“If I were your enemy, I’d make everything seem urgent, as if it’s all yours to handle. I’d bog down your calendar with so many expectations you couldn’t tell the difference between what’s important and what’s not. Going and doing, guilty for ever saying no, trying to control it all, but just being controlled by it all instead…If I could keep you busy enough, you’d be too overwhelmed to even realize how much work you’re actually saving me” –Priscilla Shirer, Fervent (133).
I had to read that three times. Because that is me. Being manipulated by Satan.
Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer is a book about the strategies that the enemy uses against us and how we can fight back with our own strategies of prayer and Scripture. As I have read these strategies, chapter by chapter, I have grown increasingly convicted. Especially with this one.
Shirer touches on a sensitive spot for me when she refers to “pressure that makes us feel like we might be wrong…or selfish…or coldhearted…or snooty to enforce margin and boundaries in our schedule so that we can actually maintain enough time to be obedient to what God has called us to do…” (135).
“Strategy 8–Your Pressures: Reclaiming Peace, Rest, and Contentment” is all about the pressure we live under to perform, to meet demands, to balance a busy lifestyle. You probably face many of the same demands that I do: family, church, job, ministry, and more. The problem I always struggle with is that they are all important! Shirer had some convicting words about that.
“The pressure to perform, for example, often means you’ve made an idol of your reputation. The pressure to maintain a ridiculously jam-packed schedule: the idol of self-reliance. The pressure to maintain an impressive standard of living: the idol of achievement. The pressure to take on everything in which your kids show even the slightest interest: making an idol of your children” (142).
Shirer encourages us to realize that all of this constant pressure is more than just an annoyance–it’s a tactic of Satan to draw us away from our time with the Lord, our peace, out health, our contentment. So, as Shirer instructs, I’m making a list of all the pressures I feel right now, and I’m praying over every single one of them. I want the Lord to help me create some margin in my life to just be.
With stories from the slavery of Israel and many promises from the Word of God, Priscilla Shirer continues to expose the strategies of the enemy and give us encouragement to walk in the Spirit, clothed in the armor of God, praying with purpose and passion, so that we might overcome.
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