I was flying high. I celebrated a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. No drama. No hurt feelings. I put together a new classroom in record time and was quite surprised with the beautiful result. My husband and I were eagerly anticipating our tenth anniversary celebration. The scale’s needle was even starting to move in the correct direction. Then, BOOM! Someone told me they saw some of my coworkers and asked why I wasn’t invited to the gathering. Someone else commented that a mutual friend hadn’t liked a Facebook post. Uhhhh . . . I was completely unaware of both. Neither was even remotely important, but the enemy sure had fun with me for a couple of hours. I went from feeling I was on top of the world to feeling friendless. I even started noticing people who didn’t text me back. Oh y’all, I’m embarrassed to admit all of this to you, but maybe, just maybe, some of you feel this way sometimes.
As my pity party was just beginning, it hit me! The Word of God is living and active. It is my weapon. I’m not warring against people; I’m warring against our enemy. (Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:12) Why do I forget this so frequently?!?!
I could’ve easily dwelled on the perceived slights for days and I’ve done just that in the past. And I did get well and truly bummed for a bit. I could actually “see” myself dwelling on these unimportant things and getting more upset by the minute. Ugh! Then the Lord reminded me to deliberately turn my back on hurt feelings, as I’ve done in the past. I said a loud NO to replaying the pain. (I’ve heard pastors call it rehearsing the hurt.) Instead, I turned my mind to the precious, generous, loving, dear friends I have, the ones I can call in the middle of the night, the ones I can bare my soul to. I focused on my God and how He has loved, changed, and blessed me. I thought about my marriage and what a tremendous blessing it is in my life. In other words, I did what Philippians 4:8 tells me to do, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” And guess what? My mood improved. I felt like me again.
This may sound like it was simple. And it actually was pretty easy THIS time because I’ve practiced it for years. It wasn’t easy the first time or even the first dozen times, but it’s important to control my thought life and practice forgiveness (for the real-and perceived-slights) if I want to rise above pettiness and live a life of victory in Him.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I highly recommend Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind. You can order it here.
There are so many joy takers. Our enemy knows us well. He knows where to strike, but we’ve been given the tools to lead victorious lives. Our God is so, so good. I’d love to hear from you, dear readers. What joy takers have you defeated lately?