Discouragement, Distraction, Deception
As human beings living in the fickle circumstances of this Earth, we are acutely vulnerable to spiritual warfare. The 3 Ds the Enemy uses are Discouragement, Distraction and Deception. We allow negative thoughts about ourselves to rule our day. We keep disrupting our prayer time with our phones. (Guilty)! And, we believe the lies we are told.
I have been an unwitting victim of all of these spectacular strategies the Fallen Angel uses, to try to get me to feel condemned by God. After a horrible life event years ago, I suffered for a long time in despair. I was consumed with negativity.
Discouragement-Feeling Very Low
I have worked in the Fine Arts all my adult life. I have worked hard, with hundreds of students, preparing them for yearly Ballet Mastery Examinations, and choreographing and polishing multiple dances for bi-annual performances and competitions. This career is truly rewarding, yet demanding.
As much as I adored my hundreds of students, my bank account shows how non-lucrative this profession was! Often I judge myself on my anemic savings account, at this senior-citizen time in my life. It’s disheartening.
My former student Catherine, who has become one of my very best friends, sometimes catches me in a low self-image funk, and calls me on it. “Hey! That’s harsh. Please pray that you can see yourself the way God does.” Bravo, wise Catherine. I needed that.
I have pivoted to writing full-time now, but despite a year of attempts, haven’t been able to land a traditional publishing contract for any of my five books. That rejection is rough, and plummets my self-esteem. I believe Satan enjoys my self-flagellation. He SUCKS.
Our devices have come to rule our lives. I suffer from dry eye, and I always know when I have overdone my screen time. My corneas are bloodshot, and the itchiness is excruciating. I have to schedule work breaks to let my poor optics rest.
I make the mistake of bringing my phone with me to my quiet, early-morning devotional and prayer time. Ding, ding! Notification, notification. Gotta call her back. Need to schedule that. Must check that-looks like another round of edits. It’s vital to know right now if anyone read my article!
I believe Satan and his minions love when we put our God-time on a shelf, and maybe, just maybe, forget about it later, or, for the whole week. I can see all of those uglies doing Ring-Around-the-Rosie, every single time we do this. Hell would love to pull as many souls away from God as possible.
For every game, we must have a strategy! I will talk about my effective counterattacks, in a minute.
Deception-It Can Be Relentless
This aging process is rugged. I used to teach and dance through, up to five classes at a time. I could demonstrate all jumps and turns for my students. Since my torn ACL and two broken ankles, those days are over. It’s depressing. The devil likes to make it that I am a “terrible, weak dancer/teacher that no student or director wants”, instead of “I had decades of success in this profession. I have to be careful now and protect my joints. It’s okay.”
And, frankly, I am ready to abolish these bathroom mirrors. Oh, what’s that new wrinkle? Wow, my skin looks weird there. What’s that eye-puffiness? That’s new. Oh, just look at my turkey neck! Our Enemy wants to make our sense of self all about looks, lucrative achievements and fat bank accounts. Our culture feeds into this and makes it doubly difficult.
Sarah Young-Powerful Suggestions in Her Jesus Calling Series
Sarah Young has taught me so much about what Jesus might say to anything we encounter in this world. Her daily devotionals keep things in perspective, and help us to remember what God answers, to all the Enemy’s tactics. We are loved unconditionally. We are cherished by God, no matter how we look or what we’ve accomplished.
Sarah led me to this verse: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish all arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:4,5
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Eph. 6:10,11
We Fight Back With God’s Power and Authority
So, how do we counteract all the junk the Enemy likes to spew? First, we must constantly remind ourselves that we are God’s masterpieces. He delights in us, and Jesus died for us. Jesus would never have been scorned, beaten and violently nailed to a cross, for people He didn’t desperately love. Our finite brains cannot wrap around this kind of infinite adoration of us, so we must simply believe.
When we make a God-appointment each day, it is paramount to leave our phones in another room. We must discipline ourselves to complete our Word-of-God time, before jumping into the daily fray.
I applaud the current phrase, “Not today, Satan”. It’s a good feeling to be aware of the schemes thrown toward us, and know that we don’t have to succumb to the cesspool of devil soup he’d love to toss us in.
With discipline, God’s Word, and mindfulness, we all have a fighting chance to withstand the occasional self-esteem-assaults from the bowels of the “fiery furnace”.
Catholic Prayer for Protection
“St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protector against the malice and snares of the devil. Rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, oh Prince of the Heavenly Host, by thy divine power, thrust into Hell Satan, and all the other evil spirits who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.”