The other night I woke up from a really disturbing dream. There is a relationship in my life where there has been confusion, miscommunication, and heartache for a long time. I was trying to talk to this person and reconcile and repeatedly they were walking away from me. As is often the case in dreams, emotions were heightened to an unrealistic level, and I was incredibly emotional as I tried to right this wrong that has bothered me for many many months. I woke up shaken from the hurt and pain of the dream.
And in those moments of clarity in the dark of night when there is nothing to distract me from the reality of the battles I face, I realized something. The pain and heartache of that broken relationship was real. I was just not numbed to it in my dream like I often am in the busy-ness of daily life.
Suddenly in those moments of clarity, I saw my life as a series of battlefields, stretching around me as far as my eye could see. And I saw the scarring on those battlefields – the evidence of great loss and pain. I saw, in relationships all around me, that the enemy has slowly, quietly, and subtly taken ground and pushed me back. I saw that I was losing many battles at once.
And I saw that everyday I am numb to it.
I started praying – asking the Lord for the courage to fight back, to retake ground, to recognize the amount the enemy has taken from me in my daily hectic life, and to claim the victory that is mine. I saw scene after scene of sin and decay in my relationships and in my life. It was a slideshow of burned up ground.
I was humbled and shocked and yet grateful that all of this was being revealed to me. It felt empowering, like victory could be in my grasp. But first I had to see where I was currently losing the battle.
- I saw the areas in my life of insecurity and the pieces of my identity that I have handed over to something other than the love of the Lord, that are areas of territory that the enemy has taken. My identity and security should be in Christ and Christ alone.
- I saw the areas in our marriage that are weak, where we aren’t giving our all. Where we take each other for granted and ignore the most basic commandments about marriage that God has given us: for me, respect, and for Justin, love. I saw the time we should be spending in prayer and Bible study growing together taking our struggles to the King who created us, and instead we are watching a mindless TV show each on our electronic devices, barely even sharing time together, because we are just too tired to try. I saw burned up territory in our marriage, and that ground has been taken and we need to take it back.
- I saw the areas in my parenting where I am harsh and short and altogether unloving, modeling exactly the opposite of who God is to the precious children he has given me and who will suffer in their view of God because of my behavior. I saw the time we need to spend with our children studying the Bible and learning together how to love Him with all our hearts, that we don’t because of dinner and homework and bathtime and the messy house. That is ground that has been taken and I need to take it back.
- I saw the friendships that have devolved from loving relationships of mutual accountability and knowing the battles each other are fighting, to surface check-ins often over social media that are shallow and barren and not Biblical community. If I sometimes feel like I am drowning and alone, surely my friends feel the same way, and yet I’m not close enough to notice. That is ground the enemy has taken and we need to take it back.
- I saw the extended family relationships that have been terribly broken for a long time, and for the first time in a long time, I desired to do my part to bridge that gap because I saw that this struggle is not just between flesh and blood, but the enemy has been playing us behind the scenes.
- I saw the focus on and dependence on financial security I still struggle with as defining our health and blessing, when I know that all we have is the Lord’s and that He holds our days in His hands, and that He always has provided. That is territory that belongs to the Lord that I have given over to the enemy, and it does not belong to Him.
There was a lot of scarred ground. I spent a long time confessing and laying my heart bare before God that night. I had already been praying about lent. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to give up to help me remember the sacrifice of the God who gave His life for a sinful selfish person like me, and I think my prayer was answered in this dream and the aftermath. I think I am going to give up giving up ground. I am going to do what it takes to seek healing and restoration in these broken areas of my life. Whether that is praying or confessing, reading or seeking mentoring relationships or falling on my knees and crying out to the God who made me and knows my weakness, I am going to stop ignoring the battle raging around me and letting the enemy take over areas of my life where he has no claim to victory.
I am my Father’s daughter, and because of Him, and because of Easter, I have victory. This lent I am going to fight hard to remember that. Care to join me? Are there areas of your life where you have ceded ground and you need to start taking it back?