We can choose to play into Satan's schemes and enable his attempts to separate us from God's best. Or, we can choose to fight for our relationships and against Satan's divisive attempts.
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV)
Most days, I wake up fairly happy. It's not like I wake up in a mood for a party but generally I'm not grumpy when I arise. I wake up and things seem pretty good, level and fresh with possibilities. And then inevitably something will bump into my happy.
An early morning meltdown by one of my people. It's amazing what a bad hair day can do to a teenager's attitude.
Or a forgotten something for school. And one of my people wants their irresponsibility to suddenly become my emergency.
Or an email from somebody who clearly gets pleasure from trying to bring others down.
Or me misjudging the time and suddenly everything is rushed, hurried and stressful.
Or my husband, Art, lowering the thermostat in the house to 68 degrees and I can't stop shivering until the temperature hovers closer to 72. It's amazing how much difference four degrees makes.
Things happen. Things that bump into my happy. And suddenly I'm a little off-kilter and little less nice.
Can you relate?
Well, I'm learning something about a little mental perspective I need to have when things bump into my happy. In that moment, Satan is scheming to have me help him out. If he can just get me jostled to the point where I react out of anger, it's like lighting a spark near a puddle of gasoline.
Even the smallest spark can ignite quite a fire. A fire that will spread and feel much bigger than what the situation ever should have been.
Take the temperature discussion for example.
It should be just a simple discussion about the thermostat. But, add a little anger and suddenly things in my brain escalate to the point where I've just about convinced myself Art is completely insensitive and couldn't care less about me.
Is that true? Of course not. He just likes to sit in his house without sweating. Surely, we could find a compromise with the temperature or I could go put on some socks and a sweatshirt.
Instead, when he bumps my happy, a "growth opportunity" ensues that leaves us both feeling a little burned.
In other words, I play right into Satan's scheme and help him out. Remember, Satan's very name means one who casts something between two, causing a separation. Be it a temperature issue, tight finances, a misunderstood statement or one of the millions of little things that can bump our happy ... we have a choice.
We can choose to play into Satan's schemes and enable his attempts to separate us from God's best.
Or, we can choose to fight for our relationships and against Satan's divisive attempts.
When I think about it in these terms, it helps me identify the real enemy.
My real enemy isn't any of the people who bump my happy. My real enemy is the one who tries with all his might to get me to jump into a grumpy mood and help him tear down all that I love.
Knowing I need a strategy against these attacks, I turn to the wisdom found in Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
You better back up and back off Satan. I'm on to your schemes. You are my enemy, not people. And now I have a totally new game plan for when my happy gets bumped. Starting with finding just the right pair of socks and a sweatshirt to wear in the ice cave.
Dear Lord, sometimes my happy gets bumped and my emotions get the best of me. Help me to react in a way that's honoring to You instead of reacting in a way that will fuel Satan's agenda. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What bumps into your happy and sends you off kilter?
Could this realization that it's not just you feeling jostled, but a scheme of Satan's to separate, give you a different perspective?
James 4:7, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (NIV)