I sat at the kitchen table with the Best Intentions. My Bible is in the bag with my journal and prayer notebook at my feet. I bring out my laptop to finish listening to that sermon that blessed me so much yesterday. I make myself soup, one of my favorites, and sit to write a letter to my boyfriend, one of the many he’ll never read. Then from there, the battle began.
It was 2:30 at the time. I ate my soup in peace, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually play the sermon. I checked my email and my facebook multiple times instead. The internet wouldn’t work right. And in the waiting, my imagination went to places that would never please the Lord. It’s a struggle I’ve fought for a while, lust, that is, and last weekend I was at a retreat where I confessed and I believed for victory. But it was back in full force.
I became afraid. I couldn’t move. I was afraid if I moved anywhere my feet would take me down the stairs to my room where I would never be able to get up again. I became uncertain in what to do. I reached out for straws in trying to get away from the pull of temptation. But it would not leave, its hand firmly on my shoulder as it whispered in my ear all the things I knew were lies but I wished were true.
Listen to the sermon, I tried to tell myself. Or perhaps it was the Spirit that kept encouraging me to reach for what is good. Feed yourself the things of God. But I couldn’t. And the more I thought about it, this sinking feeling entered my heart when I realized, despite everything God has done, despite everything I knew to be true, I wanted to believe the lies. I still had a soft spot for the sin that has kept me captive for years. Like a twisted version of the Stockholm syndrome, I began to fight with myself. I bring before you blessing and a curse, life and death – choose life!
“God help me.” The words were out of my mouth before I realized they were in my heart. I walked around the kitchen. I stood on the balcony and looked over the city. I devised a plan to escape if I just jumped off the ledge and landed on the roof next door, then run to the tree and shimmy down before whoever is chasing me catches me. As though someone was chasing me.
I sat down at my desk again. The internet wouldn’t work. Feed yourself what is good. I kept trying to coerce the internet into working. Don’t think about it, don’t think about it. I checked my facebook. I watched a dance video on youtube two times – Yonce choreography, one of my favorites. Yet it’s seductive, and my mind went off again.
I closed the window and put my head on my hands. Nothing I usually did to distract myself was working. I couldn’t do what I was supposed to be doing at 4PM because I was scared of going to my room. It’s your choice, a voice said within me. You have the power to take hold of life. You are not helpless. You can stand in the victory that was already won by your Savior.
I opened iTunes. I pressed play. “… the anticipation of breakthrough!” the pastor preached. I sat, listening, letting the words of life wash over me like a stream of cool water after an eternity in the desert.
It was as though I ran around a dark room, trying hard not to give into the fear I had of it, and the entire time I had a flashlight beside me.
I finally turned on the flashlight, and the darkness disappeared.
I finally was able to see that Jesus had been here in the room with me the entire time.
Relief. Hope. Thankfulness. Joy. A renewed strength within me. The anticipation of breakthrough. The ability to chase away the dark.
Thank You, God. Thank You.