Spiritual Warfare

Okay, this is a bit of a controversial topic. And I’ll admit, I am not the most informed on the subject. I still have so much reading and studying to do to truly understand the many different facets of spiritual warfare. But I wanted to share some of the things that I have been learning and discovering about this lately because it has honestly been both enlightening and terrifying.

Growing up, I knew that spiritual warfare was a thing. You always heard when you were leaving camp or retreats that you would leave on a spiritual high, feeling so incredibly connected to God, and then you would get home and drop to a terrible low where you felt distant and unable to feel God. They told us that was Satan trying to undo everything that we had learned and all the progress we had made with God during the week. He was trying to get in the way and make us doubt ourselves- and really, make us doubt God. I had experienced it myself several times, especially after weeks or weekends away where I really felt connected to God and close to Him. I came home and felt so utterly alone, no matter how hard I tried. But even though I had experienced those things and I knew that they were technically forms of spiritual warfare, I never really put much weight behind it. I didn’t realize just how sad it was- or the lengths that Satan will go to in order to get between us and God. John 10:28 say “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” So Satan cannot truly get in between us and God if we are saved and have truly put our faith in Christ.

But he will try.

That was the biggest thing that this summer taught me. Working at a Christian summer camp was amazing. It had challenges, like would be expected when you put 20-30 young adults on an island together for 10 weeks. But in those weeks, I felt so incredibly connected to God. I was spending time dedicated to reading and studying His Word by myself every morning. I was surrounded by other people doing the same thing and who were willing to talk about it and discuss different theological ideas. I went to a chapel service every night and learned even more about God and His Word from people who knew what they were talking about.

There were certainly moments that I struggled. There were difficult days and weeks this summer. Life at home doesn’t stop just because you’re away and there were so many things in my personal life both away from camp and at camp that I had to learn to navigate this summer while still working at 110% for campers and for Christ. And I could always see and recognize where Satan was attempting to take my focus off of God or where he was trying to slow us down or make it harder to work. It was something we talked about frequently- we had many different struggles sleeping in the girl’s dorm which led to us struggling during the weeks because we were too tired. And while we were careful not to jump straight to “This is spiritual warfare!!” because sometimes it genuinely was the choices that we were making that were slowing us down. But there were many times where it was very evident that there was something larger going on.

And then we came home from camp. And I discovered just how hard it is to combat those things when you are no longer surrounded by people going through the same things and ready to encourage you. One of my coworkers phrased it as “battle buddies”. People to go through life with you and hear your struggles and encourage you as you draw near to Christ and resist Satan- and you do the same for them. And it wasn’t that I lost those people when I came home from camp. I am still very close with many of the amazing people that I spent this summer with and I talk to them nearly every day. I have had many many conversations with them about what I am struggling with and a biblical perspective on it. But there is still a difference between physically spending every single day with people and then just texting or calling whenever you’re both free.

I’ve been struggling with a lot of different life decisions recently. I’m transferring colleges soon, so I need to decide where I want to go next, how I am going to pay for it all, and I’m still figuring out if this is the right career for me. Because I work on a college campus, I have to be a student in order to work at my current job. Because I am transferring, then, it means that I will need to find a new job- or maybe two. I have a couple different options to choose from, it is just deciding what I want to do. I have a lot going on in my life relationship-wise right now in multiple different areas and there are a lot of different decisions to be made with that right now.

All of these things have been weighing so heavily on me right now and trying to decide what to do has definitely been causing me a lot of stress. And there were moments that the thoughts and the different ideas and doubts were so loud in my head that I was becoming more and more frustrated and more and more discouraged. I was praying and I was trying to figure out what to do but I wasn’t finding any answers. I just felt more confused. I was becoming so discouraged and so unhappy that I was just crying half the time and I felt as if I couldn’t stop. I struggled with realizing whether these moments that had absolutely no peace were from God, telling me I needed to change, or if they were a distraction from him.

And then, while talking to a friend, I realized that the times that I felt as if the thoughts were loudest and the most difficult were the times that I was trying to talk to God and connect with Him. When I was driving places and listening to worship music and praying, I would become so overwhelmed that I would shut off the music just so that I didn’t have to think anymore. When I was doing my devotional time and reading God’s Word, I would start crying because all of the doubts felt so present. It was to the point that I didn’t want to spend any time with God anymore and I was just forcing myself to do it. And that is what it took for me to realize that this wasn’t normal. It wasn’t normal and the fear and lack of peace that I was feeling certainly wasn’t God telling me to change something. At least, not like this.

First of all: If it is from God, it will draw you closer to Him. It will not cause you to run from Him and not want to spend time with Him anymore. You may not like what He is saying all of the time. But, if you are truly putting your faith and trust in Him, you will still have a desire to talk to Him and do more to discern His Will rather than being afraid and becoming so incredibly overwhelmed.

Second of all: If God wants you to do something or wants you to change something, He will show you what to do and what to change. He will make it clear in your life and if you listen, you will hear it. He will not place a burden on your heart and then not show you how to get rid of it. He will convict you and show you the areas of your life that you are not honoring Him. He wasn’t doing that for me in this instance. I felt doubtful and conflicted, but I had no idea what to do about it.

Third of all: That does not mean that you will always feel peace about everything God tells you to do. There are plenty of things God tells us to do in the Bible that we do not want to do and that we might not feel peace about. Even something as simple as just being kind to everyone. We don’t always want to do that and we don’t always feel peace about doing that because sometimes we do want to retaliate and we want to defend ourselves when people aren’t kind to us. But Christ calls us to be set apart- in the world but not of it.

So all of this is to say… Satan is very present in our world. In our movies, in our books, in the media. He is looking for any and every opportunity to separate us from God and pull us away from Christ. He will use any means necessary. It is essential that we stay rooted in Christ and all that He has done and is doing for us so that we may combat the devil’s lies. We need our battle buddies to come alongside us and look out for us and point us towards Christ when we struggle to see Him on our own. Satan is strong. But our God is far stronger and through Him, all things are possible.

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