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My wake up call was a message from a dear friend asking me why I haven’t been in her life lately and asking if she had done something wrong. Telling me she misses “us” and the sweet relationship we once shared. What I sensed in her words is that she feels discounted and pushed away, causing her to feel like she isn’t good enough.

My heart broke as I read these reads from her. First because that pain is all too fresh and familiar to my heart. I’ve been the one on the other side who got ditched with my heart hanging out. And it hurts, unimaginably.

It was eye opening to me because I knew there was no other good explanation I could give except that I had simply let what was going on in my own life overwhelm me and crowd out my ability to give out of myself and truly love others. Our once beautiful relationship was only one of the casualties.

We might still be breathing, but when we are running on empty and overwhelmed, barely keeping our nose above water, we are in a dangerous and vulnerable place. Especially if we find ourselves living in that state. It doesn’t matter how much of it is as a result of all the good work for Christ we are attempting to do, it is not okay to get so wrapped up in our own junk that the basic fruits of the Spirit aren’t even present in our lives.

Whether we following Christ or not, storms and hard times are inevitably going to come. Friends will betray us, our health will fail, people will ridicule and maybe even outright attack us, we will be misunderstood, we will walk through difficult times at home and at times we will feel like we just want to bury ourselves in a hole so far underground no one could ever find us.

But it is not okay to retreat into my shell to protect my own life and heart from further damage and pain. It is not okay to withhold every ounce of goodness for fear I’ll have nothing left for myself.

Something deep inside of me knows that the Father’s plan for my life is to live in a state of being filled up to overflowing so that I have the ability to spill out His goodness, His abundance, His mercy, His hope and His love on everyone around me.

I imagine that what He desires of my life is that my heart be kind of like a huge bucket that has been filled up with refreshing water so full that the least bit of movement or shaking causes the contents of goodness to spill out everywhere.

But in order for it to work that way, it means I cannot live in a state of personal depletion. I have to keep allowing myself to be filled up again and again. Life in itself tends to drain us. I believe one of the enemy’s strategies to keep us totally ineffective for Jesus is to pull out every prop he can to keep us on the defense, living in survival mode and completely overwhelmed.

Lately, I’ve been there. And what I’ve realize is that when the enemy realizes he can’t destroy our faith, he works to shake our faith (our armor and weapons) just enough to render us totally ineffective. He wants us to be the walking dead, so shaken and wounded by the battle that we have been reduced to a soldier with a sword, who is just too tired to fight.

We are in a real battle. For souls, even our very own. But let’s not forget that satan is already a defeated foe, he’s just trying to make our lives hell so we’ll give up and not fight. But may we stand firm! May we not succumb to his attacks. May we not allow ourselves and those around us to become casualties of this war.