Mind Games

When the cares of my heart are many,
    your consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 94:19

Ever have too much time on your hands? No, of course not. And if you’re a woman, it’s a definite no (multi-tasking and over-tasking are kinda our “thing”). Usually we’re wondering why God only allowed for 24 hours in a single day – why not 48? Often we find ourselves thinking, “If only there were more hours in a day…”

But what about the moments where life has suddenly slowed down? What about when the baby is finally sleeping a solid 5 hours through the night? What about when the kids finally start pre-school and you have an extra half a day to yourself? What about when the semester is finally over and the studying ceases for a few blissful months? What about when you can finally stop studying for good because you’ve graduated and started your “big girl” job? What about when we suddenly do have time?

I was recently talking to a girlfriend about how life changes once you near the end of college and enter the “real world.” During school, I had to keep to a strict schedule. It’s the only way I could do everything I needed for school, family, church, & my own personal walk with the Lord. But once I graduated, things changed. I suddenly had a lot more time on my hands. Which is great, right? That’s all I’ve ever wanted! More time! But when time isn’t given purpose, it can often lead to our undoing.

What I mean is this: All that free time should have been spent before the Lord in prayer and in the studying of His word. That wasn’t always the case though. In fact, it rarely was. I struggled (and still do) with allowing my thoughts to wander to places the Lord did not intend. I found myself doubting His faithfulness, His promises to work all things out for my good, His nearness to my heart, His ability to hear me when I called, His desire to hear me at all. I questioned, doubted, and analyzed His presence in my life.

I recently heard in a message by Dwight Knight that when Satan attacks, he goes for our minds first. And when you think about it, he’s really got this whole “war strategies” thing down. Sin often starts in our minds, doesn’t it? It begins as a simple thought, which turns into a desire, and then eventually unfolds as an action. Later, it becomes a habitual behavior which rots us from the inside out. Habit evolves into addiction as sin reaches its peak. It all starts off in our minds though. So when Satan attacks our minds, he’s really playing it smart. Mind games are his speciality. He plants seeds of doubt, worry, insecurity, distrust, entitlement, and discontentment. Give these seeds a little extra time to grow and voila! You have yourself a myriad of internal struggles, most of which you don’t even realize you’re battling.

That extra time I had? Instead of allowing the Lord to wield that time for the growth of my relationship with Him, I handed Satan the keys and allowed him to get in my head. His influence caused me to doubt, question, compare, and analyze – not just every detail of my life, but also what God was doing in my life. “God, why did You bless her with that and not me? Why don’t you think I’m good enough to participate in that ministry? God, don’t You think I deserve to be happy too? Don’t You want me to be happy? After everything I’ve done for You, why can’t You bless me in that way?” And on and on it went. The doubting, the questioning, the comparing and analyzing.

But God never did that with me. He never doubted my heart for Him, He never questioned my ability to serve Him, He never compared me to another of His children, He never analyzed my actions or scrutinized them under a microscope. Nor has He ever given me reason to believe otherwise.

Time is a simple commodity. It is not innately good or bad; it’s how we use it that lends itself to one or the other. When we intentionally give our time to the Lord it will only reap good. When we are not intentional about the use of our time, it often ends up being used by Satan to destroy our minds and eventually, our hearts.

When I find myself in the middle of one of Satan’s mind games, I have to remind myself of truth. I have to uproot the lies he has sown in my mind and negate them with the Truth found in the Word.

When Satan gets into our minds, he sows such discontentment that we feel overly burdened and lost. He makes us believe we’ve been abandoned by the Lord. He convinces us we’re alone in carrying the weight of all our struggles, doubts, and insecurities. He brings us to a place of such overwhelming hurt and anguish that we start believing our God isn’t as near as He claims to be, as He promises to be. But this isn’t truth, y’all. It’s the influence of Satan’s lies falsely weighing our hearts down.

Here’s what IS true:

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
    Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
    my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
    your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
    your consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 94:16-19

My God has an amazing plan for me – even though the world tells me I’m too old, or too young, or too dumb, or too broken, or too flawed. The Lord has purpose for each of these: the old, young, dumb. broken and flawed. That’s what makes His grace so good, so sweet!

Just as we can see His faithfulness towards us in times past, one day we will look back at this moment and see His faithfulness manifested yet again.

The truth is Your whisper in the chaos.
Give me faith to stand strong in this rushing wind.

— All Sons & Daughters

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