It’s never more my job to keep my kids safe than it is between 1 and 3 am. Why? Because that’s when the major crisis’ hit. The fearful story that someone told me once comes flooding back and I am responsible for preventing every future tragedy at 3 am.
I always wondered why I would wake in the middle of the night with the most random, distressing thoughts. Some would be fearful. Often they would feel stressful, like a problem I needed to solve or a situation I had to prevent. Something that I needed to address immediately. Of course when I woke in the morning I had a clear mind and realized how ridiculous those thoughts had been.
But caught somewhere between asleep and awake, the stress those thoughts induced always seemed to be justified.
Can you relate? Have you ever woken with anxious thoughts?
Mine would commonly revolve around my kids. Maybe some way in which I was failing them as a mom. When my oldest was having trouble learning to read I woke in a panic one night stressed that I needed to spend more focused time reading with her. The fact that she was fast asleep down the hall didn’t settle my mind from spinning out of control with thoughts in which I needed to remedy the situation asap!
These thoughts can become so routine they seem normal. This happens to others right? This is just part of life, part of motherhood?
June was a busy month and Brendan was away on yet another work trip when my 2 year old began waking with dreams of a lion trying to get her.
He roams around like a lion – looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He is not a lion, but he roams around like a lion, stalking its prey.
It’s interesting that after tempting Jesus in the wilderness “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13 ) Sometimes I think the night time is just that – an opportune time.
We are quiet, we are still.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
The Greek word for ‘prowls around’ is peripateo and one of the definitions means: to make due use of opportunities.
The Greek word for ‘looking for’ is zeteo which means: to seek in order to find, to seek after, aim at, demand something from someone.
And the Greek for ‘someone to devour’ is katapino which means: destroy.
Essentially, the enemy is seeking an opportune time to destroy you. To steal your peace, and to take your rest.
And while we can’t control the anxious thoughts that come our way, we can control how we respond. Do we entertain those thoughts? Do we dwell on them? Sometimes we don’t even realize there is another way.
The following verse in 1 Peter calls us to “resist him.” In the Greek this word is anthistemi which means: oppose, resist, and to set one’s self against.
But how do we do this? Especially when we are caught off guard, half asleep and these ideas seem so compelling? How do we say no to these anxious, fearful thoughts?
I’m going to be honest, holding onto peace is not an easy task – especially if it’s a new practice. But it can be done. It’s like working out. Difficult at first, but we build strength. We build skills. We can deflect those arrows with experience. We begin to take captive those thoughts.
The enemy has no authority in your life but he tries to gain it through fearful and anxious thoughts. He knows if it has worked before it may work once more, so he tries the same tactics again and again.
We can’t allow ourselves to be lazy in our thought life, by day or by night. We need to vigilantly take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) In the Passion Translation it says “we capture, like prisoners of war, every thought.” And that’s what it is.
It’s a war on your mind.
And it will feel like a battle. Not always. But at first. If you haven’t yet been building the muscles to take those thoughts captive they can seem huge and overpowering and it’s easy to feel defeated. But keep going. As you take each thought captive and give it over to Jesus He will replace it with peace that only He can provide. As you grow stronger in your thought captivity and your authority in Him you won’t wrestle those thoughts like you used to. You will experience a level of peace in your mind that you never knew was possible. The other thing I have found is that the more disciplined I am with my thought life during the day, the easier it is to take those thoughts captive at night.
We take captive those thoughts and we use the authority we have in Jesus name to tell the enemy to get lost. You tell that fear to go away – to go right back where it came from.
Simply put I can give you the advice I gave my 2 year old “You tell the lion – Jesus says go away!”