Lately, I have been believing big. Like, really big. The hardest part of believing big is the enemy. He is literally the worst.
I have had a lot of time alone. In the last two weeks, I have been deep in what I and many of my writer friends call, the writer’s hidey-hole. And it is there, I get to meet with Jesus in a very dear way.
The book of Romans is where I nested, and I could have stayed there forever, except… I ran out of coffee. And I do love Jesus. Also, I need coffee. See what I did there? There is no but in a good “I love you.”
I have said that for a while. I think it is in all of my books. I know it is in the new one because I just finished reading the manuscript straight through, for the third time. But in case you haven’t heard it or read it, “I love you, but…” is a contingent love. The same goes for sorry. “I am sorry, but…” means you are about to take back the apology.
Just don’t bother.
So I got more coffee and then jumped back into Romans. I was at a little extended stay hotel for five days. Just me, Jesus, and Romans. I wrote 40,000 words. Grammarly, the interactive editing software I use, sent me little badges and “WHOA! LOOK AT YOU’s.” Which made me feel accomplished and a little braggy.
And at one point during my trip to finish book three, “Well, Girl: An Inside Out Journey to Wellness,” I was so utterly undone by revelation, I sat like a statue for more than 20 minutes. I needed to sneeze, but I was petrified to move.
Paralyzed with the notion, I would lose the feeling of Jesus, so near.
Because I was alone, and really only communicating with author and friend, Katie M. Reid, who was proofing chapters, I talked out loud to Jesus. I’ve decided I am kind of jealous of monks. Not the not talking kind, but the alone with Jesus kind. I mean I missed my family, well, there toward the end. However, I can see the benefit of the extended isolation, alone with Jesus.
And I am a glass-half-full kind of gal. Which might be why I was totally caught off guard by the hardest part of believing big. In the midst of the writing about this Jesus, who loved us unto His death, it started.
Scary, yucky, dreadful thoughts bombarded me. Thoughts of death, worries about the future, and a billion other negative scenarios attacked from every corner of my mind. I would talk out loud to Jesus, get my wits about me and then… something ugly would creep up from behind and pounce.
It was at this point I decided I couldn’t handle the pressure of being a monk.
Which is exactly what I believe the enemy does to those who believe big.
I recently heard a podcast where a Jewish man was explaining that the Jewish belief system doesn’t believe in hell or the devil. I don’t need to research this, whether they believe that he exists or not, I believe he is alive, obnoxious, and on the prowl.
I don’t like to give him credit for anything, but in some ways, it is irresponsible to not.
Sometimes, I think he is used as a crutch, “the devil made me do it.”
Nah, I don’t think so.
But he likes to interfere and I feel he is most effective at stopping believing big.
It makes no sense that I would be steeped in good words and life-changing revelations, go to sleep with freedom sweet on my tongue, and wake in a cold sweat convinced my children would all soon perish.
I don’t think like that. And, I don’t ponder tragedy. I focus on what is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — I think about these things and the God of peace is with me” (Philippians 4:8)
It is that last line, “think about such things, and the God of peace will be with you,” that advances me. And the body drifts off to slumber and the mind plays its nighttime games complete with unicorns, superpowers, and encounters with my third-grade teacher at a coffee shop in Rome. Or maybe it was Ohio. I don’t know.
And the enemy attacks. Above all, he doesn’t want me to believe big.
Moreover, he doesn’t want us to encourage each other to believe big.
I am fully convinced he doesn’t want freedom for us, the Daughters of He who is love.
So, I rebuked him in Jesus name, a name he cannot stand before, and I continued to work. The God of peace right next to me.
And the pesky one nudges.
In turn, I step away from believing big to question my sanity and my God. “If I get too close to Him… maybe I will be tested like Job?!?!”
The enemy is slick if nothing else. And he is not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, he is just a creep.
A creep who doesn’t want me or you to believe big.
And I am convinced that he barely notices my existence when I am just rolling through my days, a nod to God here or there. There, I am of no consequence. But when bathing in the Word, uncovering new freedom, and putting it in book form, well, that he will not tolerate.
So he hisses hypotheticals and he barks lack, doubt, and terror.
Y’all, he is just gross.
One of my top 10 humans on the planet, my dad, has volunteered to travel to the Bahamas for two weeks to help with hurricane recovery. My dad is 70, but that is of no consequence. He doesn’t act a day over 41. Honestly, does anyone think 70 is a big deal anymore?
I heard myself say, “he’s only 70,” the other day. It seems the older I get the younger my elders seem. But look at me, up at 2:00 am trying to talk myself into believing big, clinging to the promises of Jesus, the enemy quick on my heels. I woke up an hour ago, blonde curls matted to my skull, my favorite pajamas soaked in sweat, my entire person drenched in fear, worried about my dad and the tasks before him.
This is the consequence of believing big. I have no doubt it is the hardest part.
Were I to be lukewarm, he would not bother with me at all.
But when I am on fire for Jesus, he seeks only to put the flame out and drag me back to mediocrity.
He is the worst.
And I am up in the wee hours to battle him with truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness, the admirable — the excellent and praiseworthy — and the God of peace is with me.
I won’t waste this time awake and I will do the opposite of what the yucky one wants and tell whoever is reading, believe big.
Furthermore, he is small-minded. Preying on my insecurities, “This post is too bold. You sound arrogant… too wordy… too much.”
Good grief he is predictable.
I barely want to give him this much time or attention, but this time I have to.
For it is the opposite of what he requires. If you are reading this, hello Dear One, I am here to fight a battle, and encourage you, believe big.
Powered by this, we are a bigger threat than he can stand. Really, he is such a coward. And he can’t stay in the presence of our God. Our best weapon is to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable — excellent and praiseworthy, so the God of peace will be with us.
So yes, my sleep was disturbed with thoughts I will not entertain. And morning might come too soon. Still, I believe.
For if God is for us, he is barely against us. Although he’d like to try, and obviously he will, I stand firm in my love of Jesus and will continue to believe big. I will scarcely address him…
Nanny-nanny-boo-boo, I know who wins and you will not stop me from believing big and shouting triumph from the rooftops!
Jesus be all over us. Stay near to He who saves… and the enemy must flee.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
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