Photo courtesy of Tracey Lee
There was joy when it happened. There was relief, fear and giddiness as well. It was a flood of emotions and not all of them good. In the midst of success there was a nagging voice... Small, but undeniably present. A voice that said, "All well and good for now, but what happens when they find out? What happens when they know you better? What happens when the reality police come knocking and call you out for the imposter that you are?"
That voice is something I have dealt with all of my adult life. You would think that after I became a Christian it would have dissipated but it didn't. It may have even gotten worse. The voice asks me who I think I am to sit down and write out anything that might pass for encouragement, advice, or knowledge. The voice strives to rob me of any joy in what God has called me to do. That voice.
While I could sit here and tell you nothing of the voice, pretend like my success in getting an article picked up on a web-zine was well deserved and something I worked very hard for, I would be lying. I would be lying to myself and I would be lying to you. It would be a lie of omission, but a lie never the less. I had been struggling with how to confront it head on and was coming up short. Then I got a phone call.
She was strong to start with, no nonsense and all business. She is a confident woman, and someone I often turn to when I need encouragement. She was giving me the low-down on details I needed for the day and the subject turned to a struggle she was having. I am invested in who she is, and so I listened. I listened as she wrestled with her perspective and her finances, and her life in general. And then she said it. I didn't make it up, I didn't "mis-hear" her. In wavering tones heavy with emotion she said,
"I feel like I am a little girl in a grown-up's game and I don't belong here!"
It was as if someone had turned the light on in a darkened room and the brightness hurt my eyes. I was not the only one dealing with "The Voice." That insidious conviction was not my exclusive domain. It was a part of everyone and it infuriated me in an instant! I was relieved to hear that I wasn't alone, but I was immediately angered that this nasty voice was robbing the joy in my friend's victory! She deserved better... She deserved to bask in the celebration. We get so few successes in our lives, she needed to be able to enjoy it just one moment before the hard work started again.
It was in that instant I realized I needed to act. I needed to convict that voice in my head that he was not in charge. He was nothing in the face of my God. He was already defeated and he could not have my dreams to take along with him. The Enemy feeds on regret, fear and doubt that lives in every one of us. When God gives us victory, that terrible voice will be right behind reminding us of how much we don't deserve it. Just like any good lie, there is truth in it.
We don't deserve it. We cannot earn the love of God. We do not deserve the grace of God. God gives his gifts to us because he pleases to do so. These things and the success God shows us come at His whim, His timing and His pleasure. So in actuality, Satan is right and incredibly smart to attack on that level. After all, we fall for it every time. The thing is, he is also a tired old man who cannot come up with anything new and innovative to try to steal away God's glory. He will attack the same way over and over again. It is time that I am prepared for his attack and ready to act with truth instead of self pity.
There is a saying, "When Satan comes to remind you of your past and all of its failures, remind him of his future!" He is already defeated - Don't go down with him! Take the gifts God is giving you, thank Him mightily and remember that He delights in you because you bring Him glory. Accept His gift to you with a thankful heart and praise God for His love of you. Turn away from the temptation to follow the enemy in his accusations. You cannot ever earn God's favor, but you can rejoice in it as your gift from a loving Father who has claimed you as His own.
Be blessed today by the things God has allowed in your life. He wants you to know exactly how much He loves you. Though we may not always see His works in our lives as good, He is working to create in us the most glorious beauty of all - the replication of His Son's image in us.