Anger, Fear, and Lies
There was no way he could have known when he parked his truck behind me to box me in. No way he could have possibly been aware of all the questions my mind had wrestled through that week. How many times I had asked Jesus if He was sure I should be their momma. Was I enough? Could I really give them what they needed in this tender developmental period of their life? Was I a good ministry partner to their daddy? Would he be better off with someone more skilled, more qualified, more more?
All he knew is that I turned in front of him and cut him off as he barreled down the highway. I didn’t mean to. He snuck into my blind spot and I honestly didn’t see him as I turned; I never would have pulled out if I had. But even though he didn’t know me, and even though there had been no accident, no damage to anyone’s vehicle or body, he felt the need to turn around on a busy highway during end-of-day traffic, and follow me two miles to the lake where I was taking my children to swim. I hadn’t gotten a good look at his truck when I pulled out in front of him, busy as I was trying to get out of his way, so I didn’t notice him following me. Didn’t notice him at all until I got out of my car, preparing to help my two-year-old out of her carseat, when we rushed into my personal space yelling loudly about what an [insert expletive here] idiot I was.
He couldn’t have known that I had already read myself the riot act for not seeing his truck as I pulled out. Told myself to be more careful next time, to choose a different, less busy route to the lake. Sure, it would take a few extra minutes, but it would be safer. For me and my children. He couldn’t have known that my oldest is starting kindergarten this fall and is equally excited and nervous (because she handles transition about as well as her momma does) and I had been doing everything in my power for weeks to make her feel safe.
And without any of that knowledge, full of anger fueled by fear… Or maybe disgust?… he ranted and raved and cussed me out in front of a group of startled onlookers while my children sat helpless in the car. I almost told him to back off, that this was totally unnecessary, but the animosity in his words scared me and I wasn’t sure how he would respond to pushback. Would he deflate or retaliate? So I told him I was sorry, I didn’t see him, then I didn’t say another word. Just waited until he had puffed out all his hot air, felt himself vindicated, and sped off dangerously fast.
He had no clue that the venom in his words was poison to my already wounded heart. But the enemy of my soul did. This crazy angered man was just a pawn in the devil’s hand. Because while it is perfectly normal to wrestle with questions of self-worth, to struggle with our roles as parents, spouses, and employees, the enemy will take any possible ordinarily occurring incident to drive our doubts home.
“See, you can’t even keep your kids safe in the car. You’re too tired, too self-obsessed to be a safe driver, how do you expect to be their mother?” And I was about to let those words sink in when I remembered… this man honked at me. As I was pulling past him he honked at me and sped up. Had he just slowed down like most people would when someone cuts into their path, I would have continued accelerating through my turn and would have been out of his way in an instant. But he honked, and startled me, and I slowed down to turn and look at the loud noise. I made an honest mistake and he responded with immediate anger, continuing his right to drive the speed limit rather than responding to the conditions in front of him. And then, he felt the need to seek me out personally to give me a piece of his mind. Anger that flairs that quickly, that seeks to punish and shame - that never comes from God.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit…” Romans 8:1.
The enemy will take every advantage to convince you that your flesh has ruined your spirit. He will scheme, plot, deceive and distract, and even deploy strangers to convince you that the weakness of your flesh negates the sanctification of your spirit.
Unfortunately for him, and gloriously for us, Jesus has something to say about that.
No Condemnation. None. Zip. Nada.
Nothing hangs over our heads. From our past, or in our future, nothing looms large over the sanctity of our souls. Our dignity comes from our Rescuer, and in Him there is only Love that drives out fear of punishment. And amazingly, when I accept that truth, and stop beating myself up for my perceived failures, Jesus’ grace grows large and covers my weakness with His power. But I have to recognize the voices speaking to me. I must be vigilant to name them and call them out. Fear, accusation, shame - not of Jesus. Hope, restoration, peace - His Spirit.
This time, the enemy showed his hand too quickly. He abandoned the voices in my head to show up larger than life in a foolish-looking, angry old man yelling obscenities at me. Even in my discomfort, that was easy to recognize. Once my heart slowed, and my kids were comforted, and all was well again, I called all that filth what it was - lies. I called Paul, and he prayed over me, I spoke my allegiance to Jesus out loud and claimed His victory and His truth over my life. I cancelled the enemies accusations and nailed them to the cross. Again.
So, Sir-in-the-big-black-truck, you have no power over me. Your malicious words don’t define me, and they surely can’t destroy me. I’m sorry I cut you off, I’m sorry I scared you. I absolutely didn’t mean to. But I did not deserve your words. And to the accuser of my soul, not this time. Today, I will not give you power via the doubts in my heart or the noise swirling around me. I’m tuning you out to listen to the Spirit’s whisper, and I’ll be sitting with Jesus. You can take your claims up with Him. Best of luck.
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