The Holiday Struggle... #EmotionalTraps
One of the greatest traps of the enemy during the holiday season is emotional sabotage! I almost fell in the trap last year, after YEARS of victory and teaching others awareness about the tricks and traps. Moral?...NObody is beyond being tempted, tricked or trapped if our guards are down or our focus is elsewhere (not that I believed that I was at the time, but you can become complacent when you are somewhat far removed from a particular struggle). You know how it is...the many feelings of being unmarried while the holiday season rolls in, the family gatherings and the endless posts across social media tend to foster the feelings of comparison and questions in our heads surrounding our current season. I will be honest, typically because Ive been single for quite some time now I tend to focus on my son, 4th quarter business goals and preparations in business for the upcoming year, ministry mindsets and the things that I'm grateful for as a focal point. Last year, however, had been the worst holiday season that I've ever had....let me tell you why. Trap #1: Transfer of Emotions The way that this works is, when we are dealing with one set of issues in our lives, if we are not vigilant to be aware overall we can miss a trigger in another area. Because remember, the enemy doesn't really care what area we struggle in...he just wants us to be consumed with struggling. Because my son (who is a transitioning pre-teen) had been dealing with some consequences of poor decisions in school my focus had been on implementing those consequences and juggling the disappointment as a parent and the undesired shift that this whole thing had caused our family during the holiday season that I hadn't even really thought about much else...let alone relationships. Emotional transference is the door that the enemy uses to sabotage us. If he can get us to focus solely on a given area without looking to and applying the Word in that area then its an open door to other areas that are now vulnerable. For instance, in thinking about and being consumed with the thoughts surrounding my son, the diligence that I typically put into place (increased fasting, prayer and intimate time in God's presence, reading Spirit led books), my personal emotions were left unattended and unguarded...in comes the thoughts of companionship, engagement announcements, discontentment...you naammee IT!! ( I had to, don't judge me...LOL). I'm usually on point with all of this...trust me...its been the difference between having a victory vs victim mentality over the years. Ha!...I'd been duped! See, by taking matters into my own hands and not trusting God with the harvest of the seed planted in the heart of my child, I absentmindedly played my little god complex and wasn't even aware of the damage being done on ground that I had gained so much on in the past. HE is the Lord of the harvest...I simply needed to trust Him. You have to "watch your weakness" while allowing God to become your strength. Trap #2: Comparison Simply put there are doors of opportunity for comparison waiting for any one of us that are willing to focus on others instead of keeping our eyes fixed on the plan of God for our OWN lives. This is an age of social media highlight reels that, if allowed, entice us into a realm of feeling, looking and acting according to what we see as opposed to BEING in the space that God has provided for us. It's seriously all a matter of focus and revelation, which is a thief of your contentment. Be determined to stay focused on the things of God for YOU...guard your heart during this holiday season (and every season afterwards). And don't let your auntie hem you up in the corner of the kitchen asking you about when you're going to get married and have babies....she'll be ok...let her and everybody else wonder!! God is faithful and His timing is impeccable. Proverbs 4:23-27 (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your game directly before you. Give careful though to the paths fro your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Determine THIS year that if you are struggling with feelings of discontent that you want the victory over before NEXT year that you will: 1. Be Honest with yourself and God, take the struggle to Him...NOT your girlfriends (No shade towards Regina and 'nem). Why? Because He is the one who can actually do something about it besides listen. Ask me how I know... 2. Be Obedient to what He tells you to do BEFORE the holiday season rolls around. This was one of my secret weapons that led to my victory walk! It took some time to notice the pattern that God would have me to walk out each Spring/Fall leading into the holiday season. Because it was a particular area of struggle for me initially (I really like family time, game nights, fellowshipping, etc.), He would usher me into systematic times of fasting, prolonged times of prayer and seeking His face on a very deep and intimate level. It created greater patterns of times in HIS presence over times in the presence of PEOPLE (that I typically craved) and it gave me victory over my emotions that tried to rise up EVERY season like clockwork. He was equipping me and strengthening me as long as I was obedient when He pulled on my heart to come away with Him. 3. Be Worded...yep you read that correctly! The Word of God is the greatest weapon against the attack of the enemy on your MIND. Jesus was tested for 40 days by the enemy and when he was faced with each attack He used the WORD to fight! Read Matthew 4:1-17 so that you can become familiar with HOW to fight!! Get your spirit man girded with as much Word as it can take, meditate it, internalize it, study it and memorize it...let it be the very nourishment to who you are. I pray that by sharing a portion of my experience that you were encouraged in yours! Leave a comment and don't forget to subscribe.