If you’ve been following me or have read my most recent book, you know that I grew up without my dad. Back then moms were expected to stay home with their kids. So that’s what my mom did.
She took very good care of my brother and me, but we didn’t have a lot. Christmas meant one gift each … often bought through the genius of my mother’s financial expertise, which could best be described as the Robbing-Peter-to-Pay-Paul method of survival.
On more than one occasion, we were the recipients of Holiday Cheer bestowed on needy families by a local charity. I remember receiving a food basket one year. Literally, it was a bushel basket filled with all kinds of tasty goodies … and some items we’d never seen nor heard of … and never opened.
But the time I remember most was the year of the Shopping Spree. I was in junior high. I don’t know how many kids were involved, but I do know I was one of them. The local discount store was still closed when a bunch of us kids were bused to the front door and turned loose inside to made purchases for ourselves.
What was the limit? I never asked.
I remember a volunteer trying to get me to make a decision about what I wanted. I’m sure we were there for more than an hour. It actually seemed like several hours, though I don’t recall. I ended up with one pair of dark teal slacks – made of lightweight material – and a coordinated printed cotton blouse. Not the warmest choice for a Kansas winter.
The volunteer tried to talk me into other things, but I respectfully declined. It wasn’t that I thought I was above receiving. I was just taught that you should never ask for anything. Never. Not even when something’s freely offered to you.
The enemy still uses that one against me today.
- He has continually attacked my finances, my relationships … and my identity.
- He tells me I can’t have what the Lord Himself has promised.
- All of Heaven’s resources are available to me.
- Yet – when I fall for the lies, I still opt for my own limitations.
Yes, I have far too often believed the enemy’s lies.
Maybe you have, too. We believe that we must suffer in silence … payment for our mistakes as well as our blatant sins. And we fail to receive the blessings the Lord has stored up for us. Wait! Didn’t Jesus die to pay for all of that?
That’s all a lie! And this means war.
If you’re like me, and you’re still struggling with the same old mindset … and the same problems keep you up at night, you’re probably stuck in some sort of Negative Cycle. We clearly need a new Strategy for Life.
One of my favorite Bible teachers is Priscilla Shirer, author of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. She puts it this way:
Strategies? Yes. Because as you may have noticed, the battles your enemy wages against you – especially the most acute, consistent ones – possess a personality to them, an intimate knowledge of who you are and the precise pressure points where you can most easily be taken down. Random accident? Lucky guess? I don’t think so. There areas of greatest fear and anxiety in your life are clues to some important spiritual information. They reveal, among other things, that a personalized strategy has been insidiously put in place to destroy your vibrancy and render you defeated. It’s been drawn up on the blackboard by someone who knows where you live and whom you love, knows your customary tendencies, and knows from long experience how best to exploit every single on of them. And maybe up until now, it’s been working.
But those days are over! Are you with me?
Théoden: I will not risk open war.
Aragorn: Open war is upon you, whether would risk it or not.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers