This Means War

Based on last Friday’s post, I was planning on writing about “Feeling God’s Love.”  I was going to write about a book my therapist gave me that opened my mind up to the idea that we all connect with and feel God’s love in different ways.  I wanted to tell you how What’s Your God Language? by Dr. Myra Perrine freed me up to know I could connect with God through art and through hospitality, that God isn’t relegated to a morning “quiet time.”  This was welcome news in that 1) I’m not much of a morning person and 2) save for the small window of time that I’m writing this during the kids’ nap time, quiet is a rare phenomenon.  I wanted to let you know that before reading her book, it was hard for me to feel connected to God and to hear His voice.  Reading her book as a part of recovery has been extremely helpful.

But, the content of this post has taken an unexpected shift.  I sat in the pew on Sunday as Father George Miley gave a sermon titled, “Stand Firm in the Spiritual Battle”.   He talked about the Powers of Darkness waging war in the spiritual realms.  It’s not a topic I think about or talk about often.  I can’t help but think of Dana Carvey in butterfly glasses smirking, “Could it be Satan?!?” But in all seriousness, there is good and there is evil and this week I was supposed to be be aware of evil.

Fr. George talked about how Satan’s attacks are aimed especially at those doing God’s work, those sharing the power of truth and love.  Satan can’t attack God, but he can attack those doing His work on earth.  Though the Devil doesn’t win in the end, he’s not going down without a fight.  I sat with this idea, wondering if this little blog was inviting Satan and his minions to target me and my laptop.

Fast forward to approximately 11:15am today (Thursday), I was not feeling God’s love.  I was doing dishes, completely pissed off about a whole heap of various things including, but not limited to:

  • The day not going according to schedule
  • Not having time the day before for a recipe I wanted to test
  • Dealing with a recent bout of unexplained physical fatigue

I was so fired up I was tempted to heave a dish into the sink, to see it break, wanting to release some aggression.  I didn’t.  I had enough messes to clean up.  I was short with my kids and short with my husband, who was likewise challenged with a day of things not going the way we wanted.

Inner monologue:

“This is just great.  I’m supposed to publish a post about feeling God’s love tomorrow. <insert angry harrumph here> Well, I guess I can fake it.  Write about something easy or just quote the book.”

Stop.

Breathe.

Pray.

In that moment of spiritual discipline, I was moved to crack back open the book I was going to write about.  I didn’t want to read it.  I wasn’t in the mood, but I did anyway.  Discipline isn’t doing what you want, it’s doing what you should.

I opened and read:

“Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God.  You will always harvest what you plant.”  Galatians 6:7

What have I been planting this week?  I’ve allowed my desire for order and control to take priority.  I haven’t prayed.  I haven’t enjoyed any music.  I haven’t made any art.  I haven’t gone on a walk.  I have let the perfectionist creep back through the door.  I haven’t exercised the spiritual disciplines Dr. Perrine’s book talks about that bring us to the doorstep of connecting with God.  I let busted laptops, fighting kids, deadlines and tired bodies get in the way.

Suddenly, I remembered Sunday’s sermon, realizing that I am, indeed, a target.  The shenanigans of the past 24 hours and my selfish response are evidence that Satan doesn’t want me publishing these blog posts.  He laid down a barage of subtle obstacles and I nearly took the bait.  Did he engineer the changes to my schedule that caused me frustration?  Maybe, or perhaps that part was coincidence.  But, he certainly snuck into the seemingly insignificant moments that led to anger, distracting me from the spiritual disciplines where I feel God’s love. I was focused on myself, so when challenges hit, I reacted in anger instead of love.  Fortunately, I’m forgiven, course corrected and find encouragement in the fact that Satan cares enough about this blog to attempt to keep me from writing it.

I have made a commitment to post every Friday about my recovery, the entirety of which I credit to God.  I want to share my struggles to keep myself accountable (Steps 4, 5 and 10 of the 12 Steps).  I also want to provide encouragement to others in recovery (Step 12), and not just in alchohol recovery, but life recovery.  This whole being-a-human thing is tough and it helps to not be alone.

Lesson learned.  As long as I keep publishing these things on Fridays, it’s gonna hit the fan Wednesday into Thursday.  Best course of action?  Pray, create, share, love and publish.  At least now I’m aware that it’s coming instead of being surprised.  The day’s schedule goes haywire?  Yep!  Kids won’t take naps?  Check! Things are going to get crazy, but I don’t have to.  I rest knowing the battle belongs to the Lord.

The Twelve Steps

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.