Do you find yourself spending more time looking back than looking forward? Do you have images which try to take up permanent residence in your mind, even when you’ve prayed about them? Do you feel condemned when you try to pray? If you’ve answered “Yes” to these questions, then welcome to the human race! You are not alone. At various points in every believer’s life, you will face giants. Did anybody tell you that? Probably not. And if they did tell you, you probably ignored their warnings. It’s easier to talk about the wonderful mountaintop experiences of being a Christian than to share the agonizing torment which accompanies a believer struggling to overcome temptations.
I can talk about victories ten, twenty, or thirty years ago; that would be safe. And you’d probably go, “Wow! What an overcomer! Look at that strong woman of God! But is anybody willing to talk about yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year? I recently finished a memoir and I was absolutely relieved. Did I tell you from beginning to end it took five years to write? That’s right, five years. And it was not a pretty sight along the way.
There were months when I proudly announced to family, friends, and co-workers, “I’m writing a book! ” They always wanted to know what it was about, and I’d say, “It’s about my life and how I overcame many obstacles to get to where I am today.”
They would typically reply,”How wonderfu!” Let us know when it gets published. I’d smile, sit up proudly, and say, “Sure will. I’ll keep you posted.” As I continued writing, I’d get to a certain passage and have debates with myself about including it in the book. Well, this went on for many weeks. I’d talk to my husband and two of my close friends about my feelings and then take their encouragement and pick up where I left off. However, I couldn’t shake fear, guilt, and self-condemnation.
From time to time, I fell into depression and despair. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get pass that passage. I had dealt with it through counseling many years before and thought I should have been over it. In fact, I didn’t want to talk about it anymore with my friends for fear they’d just say, “Get over it!” Believe me, I thought I was trying to do just that. But I felt stuck.
After a few more weeks of wrestling with God, yeah, that’s exactly what I was doing, I finally threw up my hands and surrendered my giant to Him. I remember thinking, “Father, You love me, in spite of everything I’ve done. And this act was a part of my journey in coming to You. You knew all about my past and You accepted me just as I was. And if that was good enough for You, then it’s okay with me. I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.” It was time to stop punishing myself. From that point on, my fear greatly diminished. I did not say totally disappeared. But now it no longer consumed me. I had control of it. Or should I say God had taken control. Then the peace came.
I Corinthians 10:13 reads as follows: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (NKJV)
Be encouraged, friend, you will get through your trial. Keep seeking God. He is Love! And He sees where He’s taking you. You may have to walk some difficult roads ahead, but He will see you through. I know.