Be Aware and Be On Guard!
Every person on the planet has seasons that border on mental, physical, or even spiritual breakdowns. I’ve know folks that seemed to have had everything others would think one would need to be happy, and watch them crumble into a pile of messy emotions in my office. I’ve had those seasons. Seasons that cause you to question your own intellect, or health, or spiritual foundations. The challenge isn’t that these seasons occur. The challenge is how we respond to them.
I’ve had my fair share of challenging seasons, and find myself in one as I write this. So let me offer a tried and true solution to walking through the seasons of despair and escaping them victoriously.
Be Aware of You! Self-awareness is an essential tool to thriving through the storms that come our way. Maybe you need a coach that helps you determine what is happening when you start plummeting toward the valley. We all have idiosyncrasies that give those around us warning signs that we are emotionally, physically or spiritually fading into despair. If you don’t have someone that can love you enough to tell you the truth in love, seek for a biblical counselor. When I became aware of my tendency to hear criticism and discord as a personal attack and that those words can actually negate anything positive in my life I sought help. I didn’t know it, but Jenny became my barometer of tanking. She can talk me off the cliff by helping me be aware that I have allowed external sources and circumstances to run amuck in my soul leaving a trail burned emotions like Sherman left the south. Being aware requires three things from you: 1) It requires that you understand that the Divine is still in control of your life and the whirling circumstances around it – Trust Him! 2) It requires that you are willing to learn from the challenge. Maybe you learn more about you. Maybe you learn who to trust and who not to trust. 3) Let the reality that the Divine has a plan for you settle your soul. He has a plan that is designed for you to prosper and live in peace…Again – Trust Him!
Stay on Guard! If you have been made aware that you are an Image Bearer of the Most High God. If you’ve realized that He has plans for you and longs to bless you and keep you, then stay on guard! I’ve never experienced spiritual attacks like what I’ve experienced over the past three months. I’ve been cursed, screamed at, had my character under attack and told that I cannot preach and should quit, as nobody would want to hear what I say. All of these are such a blessing in the season of great joy! But as a meandered out of the maze of self-pity, selfish malaise and got back up to dust my jeans off (even though they seemed to be bloodied) I learned that this is the tax you pay to lead anything. Stay on guard. If you are attempting anything worth doing, you will wake up hurting. Stay on guard and revel in the fact that you have totally ticked Satan off. Wear it like a badge of honor!
Please don’t read these words and think this is as easy as it is to write/read. The task of being fully present and acutely aware of your strengths, weaknesses and quirks is a real undertaking. The mere fact that you might understand that you do not know everything about everything is a great start!
To be on guard takes an awareness that the Divine is indeed active in your everyday lives and that He wants to use us and protect us. My best advice in these two areas is this: When you completely and utterly surrender the control of your life to the Divine, you can certainly be aware of all of your idiosyncrasies and strengths. He will lovingly, humbly give you a glimpse into how He created you, wired you and wants to use you as a key player in His divine plan to redeem this broken world.
When you are walking, living, leading, and resting in Him you are in the safe grasp of the Divine. It is there that you’ll experience the best possible ability to stand your guard and stay your guard. He promised that He wouldn’t let you foot to slip. Again, trust Him!
Be Aware & Be On Guard,