I stared at my friend for what felt like forever, but was probably only milliseconds, as she waited for me to answer her question. It was a simple question, but anxiety welled up in my chest.
“Do you want to start walking with me every week?” she asked.
I stammered, “Um. Yes?” That had to be the answer, right? It’s kind of a no-brainer. Still, the anxiety ate at me. While she ran off to put her toddler on the potty, I stopped to think it over.
This feeling, almost a panic, had come over me a couple times already that day, but I’d been busy, so I brushed it away. But now, I felt a tug on my heart to examine its origins.
She came back from potty duty, and I looked at her and said, “Shame. I don’t know why, but I think I’m feeling shame.” We chatted about that for a minute but then moved on to other subjects.
When I got home, I knew I needed to take a walk before I headed into the house, but once again I felt shame welling up. I ignored it and hit the pavement. I started walking, but my spirit wasn’t settled. “God, why am I feeling this way? I feel so conflicted! What is wrong with me?!” I asked. And boy, did He ever answer.
He showed me my thoughts — not the conscious ones, but the ones running in the background.
When I told myself I needed to walk: Why? You’re so fat right now. What’s a walk through the neighborhood going to do? You know you have to workout more than that, harder than that. A walk just isn’t going to cut it.
When my friend asked me to workout: Why commit? You’re not going to do it. You won’t follow through. You’ll never change.
When I told her I was trying out a Mediterranean style diet: It won’t work. Keto works, but you aren’t committed enough to stick to keto. You won’t stick with this either, so it doesn’t really matter.
When I made my breakfast that morning: You think because you made this bread from wheat you ground yourself that it makes a difference? You’re still eating bread, and bread equals carbs, and carbs make you fat. You will always be fat.
As the Holy Spirit played the day’s messages back to me, I cringed. Is this really what I’m saying to myself? Yes, the Spirit doesn’t lie; there is no darkness in Him. He was playing back evidence of my mindset bringing forth death.
The mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:6 (HCSB)
I didn’t feel peace, though — not yet. I was glad I saw the problem, but now I actually had to fix it.
“Take every thought captive,” the Spirit said. It was time to wage war.
I think we all have moments like these, where spiritual warfare morphs from something you’re praying about for others into an intimate, gut-wrenching, sob session on your knees. It happens faster than a major league pitch and sometimes feels like a line-drive to the temple. When God tackles these things, the deeply rooted things, we don’t feel a tiny slap on the wrist, but the aching pressure of the Holy Spirit’s fingers digging out a tangled web of lies.
God is jealous for us, though, and His Word says He alone is our stronghold, our fortress.
Rest in God alone, my soul,
for my hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will not be shaken.
Psalm 62:5-6 (HCSB)
I want desperately for these to be my words, to bravely declare my hope in Christ and feel it through every bit of my soul. But sometimes, I’m afraid. This battle with shame has been long and hard-fought. I’m scared I’ll lose, and maybe you’re scared, too, but there’s a bigger picture. He has conquered the world. The victory is already won. We still have to put up a fight against shame, but we have hope for how the battle will end.
My walk that day wasn’t a marathon or a hardcore fat-burning session, but it was a march across the battlefield. After all, that’s really all our paths to victory are — small steps of obedience to Christ that lead to a larger victory in Him.
Today, as you walk through your day, where have you given up hope? Where have you long ago given up the fight, laid down on the battlefield in defeat? What small, first (or next) step of obedience can you take today in the story of your own victory?
Take heart, friend. We fight together.
God is jealous for us, and His Word says He alone is our stronghold, our fortress. -@Alissa_S_Coburn: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Such wisdom and truth here, Alissa. There is a war that rages for your mind and emotions. Every lie the enemy tells you is the opposite of how God sees you and who you really are. Taking small steps of obedience is leads to freeing you to believe God’s truth about you. Amen!!
Alissa Coburn says
Thank you, Camille! I appreciate your kind words. The enemy is truly an adversary who seeks to devour, but praise God, Christ has already won the victory! We just have to claim it.
Joni DeBord says
Wow. Powerful article! Thank You! It is so true. Every small step matters. I must confront the lies and embrace the TRUTH.. Hold onto HOPE IN CHRIST.
