But I don't just mean the ones that most of your moms taught you not to say. I have written about one of them several times over the last few months: FEAR. Tonight I am reminded of another: QUIT. The enemy would be pleased as punch if we would all just quit.
My battles with self-esteem can complicate things for me relationally. I find myself haunted by a mild panic, and I often find myself stumbling around through a minefield of insecure comments and unneccesary apologies. It's not always this way, of course. But there are times when the fear of abandonment kicks in, I start acting like a weirdo, and it just spirals down from there. Often times, I can hear exasperation in the voice of a friend, and the self-loathing doubles. When I walk away, the enemy comes at me: "QUIT," he says. "Throw in the towel, give up the battle, surrender any visions of overcoming. QUIT. Save them the trouble of more exasperation. Hide away. You are always going to be too much work. You will never overcome the nervous comments and annoying insecurities. QUIT."
"You are beyond hope. QUIT."
I heard it loud and clear as I drove home tonight. And I was ever-so-tempted to say, "You know, you're right. I'm not worth the trouble. I give up." Oh, how he would have loved that! Why? Because he wouldn't have to be afraid of me anymore. That's right, I said "afraid of me". The enemy knows full well that if I fight for truth and continually let God bring beauty from my ashes, my life will be a spiritual force to be reckoned with. Satan fears me when I say, "I will not quit until I see every part of my life redeemed by him who loves to redeem, and restored by the one who loves to restore. I will not quit until I have allowed him to make me a blessing, because he and he alone is able to do so. I will not quit until I have seen that he can make all things, even me, beautiful in his time. Heck no, you filthy liar, I will not quit."
On nights like tonight, it takes everything in me not to throw the towel in. But I have been given a different four-letter word: HOPE. Hope that God really won't give up on me, and that he will delight to make masterpieces out of my messes. I know that this particular journey is going to continue to be a bumpy one for me. I am going to have to get up tomorrow morning and risk rejection and failure all over again. But I have hope that, if I let him, God will show me yet again that he does not give up on me.
When the people of God choose hope over fear and defeat, we are a force to be reckoned with indeed. When we let him be the redeemer he is, the God who is able to make all things new, then we make way in our lives for God to express himself in a ways we could never have imagined. His incredible power is made perfect in our weakness, and the world is changed.
Unless, of course, we quit.