Ill-equipped. Unqualified. Defeated. Have you ever felt this way before?
Whether we are managing little ones at home, writing our final college essay, or trying to finish the day without grabbing that chocolate sprinkled donut, somehow we always get to this point.
We want to shut the blinds, binge watch the latest on Netflix, and quit.
I know all about quitting. I quit almost every job. I quit every sport. I quit cosmetology school (although we could all be thankful for this one).
Every time I hit bumpy waters, I turn the boat around and look for the next smooth stream to float on. And every single time, the shame, regret, and guilt float with me.
Where I am weak, He is strong. The Lord has plans for me, good plans.
I repeat this over and over in my head, grasping at whatever hope is left, but my “inner chatter” often gets the best of me.
You’ll never finish. Just give up.
The other day, I was trying to write and I was struggling. I couldn’t download my thoughts to the page. I couldn’t relate to the topic I had been given.
I felt disorganized, like a tangled pile of extension cords, where every time I attempted to pull one out, it got sucked deeper into the mess.
I pulled out my computer and started googling – “verses for when I want to quit”, “verses when the enemy frustrates you”. Google is a fantastic tool for moments like this.
Nehemiah 4:15 popped up. I had never read Nehemiah before, so I decided to read the entire chapter, desperate to hear God’s assuring voice.
In the beginning of the book, God sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem to help Israel rebuild the wall. Immediately, as they began the work God had called them to do, the surrounding enemies mocked them.
“Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage, and insulted and mocked us…and so did his friends… “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they are doing?” he scoffed…“And look at those charred stones they are pulling out of the rubbish and using again…If even a fox walked along the top of their wall, it would collapse!” (Nehemiah 4:1-3 TLB)
When God calls, the enemy stalls.
The enemy always tries to stall God’s plans by attacking our minds. He wants us to question our purpose and our ability. He whispers doubt, hoping we will turn away and never complete what we’ve been called to do.
So how do we combat this? How do we move forward? I found three steps, in Nehemiah, to defeat the enemy and accomplish our task.
“Then I prayed, ‘Hear us, O Lord God, for we are being mocked. May their scoffing fall back upon their own heads…for they have despised you in despising us who are building your wall.’…when [they] heard that the work was going right ahead…they became furious. They plotted to lead an army against Jerusalem to bring about riots and confusion. But we prayed to our God…“(Nehemiah 4:4-5, 7-9 TLB)
Nehemiah knew what to do when an enemy threatens. He knew to turn to God in prayer and ask for help.
It is through prayer that we will find inner peace and that God gives us strength to go on. No matter how many times the enemy threatens us, God is always present, waiting for us to turn to Him.
“I placed armed guards from each family in the cleared spaces behind the walls…and said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Remember the Lord who is great and glorious; fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!”…the masons and laborers worked with weapons within easy reach…with swords belted to their sides.” (Nehemiah 4:13-14, 17-18 TLB)
Not only did they pray, but they set up protection also. With weapons close by and swords on them at all times, they were prepared for battle.
We, too, can protect ourselves with “the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 TLB). Every time the enemy attacks with doubt, we can capture those lies and exchange them for truth. With prayer and scripture, we are fully equipped to press on.
“We worked early and late, from sunrise to sunset; and half the men were always on guard…we carried our weapons with us at all times…The wall was finally finished in early September—just fifty-two days after we had begun!” (Nehemiah 4:21, 23, 6:15 TLB).
Nehemiah and the Israelites went back to work, weapons in hand, and finished the wall. The task may have felt daunting, the enemy consistently threatening, but they stood firm and continued on.
When the enemy stalls, finish the wall.
After praying and protecting my mind with scripture, I found the strength to persist on with my writing assignment. I still have a lot of work ahead, but I am trusting God to help me along the way.
Whatever your wall is, keep at it. Don’t give up. Pray, protect, and persist on. God is there to help you too.
“Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord…after you have suffered a little while, our God…will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever.” (1 Peter 5:8-10 TLB)