When the Dark Side is following you

darkside[The solo retreat series will continue next week. See the end of this post for more details.]

This week has been one of those weeks where you shake your head and say, “Did all of that really happen?”

[Yes, Betsy. It did.]

People say things happen in threes.  While this is true, in our case, it’s been more like sixes.

While a small part of me wants to curl up, nap, and be upset, I find myself following my normal course of being – which is determined to continue pulling up my bootstraps, be the best I can be despite myself and my tired body, and push forward.  At least that is always my goal.

I know. It would be at least a bazillion times easier to sleep it off and wallow, but I’m not wired that way. I just share my frustration with God, my journal, my prayers, my husband, or friend, have a good cry, forgive whomever or whatever the situation may be, and then I move on.  Some days are better than others, but most of the time I cannot stay mad.

Life is too short and we all know that curve balls are headed toward us. How we handle them is everything.

(Side note: I just wish I could master the curve balls of parenting! That is an area in which I would love to get a PhD so I could be my best version of myself as a Mom at ALL times.)

Sigh. Here’s the truth.  As raw, real, uncomfortable and yes-I-would-trade-in a lot of what’s happened this week, I find myself laughing at it in the face, because I know that if I don’t, IT will get me.

IT.

Spiritual warfare.

You know spiritual warfare too.


Spiritual warfare is that feeling that something is following you that isn’t good.

Spiritual warfare is the enemy that  wants to steal your joy, success, love, momentum, thoughts, and strong faith and belief that there really is something greater in our lives than what the world gives us.

Spiritual warfare is the greatest energy sucking, bad circumstance creating, relationship busting, world peace crushing presence that has the capacity to squelch our individual selves and collective communities.

Spiritual warfare is the presence of evil that would love nothing more than to steal your thunder, crush your spirit, and make you believe that yes, your world totally sucks.

Spiritual warfare is that negative spirit will tell you that you aren’t good enough.

Spiritual warfare is the spirit that will try to rob you of every good thought that you have so that you can join the side of life that is focused on deficit, victimization, despair, loss, insecurity, anxiety, arrogance, hatred, pride, greed, and so many other things that are not of a loving God.


We all experience and express these sides of our human selves.  We’re human.  I think the real question is this:

Do we say “yes” to spiritual warfare and give in or do we laugh at it in the face, stand up and stand IN our faith to say, “Get behind me. You’re not welcome here.”

We have a CHOICE when we get barraged with a series of life experiences that were not what we hoped, expected, or wanted.

Isn’t it much easier (or at least more fun!) to laugh at Spiritual Warfare and then just give it a dropkick straight back to where it came from?

For you Star Wars lovers, I cannot resist mentioning that to me, this is the real evidence of the Dark Side in our daily life. Yes – the real Darth Vader would love nothing more than to steal your joy, rip apart your awesome self and squelch your beautiful purpose and strong personal brand from existing. (Make your Darth Vader noises now.)

The Dark Side is real and is all about messing with your life.

In fact, I’m pretty convinced that the reason that my originally scheduled post was thwarted and this is now going out late is because when we try to do good in the world and help, it’s often true that there is a dark force that wants nothing more than for you to be quieted.  You get to decide.  Which do you choose? Dark or light?

One final thought to get your noggin’ thinking:

Mr. Rogers (my all-time favorite early childhood show) always said that when you see a crisis, look for the helpers.  (It’s important to mention that from a first-world perspective, and also based on the lives of so many I know, nothing about my week has come close to being a crisis, but it has been jam-packed with a series of consistently delivered unexpected negative events and painful kicks in the back side both big and small.)

Along the way, there have been beautiful helpers – angels. 

Angels on earth. 

These are people who help without expecting anything in return. A simple thank you is enough. They are compassionate, caring, patient, and selfless.  They don’t have any expectations other than to simply help as they are able and to try to make the situation better. They drop what they’re doing to be there for you with no gratitude expected in return.  They are certainly my idea of God’s army of angels on earth: in loving service to others.

Over the past week, some of my angels have been Barbara, Carroll, Sharon, Carol, Susan, Katrina, Sarah, the critter guy, and of course my husband and Mom.  Each of you supported me in ways this week that I can never possibly repay. I am grateful.

So this post is dedicated to all of the angels on earth that we have in our lives that come lovingly and loyally to us when God knows we need someone to remind us He is with us – always.

I think these angels are a further reminder that when spiritual warfare wants to come knockin’, God works with us to remind us that the Dark Side will never ever defeat His unconditional love and good plans for us.

Not ever.


 

Up Next: The Solo Retreat series will continue. We’ll return to the Retreat series where I will whisk you off to the Alaskan interior to Denali National Park and share with you how to take a solo destination retreat and how that helped me get reconnected to my need for curiosity and adventure. (No, I didn’t go backpacking alone. That is CRAZY.)