I couldn’t breathe. My chest felt tight. I could feel the anxiety crawling up my throat, leaving room for small, inconsistent breaths. Why? There was no reason. At all. This had been going on for months, although it seemed longer at times. This was a battle I could never win. Every swing would exhaust me. I’d take one step forward and fall two steps behind. I felt utterly pathetic. My strength gave out eventually. Too weak to fight, I got to the point where I gave my peace away. But that was the problem.
I was trying to fight a battle that had already been won — striving towards a victory I already had through Jesus Christ. I was allowing the enemy to exhaust me … until I stopped fighting. Yes, you read that right. I realized that fighting our battles isn’t really about fighting them at all, but about us stepping out of the way and allowing God to fight them for us — to lead us to the victory we possess through Him.
That anxiety, or whatever giant stands in front of you, was nailed to the cross and covered by His blood. Its been defeated and taken to the grave. That tomb isn’t empty but the tomb of our resurrected King is. It’s through the blood of Jesus Christ that we have victory over death itself and whatever we may face through our walk with God.
As we look across the battlefield, we may notseethe victory. We may even look down at our wounds andfeel just the opposite, but “In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Whether hell or high water, mountain top or valley, desert or wilderness, God will lead us to victory. It’s just a matter ofwhen notif. Sometimes that’s the hardest part, too. Waiting. Scanning the horizon for rays of sunshine that never seem to come. The more you walk, the more weary you become. I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve been reduced to nothing but a heap of scattered pieces, forgotten and discarded, many times over. I’ve held my mutilated heart in my hands, trying to hold it together, weeping over the pain and mess that lye in front of me.
For every wound I’ve received in battle, I’ve felt the healing touch of our God. For every tear I’ve shed over what was lost, I’ve felt His inexpressible joy. As difficult and painful as it was, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d willingly run through it all over again. Why? Because, sometimes you have to be disabled from your weaknesses so that you can learn how to lean into God’s strength. I had to go thirsty before I understood that I needed a drink from The Well.
I walked around as a victim and justified the issues I dealt with by my past. “I was treated that way so that’s why I react this way,” I’d say, trying to convince myself that my insecurities wereokayto carry. But I was never supposed to carry that baggage in the first place.
Every time I went back to my past, I’d unknowingly pick up another load and increase the weight that dragged behind me. No wonder I was weary. The past is meant to teach us how to livedifferentlyin the present. I realized that I didn’t have to live as a victim to my circumstances, and you don’t have to either.
You have authority. You have a weapon and it’s the name of Jesus, “ … at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10). NOTHING has power over the name of Jesus. Not depression, not anxiety, not a health issue or a storm you’re facing, nothing. The simple whisper of His name causes the depths of hell to tremble.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, the above issues are all real, but they aren’t more powerful than your God. Choosing to look them in the eyes and declare the victory you have through Christ is simply acknowledging that your God is bigger. It’s the moment we begin to magnify anything other than the name of Jesus that we start to bow to the very things that should be trampled beneath our feet. If the enemy can make us forget who sits on the throne, we’ll live defeated — overcome by what Jesus overcame. See, the enemy is smart. If he can distract and exhaust us with unnecessary battles (like he did to me), we pose no threat to his kingdom.
He’s not afraid of weary warriors, or wounded ones for that matter. He’s afraid of a warrior that wields their weapon of authority — the word of God “For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12).
When the enemy hurls his thoughts of defeat, discouragement and disqualification at us, we can take the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and cut straight through the enemy’s deception.
When the enemy says you’re unloved and not good enough, smile triumphantly and speak Isaiah 43:4 over yourself, “you are precious in My sight, you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in return for you and other peoples in exchange for your life.”
When you feel small compared to the size of the battle, know that just like Jeremiah, “‘They will fight against you, but they will not [ultimately] prevail over you, for I am with you [always] to protect you and deliver you,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 1:19). He sees you. He is with you. He is fighting for you.
So, soldier, take a deep breath. Lift your head. Take your eyes off of the storm and set them on the Savior. He’ll lead you and guide you. If you need a battle cry, listen to “I Am No Victim” by Kristene DiMarco, it’ll encourage you as you make your way to the front lines. With your sword in hand and God at your side, keep walking. It’s only a matter of time before you step foot into your victory.
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Have you ever thought you handle stress and anxiety well? I have. I've always thought that I could just push through life, ignoring my sometimes crippling anxiety and stress and times simply just because I could. I liked being busy, working and taking risks.