Alissa Coburn says
Thank you, Joni! I’m so grateful you found comfort in this. The lies can be so hard to battle, but I’m grateful we have each other to remind us of the truth!
Patty Joyce says
Woohoo! Love it. We are victorious in Him. If Jesus used the Word against the enemy, how much more should we. It is written there is now no condemnation in Christ; it is written the battle is the Lord’s; it is written I have loved you with an everlasting love, and on and on. We win!!
Blessings to you. Patty
Alissa Coburn says
Amen! Thank you for these encouraging words and the reminder of God’s glorious truth, Patty!
Beth Williams says
The devil is crafty. He whispers lies that we tend to believe all the time. Women especially hear negative self talk all the time. We know what God expects of us yet don’t feel confident enough to do it. We’ve failed before so why should this time be any different. I hear & believe those lies all to often. Make a mistake or say the wrong words & “I’m dumb, stupid, not good enough”. This world doesn’t help with that. They show powerful people doing mighty things, people with lots of money, skinny, great skin, etc. If we don’t look or act that way then we are deemed inferior. Often times we judge ourselves harshly. But God doesn’t see it that way. He sees us as a beautiful creation made in His image. We must realize we are fighting a war-not against flesh & blood-but against the spiritual forces in Heavenly places. We need to take our thoughts captive that is not in obedience to your word. Compare what we hear to the scriptures and see if they line up. Prayer is another way to fight the fight of shame. “God is jealous for us, and His Word says He alone is our stronghold, our fortress.” He will fight for us we just have to ask Him to help us.
Alissa Coburn says
Yes, yes, yes! “Prayer is another way to fight the fight of shame.” That is so true! I’ve spend many a day (or night) on my knees in order to release myself from these chains He’s already broken. Thank you, Beth!
Thank you for sharing. I would substitute shame for fear in my life and that is my battle. I’ts always uplifting to know I’am not alone!
Alissa Coburn says
You are definitely not alone, Linda! I definitely struggle with fear, too. Thank you for sharing!
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
Blessing for this reading. What you wrote is so good. Sometimes we don’t want to be Obedient. When we know we have to do something. Your friend might have seemed pushey. But she was only being caring in her own way. You didn’t want to give her answer right away to going walking with her. To help you. Like when Jesus tells us to do something for or own good like your friend was just was just being kind and caring about you. I heard Jesus tell me many a time for my own good to do things this way or I should not be watching the soaps on tv. As Jesus knows they are not good for me. I have at the time not listened or obeyed Jesus. I used to watch you guys might not get them here. Coronation Street or East Enders etc. Every time I put on TV I hear Jesus say why fill your mind with that rubbish when you could fill it with my word.
Plus Go see the beauty of my world. Jesus was not saying he did not mind me watching TV. It is what I watched it was what I put into my mind. You see that saying from Jesus never went away until I stopped watching the soaps. They got the soap they took over me I had to watch them. Jesus word and prayer came last. They took over my time with Jeaus. One day I heard his Holy Spirit say Dawn you spent more time watching TV than with me. I stopped that day that made me think. You know what we are answerable too God for everything we do and say I was not obeying God. This reading is just excellent of how we can take small steps to that. Like you going for a walk with your friend to help you. Me I began to spend less time watching TV and getting back to what Jesus wanted me too do spend more time with him. In his Word the Bible ans Prayer. Ever since I have done that and made that simple small step of Obedience. I found my life has changed. For the better and I am alot happer in myself. Jesus is also happy with me. As I am not filling my mind with JUNK from the TV that Jesus would not want me too. But nice beautiful things from his world the Bible. Now I see things and people of all walks of life differently. Now I go into prayer quietly for them if I see a need there and then. I would appreciate God beautiful world more. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little ps sorry my reply is a day late xxxxx
Carol L. Gonzalez says
I wear an activity tracker. I have never gotten 10,000 steps in one day. The days I do cleaning seem to be the days I get a lot of steps in. I am 5’3″ and at my heaviest weighed 249 lbs. I now weigh around 230 lbs. Yesterday I did not even managed 500 steps! It was very hot here and I got a bad headache in the afternoon. But I know that God still loves me as I love him and His Son Jesus. I just want to encourage anyone who feels they fall short in the area of what they eat and how they exercise to just take it one day at a time and if you feel God truly tugging at your heart to change a habit than try to change that habit.