“The story of your life
is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart
by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.”
John Eldredge, Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive

It almost seems like a dream to me, that season. I wouldn’t call it a nightmare exactly, but it was dark and desperate, and I couldn’t find my way to morning. I drifted through days marking time, barely living in the ways that matter most.

Right foot . . . left foot . . . breathe in . . . breathe out.

Perfunctory motion got me through another day.

That smile on my face was a masquerade, a lie — camouflaging the truth of my fractured heart.

I hid it well, or at least I think I did. Mostly anyway.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.

It wasn’t difficult to hide behind my children. With three in school it was easy to volunteer myself to death. I hadn’t yet made the discovery I was an Olympic peace-keeper and people pleaser (something for which I’ll likely be in recovery ’til the end of my days), but I didn’t want to bother people with my woes. I had lived in this place only a short while and friendship roots were shallow. Plus, there were so many bigger, worser problems in the world.

Comparison is always a thief, isn’t it? 

Comparison can rob us of joy, yes, but sometimes she steals the dignity of our struggles. To suggest that my battle holds no significance simply because your battle has presumably greater weight is disservice to us both.

If it matters to me, it matters.
If it matters to you, it matters.

It was so long ago, but memory brings it close. Remembering even now brings shudders. But there was something I (finally) learned that changed e v e r y t h i n g.

Maybe it was because I had felt like a dead man walking that I had even bothered to pick it up in the first place. We were on a family night out at Barnes and Noble, and I was mining new Christian releases. The title grabbed my attention — Waking the Dead — and I ordered a coffee, sat down, and started reading.

Most nights we didn’t purchase books, but Eldredge’s message was compelling, and I’m convinced, divinely appointed just for me. I went home and finished it over the next day or so.

And I finally awakened from my slumber.

All these years later, I can’t tell you much more than 17 syllables about that book, but I’ll never forget Eldredge’s words at the top of this page, and a few Scriptures that slipped from my head to my heart, carrying with them wisdom, truth, grace, hope, and healing.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” {John 10:10, ESV}

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” {Ephesians 6:12, ESV}

What became beautifully clear to me was how intimately Jesus knew me — my despair at the time, certainly, but also my great but not-yet-fully-realized potential — and that, indeed, I have an enemy whose greatest delight is my defeat.

There is an enemy of my heart who wants to Tar-Baby ensnare me by occupying my mind and energy by engaging him.

  • When I focus on my disappointments, circumstances, or shortcomings.
  • When I harbor unforgiveness, bitterness, or envy.
  • When I esteem my rights or feel entitled in marriage or other relationships.

I am definitely not “looking to Jesus” nor “considering Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that I may not grow weary or fainthearted.” {See Hebrews 12:1-3}

Do you understand what I mean if I say “Jesus is our current but satan is our riptide”? Christ is for us but satan is against us. Any instance, every time.

If God is for us, who can be against us? {Romans 8:31}

  • If you’ve received a cancer diagnosis, God is for you.
  • If your husband has lost his job and your part-time position isn’t enough to make ends meet, God is for you.
  • If your promise-ring-wearing daughter gets pregnant, God is for you.
  • If you find drugs in your son’s pocket, God is for you.
  • If you’re painfully lonely or battling addiction or tangled in a secret sin, God is for you.

Make no mistake my friend, at least to some degree, “the story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it” but it. is. not. God.

The enemy of your heart knows you’re made in God’s very image (he is not), and his greatest challenge and victory is to make you forget who your enemy is. Don’t let him have his way. Don’t let him win.

Fight as if your life depends on it — because it does; not by engaging your enemy, but by remembering you are loved without condition.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” {Romans 8:38-39}

Remember who you are. Remember Whose you are. If God is for you, who is against you?

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  • Jas

    Hi Robin, I’m not sure what you went through or have overcome but I have to commend you on what you have written here and the positive attitude and I guess positive and loving path you have followed. It is so well written and it speaks straight to me tonight, to my heart in my circumstances over the last days and weeks. God is definitely talking to me through your hand and I thank you cause it is so lovely to be reminded of whose I am. That God is for me and the reminder when I focus on the “mistakes” and listen to the “I’m not good enough” which is a vicious cycle of harbouring bitterness and anger holding on to grudges for so long you don’t remember why you were angry in first place, it all sounds a little crazy really…but to know that imersing myself in the negative is actually allowing the enemy in… is a real eye opener for me. I love God and Jesus so much but always listen to the “not good enough” “made too many mistakes again and again” is actually the enemy talking.

    I am going to Remember who I am, Whose I am and that God is For Me.
    Thank you xx

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Oh, Jas…((hugs)). Your words here are an encouragement to me, and I’m thankful you took time to share your heart. I’m praying for you now NOT to listen to the convincing hissssss of your enemy, but to orient your perspective toward Christ when you’re tempted to believe those blasted lies.

