He is a shadow that isn’t dependent on the sun to keep you company. He attaches to your very self, and whispers in your ear just the right things to paralyze you from moving forward. He lies, and the lies are so persuasive because they’re threaded with enough truth to sound convincing. He is a broken record, a magnifying glass up against your worst qualities and biggest mistakes. He holds a lens in front of your eyes through which you see see all the opportunities for failure and hurt. People are no longer beings to connect with who can provide comfort and encouragement, but those we avoid because we’re sure to decrease the joy from their life, or they’re sure to be a witness to our lack of worth and spread the word. We alone are privy to this dark secret. Dreams and goals run ahead without us and we watch them fade into the horizon for someone else to pursue. Suddenly our entire purpose is questioned. What’s the point? Why am I here? Does anyone see any good in me? Is there any good in me?
He is the one whose name draws Halloween costumes and cartoons in our mind. We picture red pitchforks and horns, yellow eyes and fire and brimstone in the pits of hell. We don’t imagine him wearing angel’s wings and a kindly smile, even though he often disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). We think we’d be able to spot him a mile away, but he is known as the father of lies (John 8:44). He was the first to deceive and will be the last to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9). He is the person you trust to help when you’ve broken down on the side of the road because he’s kind and eager to serve, only to find yourself beaten, raped and left for dead in the ditch while you blame yourself for being so stupid.
I write because I believe I have something to give. The moment I don’t think I have anything to give my joy for writing ceases. Yes, I like to tie together adjectives and nouns and verbs in an eloquent chain that pulls a reader into the very soul of a story. However, without a story to tell there is nothing to tie together. I open the cellar door where my ideas and passions were collected like fine wine waiting for the perfect time to open and pour out for the masses to enjoy, and I find empty bottles and corked wine. I look around and wonder, what happened? How could I have been so stupid to leave the door unlocked for someone to steal and destroy?
In Priscilla Shirer’s book “Fervent” she addresses various aspects of prayer and how to grow in fighting against Satan’s schemes. She lists 10 ways that he attacks without our realizing it: He attacks our passion (Ephesians 6:10-20), focus (2 Corinthians 11:14), identity (Ephesians 1:17-19), family (Genesis 3:1-7), confidence (Revelation 12:10), calling (Joshua 14:8), purity (Isaiah 59:1-2), rest and contentment (Deuteronomy 5:15), heart (Hebrews 12:15) and relationships (1 Timothy 2:8). Those whispers we hear that slowly strip us of our joy, or life and our freedom are the enemy slithering his way into the cellars that contain what we hold most dear, attacking those very things that make us who we are.
In 2012 I prayed, asking God to let me know if making a living as a writer was something he wanted me to do. I wanted it, but I knew if He didn't, then it'd never really be as successful as I hoped. I prayed, “God, if you support this and will help me succeed with my writing, that ultimately will glorify you, help my first book to get published before I’m 25.” Ten days before my 24th birthday, A Winter Storm was on the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. After that, I put my writing on hold because of the lies I mentioned earlier. I began to get back into my writing in 2016 after months of creatively sitting on my behind. It felt like the mental version of getting back into the gym. I ached, it was slower coming than I’d prefer and I was far more winded than I wanted to be. For weeks I paused every sentence or two wondering if I was doing it right. Then I’d give myself an awkward pat on the back for simply grabbing hold of the weights (or pen) again. Since November I’ve been writing every week, in January I made a goal to write a 1,000 words a day. In six weeks I completed a 70,000-word novel, and the last two weeks I’m averaging 2,500 words a day. All I had to do was decide what to believe, and act on it.
One thing that stands out to me in the midst of all of this is choice. We’ve been given a gift of choice that allows us an escape route from the lies Satan dumps in our hearts and minds. We get to choose what we believe and what will direct our actions. Even in the darkest of places, we can choose to believe there is a light. We can choose to believe that rather than being blind, someone has slipped a blindfold over our eyes. Just because we can’t see doesn’t mean nothing is there. Diving into the Word of God makes all the difference in the world because He who cannot lie (Titus 1:2) speaks tens of thousands of passages of truth to be the lamp to our feet when we’re lost in the dark (Psalm 119:105). Those words that isolate us and leave us in the dust while our most treasured dreams run away… they can be squashed under the book of Truth.
The enemy is cunning and frightening. He is the virus in a computer with a sunny screen saver. He is the poison in a delicious looking chocolate cake. He lies. We buy the computer and eat the cake because it looks good and all of our past experiences say it’s okay. But only the Word of God can give us wisdom to see the virus in the glitch on the screen saver, and the strange aroma to a cake filled with chemicals. He gives us the light. Even when we can’t see it, we have to believe it’s there until God sees fit to remove our blindfold. The alternative is to self-destruct, which is exactly what the enemy wants.
Today, I’ll write. If I can maintain this discipline, and faith in God’s provision and guidance, I’ll have four novels available for purchase by fall 2017.
How are you giving in to the lies? How can you hang your hat, and live your life, on God’s truth?