As we come up on Thanksgiving, I’m still in a pretty heavy place because of my seizures, but I got some insight into why this evening. It’s because I have been listening a bit too much to the devil’s favorite words – What If?
I have my first neurology appointment on Monday, and a lot could change after this appointment. The odds are my license will be temporarily suspended, based on the frequency and uncontrolled nature of my seizures right now. I will also most definitely have a great deal of other tests done, from EEGs to blood tests to MRIs. But this isn’t where the problems lie. The problems come in when I start listening to my enemy when he whispers in my ear:
What if…my seizures spiral out of control even more?
What if…I have a seizure while I am on an airplane?
What if…I am told I am forbidden to travel by my physician, which is a required part of my job?
What if…my children start losing respect for me due to my memory loss from my seizures?
What if…I forget something REALLY important, and it hurts someone I love?
What if…I lose my job?
What if…what if…what if?
The crazy thing is this – any or all of these things could happen, and really they could happen in the next week. But that doesn’t mean I should allow these What Ifs to rule my life. Hopefully, I can share the way that I am learning to deal with these attacks and encourage you.
Recognize the truth
It is so easy to call these What If’s something different than what they are. I can convince myself that I am just operating out of my natural personality type, which lends itself toward problem solving. I can say that I have a responsibility to provide for my family, and these things must be considered in light of my duties. I might even state that it would be abnormal to NOT worry about these questions. Each of these statements is true on some level, but they skirt the issue.
The full truth is ugly, so I want to avoid it, to pretend it doesn’t exist, but my desires don’t make it go away. The truth is this – my enemy is trying to rip joy from my life and replace it with fear. Check out what I Peter 5:8 says:
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
This verse clearly says that the devil wants to devour me, and he is actively prowling about looking for an opportunity to do just that. So these What If’s are not just my personality, not only me being responsible, not merely normal actions…no, this is a battle for my life. So, how do I win the battle?
Flip just a few pages back in the Bible, and you’ll land where I did – with the solution in James 4:7-8
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
It’s not easy, but here is how I defeat the fear that wily lion growls at me. I stand firm. I don’t listen. I recognize him for who he is, and remember that I don’t belong to him, but to Another. Then I draw near to my God. As I draw near, He will remind me again of who I am in Christ, and of His unending love for me. This doesn’t always lessen the volume of the roar right away, but eventually he wanders away to find a new victim.