I’ve noticed something the past couple of months in my conversations with leaders. Have you ever heard something in “surround sound” in the Kingdom? Typically, I take that as a clear sign to pay attention and seek the Lord about it.
A couple of weeks ago, one leader shared her version of the common sentiment I had heard from many others already to this point: “You know, 2020 was a lot, but we had so much to figure out that I was not feeling how I’m feeling right now… right now, at this point in 2021, I’m just kind of feeling at the end of what I seem to have left. I’m genuinely wondering if I am done.”
She was articulating that the energy and creativity and sheer necessity of that period of time early on this global pandemic had run out for her. Now, in this interesting period of 2021 where leaders are still sustaining change and unpredictable shifts, many leaders like her are also articulating a regular internal conversation around quitting.
If you’re reading this and you resonate with a degree of what many leaders in the community have shared with us, I hope you are encouraged that you’re not alone. But, I also think it’s a clear call to pay attention to what is really afoot here: the enemy is exploiting the circumstances surrounding us to attack us. He is strategically counting on the long game of his calculated discouragement to yield his desired results. Those desired results? You quietly and eventually turning in your keys and going away.
He is the author of chaos and confusion- we know this. I would submit, however, that we struggle to identify his attacks in the slow, steady needle poking holes in your energy, your courage, your conviction, your hope, and your perspective. We don’t see the chaos for what it is when it is slowly accumulating in the parts of our lives we rarely allow others to see. We don’t bring the confusion into the light when it feels like it is the “way things are” loop we live in.
The enemy is in the long game of commitment to your destruction. And destroying you looks like putting you in a corner, immobilizing you, and muting you… without your resistance. Did you catch that? Because that’s the kicker. He wants all your fight gone.
So, if this is who the opponent is, then what are we to do?
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”
– Ephesians 6:11-18
My friends, your responsibility is to stand in the full armor of God as He goes to battle for you. You are to be awake, you are to persevere, and you are to pray for your brothers and sisters as your King secures the victory.
I know I’m telling you what you already know right now, and I’m ok with that because it’s good for us to remind one another about what we already know (2 Peter 1:12-15). But as your friend and as one who is committed to cheering you on in your race, I have to ask: are you daily putting on the whole armor of God?
I ask not to heap any guilt or shame, but to lovingly ask the most important question… see, I know how easy it is in my own life to let this slide… to coast a bit. I raise my hand first and fastest in confession that I want to believe I’m strong enough on any given day to withstand attack. I confess in my pride, as well, that sometimes I even think I’m the warrior. But Scripture is clear:
- The Lord is the victorious warrior.
- We together are responsible to stand and endure in the battle.
That is how we fight- through worship, and through eyes fixed on the King who conquers the darkness.
So, my dear sisters and brothers, wherever you are today… however you are today… may you stand. May you put on the armor. May you see the King fight for you. And may you see all of us, your family, standing right alongside you.
Don’t give up.