God not given me joy in my sadness? Has God not shown himself to be faithful in so many ways? He has! Over and over he amazes me, yet in that prayer closet the root of my rejection was a wrestling that I have with God because I don’t trust Him with my prayers.

I told Him, “I feel rejected by you because it seems as if you don’t answer my prayers. I don’t ask for much.”

There are two things that he has spoken to me and that I believe are prayers of his will but are unanswered. Because of this, I wrestle with feeling as if I’m suppose to settle for less than God’s best. I feel like miracles are for everyone else but me.

Monday Evening
The next evening, I did the same thing. But this time the word TRUTH was written down.

What he spoke to me, comforted me. He reminded me that he has faced the ultimate rejection. Him, the perfect gift of love, rejected by many repeatedly and continuously and that “many” includes me. He showed me that everyone’s life is a whole with fractional parts of ups and downs. Their answered prayer comes when their particular fractional part of hardship is at its end. Mine is more of in the middle. He also reminded me of what he has been able to show me during this time of unanswered prayers and what I would miss and could miss if that prayer was answered in my timing.

Saturday Morning
Yesterday morning I walked with the Lord. This is when he showed me that I’m wrestling with Him. He showed me as I walked along the creek that its beauty is in the bends and where the water flows over the shallow areas where it’s very rocky. The parts of the creek that are still and straight do not bring the beauty. They are boring. He showed me I’m wanting everything to be perfect. Perfectly straight…which is not what life on earth is like. Perfection is only in Heaven and in His Presence.

At that point I got it and He illustrated how this grappling got me to God’s truths.

Position
When I’m wrestling with God, I’m trying to dominate the match and I’m telling God what I see in the natural and that I’m angry and hurt. God, does not let me go. He stays in the wrestling match pinning me down occasionally reminding me of his dominion over all things. However, he doesn’t try to dominate me. He doesn’t force me to give up or give in. He allows me the position to question and guess and at times have a false sense of control.

Perception
1. When I’m in a dominating position, I try to pin God down so he can look up at me and see the situation I’m in and everything that is behind me and surrounds me.
2. God then makes a maneuver and flips the script. He is now trying to get me to look up at Him. However, in my struggle for control and reason, I’m working and wrestling so hard my eyes are pinched shut.

Submission

1. This goes on until His love eventually wills me into submission.
2. At this point, my muscles relax and stop.
3. My eyes open and I see Truth and I see Trust.

Saturday Evening to Tonight
From the point of submission, I can’t even explain how God has unleashed his love. He has sent so many people to me, unknowing to them, with words of encouragement, confirmation, and truth.

God is so amazing in His love for us.

Point to Ponder: When we wrestle with God we win. He positions our perception so that through submission His mission is truly realized.

To God be the Glory