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Last week I felt a strong nudge to get closer to God and to let go of more and more, partly self-imposed, duties. As a woman, you might know how difficult it is to get rid of old habits and of letting go to care for others (more than they really need it) in order to meet EVERY expectation perfectly. I have also been used to care for my body daily and I sensed that my exhausting workouts tend to make my life more and more burdened. However, I could not get rid of swimming ‘the English Channel’, so to speak. 😉 I do know that I am no longer twenty or thirty and therefore I had begun to take at least one break during the day some years ago. Mostly after dinner I spend time in bed praying. Admittedly, sometimes I fall asleep because of exhaustion. 😉
Nonetheless, just lately as I had started to feel this nudge from God getting stronger and stronger, it seemed to be an impossible thing to find any kind of rest at all. Instead, more and more noisy construction sites outside (during the day, in the evening, some even in the night time) and several sources of noise inside our apartment building made it an impossible thing for me to get away from it all. More and more I felt stressed out, too, when people approached me outside the house, sharing their problems with me as I tried to find a restful place just for me. I knew my soul’s reaction was an alarm signal to really withdraw from it all. But how? And when?
About a week ago our daughter left again as she visited her boyfriend in Upper Bavaria so that I had not so much to do AND, lo and behold, some construction sites seemed to take a break, too. Also, I have perceived for months now that God told me without words, again and again, that I should follow His leading in ALL things more closely, even regarding the tiniest and unimportant things like answering phone calls, emails, chat messages, and that I should only speak with other people when He told me to, including my own family. Oh boy, THAT has been difficult! So many old habits to overcome! Yikes!! 😛 For me, it has been a big struggle at times since I had to react counterintuitively and unreasonably in my view, questioning myself by asking, “Should I REALLY alienate friends/relatives by IGNORING them somehow?” But thanks be to God, His peace followed my obedience immediately and I could even drop my workouts (more than) every other day lately as I took heed of God’s leading and, finally, found more and more rest and joy, even during my workouts that had become a mere duty of sorts like everything else I had done. 😊 That is wonderful, I thought, and I felt gratefulness toward God again, after a VERY long time of feeling nothing which was some way or other somehow positive. However, dear reader, this is not the end of the story.
As it is always the case when God gives us a revelation of sorts, He allows us to make our initial positive experiences with what He told us, but then Satan comes in and attacks our newly won faith in order to sift all doubts right out of us. Restful and joyful Susanne, aka me, as she was no longer driven by necessity as Michael Clark often says, got attacked by a legion of demons that confused her mind and made her all upset and worried. Eventually, former happy me fell sick with fever and summer cholera last weekend. And of course, noise in any form came back, too! BOOM! BANG! CLASH! CLANK! But now, more than before, I really needed to recover, even physically! I often fell asleep for a few minutes and awoke with terror when another noise had begun to torment my ears. Prayer? You could easily forget it!
Is there any hope to win such fights when the attacks do not stop increasing? Yes, it is. Although it is much easier to give up and give in to Satan when he weakens and discourages us even physically. Having had toothaches for 13 months now, I know what I am talking about! 😛 Indeed, I cannot count how often the devil has been the winner who subjugated my flesh without much resistance from me. I knew when I had followed him by giving up, yet I was too weak to go against him. This does not really sound like the testimony of an overcomer, eh? 😉 But it should do since the overcomer is Jesus Christ! It is only IN Him where we find our victories would already be fought and won at Calvary. However, we cannot reach this spiritual condition unless He is the One who transfers us into Himself (cf. John 15:5) so that we can share His victories as ours. This is the Good News of the Scripture that says,
For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Cor 3:21-23 ESV)
Brothers and sisters, ALL things are ours in Christ. Our good and our bad past which is so difficult (read impossible) to let go of, our future that frightens and worries us, and our present time we hardly perceive because of our mind being obsessed with thinking about the past and the future JUST NOW. Jesus told us,
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (Jn 10:10)
May God help us ALL to get there, into Himself, where ALL things are ours and where real LIFE begins. Amen.