You Can't Fight Anymore
All day the Lord has been giving me thought after thought after thought and I’ve been writing them down on anything that I can get my hands on. I’ve written in my journal, typed on my phone, written on my legs, and I even used a piece of cardboard (that was an assignment though). This has been a powerful week for me and finally the Lord has given me what I feel like is an adequate way to process. So I’ve been writing my thoughts down everywhere.
Sometimes with my anxiety I feel like I am locked in a cage with a missing key. There is a way out I know there is. If only I could find that stupid key. I begin to panic but attempt to convince myself that I can do it.
I can do this.
I can do this.
I can do this.
But the light eventually fades from the day and I find myself in a wandering of night. No no, I can still do this. I will keep fighting. I’ll find my way out of the night. I can do this.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:13-18).
Oh yeah, thanks God for that, your armor. How silly of me to forget to put it on. I’ll slip it on real quick and then snatch that key and be outta here. I’ll catch back up with You when I’m back in the light. But wait, how do I put these shoes on? And this belt… what do I do with this thing? I didn’t expect this shield to be so heavy… Lord, am I doing something wrong? This is your armor? Why is it so hard for me to figure it out? The instructions are all right here. God if you’ve given me all this armor. Why am I still failing? It’s getting darker God! Why are the walls closing in? Tighter…tighter… God I can’t breathe! Hold back the walls so that I can put on this armor before it’s too late!
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.
And you know what? I was right. It took the walls to close in on me without any armor on to realize that I. Cannot. Do. This. I’m not supposed to do this. The Lord didn’t give us a suit of armor so that we could “put it on” and then strut over our mountains without ever realizing our desperate need for Him. The Lord doesn’t trust us with our struggles because we can overcome them. He trusts us with struggles because he has already overcame. Oh how could I forget so easily? The Lord had brought me to place where all I could do was depend on Him. And I wasn’t content. I wasn’t content being in a place where He was all I had. I felt like He wanted me to fight. I needed to put on His armor and get out of that place. Immediately. But the desire for immediate resolve, or a “quick fix” is so incredibly dangerous. The Lord hasn’t called me “warrior” so that I can stand around with a sword in my hand swinging at anything that gets too close. He calls me warrior because it takes a freaking HEAP of courage just let go.
Lately, I’ve been really fighting my anxiety. And honestly, it has hindered so much more than it has helped. When the entire community stepped up and announced that they would fight for and with me alongside God, it changed my perspective on my anxiety. I felt strength for the first time in months. But two weeks later, to now, I realized that I felt as though I had to prove to them that I was fighting, that they’re prayers we’re worthwhile. I had to prove to them that my anxiety was real and that they weren’t wasting their time praying for someone who didn’t need it. Basically I told them and God that I’ve got it. I can handle it. And you want to know how I handled it? I spend the weekend listening to lies over and over again and ignored my entire community's help because I wanted to disappear. I wanted to die. I couldn’t let them see how much I was hurting. I was ashamed of my fear of death and didn’t want to disturb them. I tried to be my own savior. I felt the responsibility of curing my anxiety. And I tried so hard. I really put in all my effort. But when my best friend Grayce came to me crying, begging for me to let her help I realized that what I thought I was fighting for was pure deception. I thought I was fighting for freedom but I was fighting against freedom, I was fighting against myself, I was fighting against those that I love most, and I was fighting against God. Freedom doesn’t need to be fought for. The blood of the cross has already bought freedom once and for all.
“Picture myself in your position. What would you say to me?” She asked as we sat on chairs, crying as we looked to the ocean for answers.
I sat for a minute. What would I say to her? What should I say to me?
I pictured myself falling into a pool and I immediately felt as though I was drowning. I was thrashing as hard as I could and trying so hard to swim but I couldn't. The water was rising above my head and I was kicking and kicking but I kept drowning. Help! Somebody help me I'm drowning! A voice shouts back, stand up! How dare someone tell me to stand up when I'm drowning! Can't they see I'm in deep water? I can't stand! The person comes over and grabs my arm to pull me to my feet and as I stand I realize the water comes hardly above my ankles...What was I fighting for again? I was so scared that I would drown and so convinced that I would drown that I was drowning myself.
I came back to reality. “Umm” I spoke up, “I would say to you… sit down! Stop! Stop fighting! Just sit down and shut up! Let the Lord speak!”
“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Immediately these verses came to my mind. Be silent. Moses was called to bring Israel out of Egypt, and you know what God said? Be silent… the ENTIRE nation… Be silent. I’ll fight for you. I’ll go before you. WHAT? The lives of an entire nation is at stake and God says be silent? How in the world am I going to be silent in the midst of so much desperation? Moses had no idea how God was going to come through. All he knew is that he would come through. A commentary on the passage in Exodus read: Despair will cast you down, keeping you from standing. Fear will tell you to retreat. Impatience will tell you to do something now. Presumption will tell you to jump into the Red Sea before it is parted. But as God told Israel He often tells us to simply stand still as He reveals His plan (Blue Letter Bible-David Guzik). The enemies that you see today, you shall never see again. That is a promise from the Lord. Just be silent.
Mads, put down your sword and be silent as I reveal My plan for you.
This morning as I was sitting in worship I felt the Lord saying that over me again and again. There is nothing I could do. The healing isn’t my responsibility. I am not God. I am not my own savior. I could allow my struggles to either quicken my prayers and endeavors or squelch my prayers and hopes. And I want so badly to be quick to obey the Lord. So I sat in silence before Him.
Some time went by and then Katie came up to me with tears in her eyes and grabbed my hands. “Madison I promise there is hope. I pinky promise.”
And the Lord promised too. He pinky promised. I felt Him grab my hands just as Katie did and He said:
It is finished! What are you fighting for?
Be with me.
Dance with me.
Sway with me.
Sit with me.
I love you just the way you are.
Tears in your eyes and a shake in your hands.
Just be mine.