Saturday, December 4, 2010

Um, Duh...

I'm not sure I have ever been so excited for a Monday. This summer I decided that I don't want to be one of those people who wish Monday's away; after all, they are 1/7th of our lives! If you follow this blog at all, you know that I often write about the struggle to be present, my struggle to be present. I refuse to wish life away...but it is a constant process and battle for intentionality.

But a recent Monday wasn't like that. It signaled to me the welcome beginning of a new week, and more importantly an end to the last.

It all started on Wednesday, when I got sick and had to take midnight trip to the E.R. due to lung and breathing trouble. They weren't able to find an exact cause, and sent me home with some medication, with the disclaimer it may not work (less than encouraging). [Note: this disappointing and unhelpful resulted in an $800 hospital bill- are they insane???]

Thursday brought more illness and exhaustion, but by late morning I was able to do some work on the computer. I found out that my financial aid was messed up (thankfully I have been able to take care of that), which definitely increased my stress levels. For some reason, money issues just have this way of seizing my sanity and peace in the moment. As I was working on that, my computer contracted a virus. After working on that for an hour without success, I had to take it into the shop. [Cost: $130 more- it was becoming a REALLY expensive week].

Friday dawned fresh and new, and I was *sure* the day would go better. Or not. During the afternoon, as I left my house to drive into town, a lady bug crawled under the sunglasses I had perched on my head. When I pulled them over my eyes, it bit me right below my right eye. Yes, I was attacked by a ladybug (I'm kind of glad I'm not a guy, or I'm sure I would never hear the end of that). And apparently I am allergic to them, because within 15 minutes I could literally see the swelling out of my own eye. I stopped into the student health center, and they fixed me up.

While I was waiting in the office, I decided to check in with Josh, and he let me know there is now some uncertainty about the future of his job. Of course, what I heard in my head was "he's losing his job and we will have to move and I won't be able to be in graduate school and we can never be missionaries or have kids or have any other dreams and they'll probably even kick us out of our families and America, too." Or something like that.

By this point, I was feeling a psychotic break coming on, so I did what every mature, grown adult does- I called my mommy. And then she put my daddy on. I don't know what it is, but my dad just has this way of reframing things that just calms me down and makes me feel all is not lost (believe me, Josh knows and takes advantage of this fact often). Things felt manageable, once again.

But that lasted only for about an hour. I had an online assignment due Friday night, and hadn't been able to get ahold of the professor. After the allergic reaction, they instructed me to take some benadryl and sleep for a while. That was at 3, the assignment was due at 8- I figured I had plenty of time. Around 6:30 or so, I drove to the school to use the computers at the library. But guess what? The library was closed! CLOSED! What university library closes at 4pm on a Friday? I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I think I kind of did a little I'm-crazy-and-out-of-my-mind-right-now giggle, as no one was around (thankfully). After all, I am studying to be a mental health professional- the last thing I need is for someone to see me having a mini-nervous-breakdown and report that to my program. Ai, mon.

The weekend involved more ups and downs. When I got to school on Monday morning, I was about my weekend with a classmate who also happens to be a Believer, and she asked whether it might be spiritual warfare.

*Umm, duh...*

I told her I hadn't even thought of it. But it made sense. Just recently, Josh and I had been delving deeper with God, and making new commitments in our finances, marriage, and quiet times. We had been fighting hard in prayer for loved ones. It seemed to add up. We were a threat, and we were paying for it.

I can't believe we didn't see it. We have dealt with quite a bit of spiritual warfare before, but it didn't even occur to us that this could be the reason. We were blinded. We were lied to. The enemy is so sneaky...

But there was also something empowering about realizing that it was battle. We could fight back. We have the Victor on our side.

Sometimes I'll look at Josh and say, "Do you think this level of stress is normal?" By that I mean stressful circumstances, not our response to them. I mean, I work with people and their stress. I feel I have a pretty good handle on what may and may not be healthy levels of stress. We'll talk about it, and he'll remind me we have God and each other to rely on, and I'll feel better for a while. But one time he said something that changed my thinking:
"We have a target on our backs."
Josh is not afraid of the notion of spiritual battle. It's as natural and real and common to him as drinking water or breathing air. But I have to say I am much less aware, and often feel uncomfortable about it. I know it's true and real and have seen it with my own eyes, but I prefer to not focus on it. In truth, I prefer to pretend it's not there. I am like a little kid- if I shut my eyes against it, it can't see me.

Would that it were...

But it's not. We face the enemy everyday. We have a choice- to acquiesce, or to not back down from the fight. I would like to leave you with a quote from a 10-year-old girl who spoke to 11,000 college students at a Midwest conference.
"I'm not cute, I'm dangerous...and satan is terrified of me."

God, make us dangerous.


Anonymous said...

Be strong, God is on your side!

Also, I'd love to know the source of that remarkable quote.

Firistic said...

What a week! I honestly just had an um Duh moment as well. Sometimes it is so easy to forget that we are in battle and we do not put on our armor ( by we I mean me.) This has been an encouraging post to me. Thanks

Nicole said...

Thanks for the encouragement, ladies. Anne- I honestly don't know her name! She spoke for about 5 minutes at the 2006-2007 (it's over New Years weekend) One Thing Conference. Firistic- I am so grateful God used this post to encourage you! I agree; so often I get caught up in busyness and forget that "suiting up" is a matter of spiritual life and death. I praise Him for His grace and mercy in protecting me through those forgetful moments.

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