By: Staci Stallings
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the three words of a villain (or evil): Deceive, Dominate, Eliminate. Today I want to examine three more. The three previous words seem to me to be more about external power. The three today are more the playground of Satan on a individual core being. In short, the first three you will deal with if you’re in the world. The new three you will deal with every day on a very personal basis.
I’m not even sure where these three came from directly–it was no television program or anything I read. I’ve just been thinking about how depressed people seem to be not even at an external way, but at a core level. It’s like their life force has been spiraling down the drain for a long time to the point that just moving is work. Forget joy or freedom or vibrancy. All they are focused on is to get through the next five minutes, and sometimes it takes everything they have to do that.
A few years ago, I heard someone say that “Satan doesn’t have to conquer us, all he has to do is to confuse us.” That’s stayed with me–especially in my times of greatest confusion. Confusion is when we find ourselves unable to focus, unable to make a decision, a not knowing coupled with fear. It is being scattered, frantic, not at peace. Confusion comes when we don’t know what to do and we can’t make a decision. Sometimes it is the result of too many options. Sometimes it is the result of too few options–none of which are acceptable.
Confusion paralyzes a person. Often we feel in our confusion that it is better to do nothing at all than to make a move and do something wrong. Therefore, Satan uses our confusion to tip us off-center, not to dominate but to diffuse our thoughts so much that focus is impossible. For example, let’s say we are worried about our child who is having trouble in school. There are several things that can compound that difficult situation. The child may refuse to cooperate. The teacher may not be cooperating either. We may have other children who also need our attention. Our lives, marriages, work, etc. may also need our attention. The problem becomes exacerbated in the confusion of trying to do it all and failing at everything.
That’s Satan’s first weapon against us. In confusion, we are lost in a fog, and we will inevitably make mistakes–sometimes disasterous ones.
As the confusion swirls in our lives and as we see ourselves failing at more and more things, exhaustion begins to set in. This is not like normal tired, where you go to bed and sleep for ten hours and wake up better. This is a deep, bone-numbing exhaustion. Where life becomes a dull grind. There are just too many problems, too many issues, too much stuff to deal with, and it exhausts our ability to cope, to focus, and to find workable solutions.
In the story I’m writing right now, the young man has been a diligent worker for 18 years. He has tried to make his father proud of him, but his father pays no attention. As this section of the book hits its peak with him demanding his father pay attention and his father rebuffing him yet again, I see over and over again how tired he is. He has fought and fought. He has done everything he can think of to get his father’s attention and love, and nothing has worked. Now, he’s just tired. He’s tired of trying. He’s tired of busting his butt only to end up right back where he was to begin with.
Exhaustion can be a deadly place to be–physically and spiritually. It can literally be hell. A slow, torturous hell of lowered expectations and “oh, just forget it.”
In a video I have of Father Robert Barron, he shows a picture that was drawn of Satan at the bottom of hell, trapped in a block of ice. Evil is being paralyzed, with fear, with fatigue, with exhaustion. Exhaustion, I can guarantee you, is not of God. It points either to you doing too much or to you trying to do it all on your own–neither of which is healthy and neither of which is conducive to living an abundant life with God.
Finally, in Satan’s master plan is defeat. When the failures pile up and confusion reigns, when you’re exhausted to the point even thinking is impossible, your defeat is almost assured. A better word here might be “destroyed.” Satan wants you out of the game–permanently. He wants to destroy you, and I’m telling you, if he can get you confused and keep you there long enough, you will become exhausted and from there it’s a short trip to defeat and destruction.
So what do you do if you are battling confusion or exhaustion or even feel close to complete defeat. First, realize these are not of God. God does not will your defeat. He wants you to be victorious. But you cannot do that on your own power. In the story with the young man, he is now faced with the possibility of getting help. At first, he denies he even needs help. Then he says the help won’t help anyway. But you cannot escape from these destructive forces on your own. You need help.
God can and will help you if you will let Him. Go to Him in prayer, fall at His feet and confess that you have no power in the face of these forces, and plead with Him to help you. I told my husband the other day I have come to the point where I don’t have any desire to be on God’s right hand or left hand, give me the floor at His feet! I’m there constantly saying, “God, I can’t do this. Please help. I need You to come in here in a powerful way. If You don’t show up, I’m sunk.”
Really, it’s the best place I’ve ever been, and it’s a great weapon against confusion, exhaustion, and defeat. God’s got the answer. The question is, will you go to Him for it or keep trying to do it on your own? It’s your choice. Make it wisely.