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Robin,
    You bring up a very good point, and that is to not engage the enemy. The moment we crack the door open (begin contemplating the negative thoughts in our head) he sticks his foot in the door. The more we argue with him, debate, analyze…the more he invites himself in. It’s taken me a long time, but as soon as I notice the “red flag” warning signs that I am under attack – feeling anxious, feeling condemned, feeling like I’m disappointing God, feeling not good enough, etc. – that is my signal to flee. Sometimes I’m able to replace the enemy’s lies with God’s truth, but if I’m not, I still know I need to drop that negative thought like a hot potato. God is our current. The enemy is the riptide. Beautiful and much needed post…great reminder to me that God is FOR me, as I have been under attack lately. Thank you!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • http://livingcenter.me/ Nancy Wolfe @ livingcenter.me

      We tell our kids to ignore the bullies and they will go away. We turn right around and engage the Enemy, thinking we will have a different result. Oh, goodness, me. We need to just shut the door. Blessings, dear Bev…Let’s remind each other that God is for each of us…xoxox

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      That current/riptide metaphor is a strong one for me–I’ve felt the strength of both (literally and figuratively) and it helps contrast what is Good and True to what is evil and false. Blessings to you, Bev!

  • Kristy

    This is a message God has delivered to me every day this week. So powerful.

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Amen….

  • Anna Smit

    John 10: 10 and Romans 8: 38 – 39 have been powerful verses God has spoken into me this past year. I had the last one on my fridge in the throes of PTSD flashbacks, despite being told: “Isn’t that a bit over the top?” No, it most definitely wasn’t! And reading and re-reading it tethered me to my One and Only Hope!

    Your post is SO full of powerful truths. I pray it speaks powerfully into those reading it. And it’s a good reminder for me to look back in thankfulness at what God has been working in me and still is! Yes, God is for us, even when our circumstances and accompanying emotions would call us to believe otherwise.

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Anna, oh, how I love the picture of being tethered to God through his word! Thank you for that word picture! (and I’m a “words of encouragement” gal, so thank you for your thoughtful comment.)

      • Anna Smit

        You’re so welcome. I’m so glad it blessed you. The tethering to Hope is a picture God gave me, when He turned me to David’s story and showed me how the breaking in suffering drew Him to God’s Word, that held him up through it all: tethered by Hope: our Living and Breathing Word.

  • Mary Haynie

    Robin,
    Thank you for your words today! Not a good morning for me, my depression is in high gear. I have given it over to the Lord for 3 years now but it sometimes makes me feel bad. My loving husband is usually available by phone to help me by talking to me but he isn’t available right now. I know the Lord is always there for me. Thank you again.
    Mary

    • Donna B.

      Mary, I am praying for you dearheart! I understand this one very personally. I, too, have battled depression off & on for several years. The enemy of our soul knows our history and weaknesses and plays upon them…..his tactics are very refined as he has long experience…..BUT, be encouraged my sister, we SHALL overcome, because we know the One and only God, Jesus….and greater is He (Jesus) in us than he who is in the world. Jesus is the Author & Finisher of our faith and the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. And He Who began a good work in you (us) will complete it unto the day of Christ Jesus. I am praying for you even now…..Psalm 3 is being prayed over you! I will continue lifting you up to the One Who is the Lifter of our heads and the Restorer of our souls! Jesus!!! He loves us sooooo much and His plans are for good, for hope and a future…Jeremiah 29:11

      • Mary Haynie

        Thank you. I’m feeling better right now. The Lord is great

      • Mary Haynie

        Thank you

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Mary, what a blessing to know when I wrote this, God knew the timing would be perfect for YOU. That makes me smile.

  • http://livingcenter.me/ Nancy Wolfe @ livingcenter.me

    “Comparison…steals the dignity of our struggles.” When my problems seem so much less significant than yours, I have awesome guilty skills. I am ashamed of my discouragement and mask it with a false face of contentment.

    And, it’s exhausting to suppress authentic feelings. The worst part? When we do, the Enemy wins… again!

    How about we all try to just be our real selves in a real – and broken – world?

    When we need help, ask.

    When we have plenty, give.

    It seems simple – but it’s not easy. Love you, Sisters…xoxox

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Ahhh, yes, Nancy…the simplicity of the life of faith. If only it was as EASY as it is simple :). (praying for you as I read through comments)

  • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ ro elliott

    Great post Robin… Yes the long brutal assault … We forgot we have an enemy who comes to kill steal and destroy … Therefore we lay at God’s feet what the enemy has done…from our first breath the battle begins… But God… He desires to restore us back to who He has created us to be…back to our “garden of Eden “… Thanks be to God …He never ever tires of loving us back to Him…Redeeming all so we can live our abundant life in Him!!!!

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      That’ll preach, sistah!

  • Inspired Life

    Hallelujah that He wakes us from our stupor and our slumber. He gives us eyes to SEE. When seeing through eyes of faith, it makes all the difference. Seeing the mundane day to day activities of my life can skew God vision but praise be that His truth permeates the darkness. And posts like this are like eating carrots, they help keep our vision sharp.

    • http://livingcenter.me/ Nancy Wolfe @ livingcenter.me

      “Eating carrots…” LOVE it. And some days? I need lots of carrots. Thanks…xoxox

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      You made me smile, “Inspired Life” :). My post is a vision-sharpening carrot! Boom! (all glory to the One who inspired it)

  • Celeste

    Thank you Robin. I too have been waking up for the last month from a year similar to what you described in your post. The timeliness of your message is like God winked at me and said, “I see you and you are not alone.” Blessings on you today.

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Your simple words just gave me shivers, Celeste. ((hugs))

  • A

    Robin, thank you for this beautiful post. Praise be the Father for this message of hope that reminds to keep our eyes fixed on Christ, on who He is. It is so good to know that I’m not alone in this, that He is using our joys and trials to shape us on His potter’s wheel to be better able to fight the good fight by seeking Him and loving each other. May each of our days be so very blessed with His peace that comes from keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus :)

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      It strengthens me to believe that my suffering is redeemable. It is through those times of greatest challenge that I always seem to grow the most. Praying over you, A.

  • Beth Williams

    Robin,
    Lovely impressive post! Lately it is so easy for me to look back on my past and be filled with regret over my actions. I realize this is allowing the enemy to get a foot hold into my heart and head. For that reason I work hard at memorizing scripture, praying, listening to good Christian preachers and praise/worship music. All that helps dispel the evil thoughts in my mind!
    Blessings :)

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Practices that will always feed your faith. :)

  • Audrey Brouwer

    This was so beautifully written…it was writers like you and others at (in)courage that helped me get through a difficult season such as one you described. It was my online support team, whom I most likely will never meet, helped me see God at work in my life. There were days I cried out to God…did you forget us? We are hurting. Then I would read my morning online devotions and be reminded of verses like Romans 8:38…NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. When I look back at that time in our family’s life during those challenging years, I am thankful that God used this time to draw us closer to Him and closer to each other. Thank you for being there each morning reminding me that I am not my own but belong to God.

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      It is our joy and delight, a precious privilege I do not take for granted. Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment. I’m grateful.

  • http://www.ReneeSwope.com Renee Swope

    Gosh friend, I really needed to read your words and be reminded of this so strongly today. Thank you. Thank YOU so much for penning these profound truths Robin. They have pierced my heart in the best way.

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      {{Renee}} I prayed over these words, this message; that they would be received rightly, that I would get out of the way of any miscommunication. But mostly, if anyone could relate, they would hear the Lord’s affirmation, encouragement, grace, TRUTH. Thank YOU, friend, for receiving them, and for letting me know they mattered…made a difference for you TODAY. Love you and praying for you right. now.

  • Nancy Roe

    POWERFUL! GOOD!!! Love it! Thank you!

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      All caps & exclamation points…boom! (telling my story is its redemption…so grateful it ministered to you :) )

  • Kasie

    Awesome encouragement for today!! Love that book too.

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      It’s even better when someone has read the book and can fully understand that point. Afraid I didn’t do fully serve it, but hope it’s mostly understood.

  • Rebecca Jones

    I so love this discussion. I know about people pleasers. It’s not that I compared myself to others so much but I thought being good, doing good would get you ahead, it didn’t, and then I heard Joseph Prince say that Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good but to make dead people live. I get that! If He raised bodies, He certainly can spirits, so why do we still listen to our accuser? I agree with Bev, if the devil comes to the door, let Jesus open it. Be blessed, ladies.

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      That last line? Would serve us ALL well to remember!

  • Kim Duvall

    Oh sweet sister I sure needed these words of encouragement- thank you for reminding me that God is for me even in the midst of all that’s going on – I know that truth but sometimes it doesn’t always feel like that! Thank you for your transparency- it helps to know others know and understand

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Oh, my…our feelings can be our best friend and worst enemy. We can’t fully trust them, ya know? I remember reading a book decades ago, “Faith is Not a Feeling” and I’ve tried to remember it ever since….

  • Mary

    This is a positive and well written post that has made me want to get that book and read it for myself. I love the quote you shared about the riptide. I am learning that if I can keep my focus on Jesus, keep being thankful in all circumstances, and not let satan get into my head I can shine. thank you!

    • http://www.pensieve.me/ Robin Dance

      Mary, of course the book is never a substitute for The Book (smile), but it was incredibly helpful to me during an awful time in my life. It pointed to the One I needed to remember, and helped orient my thinking to the fiercely spiritual battle going on in my head and heart. Hope it helps you if you choose to get it.