By Timothy Flemming, Jr.
No one likes being beaten down, whether physically or emotionally. And yet, that's what most of us experience on a weekly or daily basis. We're made to feel so very small.
I don't know about you, but I grew up feeling small. The irony is, when I was in middle school, my peers would pick on me (in a good way) and call me names like "Hercules" and ask me to "pick up the school building." That's because I had a lot of muscles for my age. I was practically stronger than all my peers. And yet, I couldn't shake the feeling of being smaller than all of my peers.
Plenty of "big guys" feel small, fragile. Plenty of "high achievers" feel small. It doesn't matter how many muscles you develop or how many goals you accomplish, this giant lives in your head and it has a job - it's here to do 3 things to you:
The first thing it wants to do is make you feel like a forever-failure. Not just a failure, but a "forever-failure". Said another way, a consummate failure. So it doesn't matter what you achieve; you never feel good enough. You always question the significance of your existence as if you don't deserve to be here.
The second thing it wants to do is make you believe you were a mistake, an accident. Some of us believe other people were deliberately sent to this earth by God to fulfill a purpose, but not us. We somehow slipped from the balcony of Heaven and fell through the vortex of eternity where we accidentally landed in our mothers' wombs. We weren't supposed to be here! And the worst part is some of our parents have actually said those words to us: "You weren't supposed to be here! You're an accident!"
I remember reading a book by author and success coach, Dani Johnson, entitled "First Steps To Wealth". In the beginning of the book, she talked about her upbringing - pregnant as a teenager; high school dropout; etc. But the worst of it was when she was told by her abusive stepdad, "You are what a failed abortion looks like."
Proverbs 15:4 says, "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit" (NLT). She grew up with a crushed spirit. And that's why in her early twenties, she found herself on the beach, attempting to drown herself in the ocean. That is, until God spoke to her and reminded her that He loved her and that she had worth. But how many of us feel crushed?
The third thing is it is here to make you quit. Whether it's checking out of life, zoning out your family, losing all passion for the things you used to love, falling into a pit of apathy, this giant is here to grind your hope into dust with its boot heel.
I heard one man say, "We can survive 40 days without food, 3 days without water, but we can't survive 1 day without hope." Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life" (NLT). The picture of being "sick" here describes a soul that's withering away, dying slowly; one that is gradually losing all strength, all form. It's like an emaciated soul. Starving. On the brink of death.
The opposite of this is a "tree of life," which means a heart full of hope. And what is hope? It's simply defined as "an earnest expectation of good things to come."
If you're on the verge of giving up - on yourself, on God, on your purpose, on life - it's because there's a demon of Intimidation whispering into your ear, and you're listening to its voice as opposed to God's.
The truth is, all of the things Intimidation is telling you - that you're a forever-failure, you're an accident, a mistake; that you need to quit because things are not going to get any better in your life - are all lies. Its words were planted into your subconscious mind when you were a child, either by a parent, a loved one, an authority figure you looked up to, or even a friend. The words came out of their mouths, but they were streamed from the pits of Hell. And that's where the battle is - in your soul and spirit. It's one you can win. But not while passively watching life pass you by and remaining comfortable where you are. You have to get up and fight this demon. You have to respond to it with the truth - that truth being what God thinks and says about you in His Word, the Bible. And then create a game-plan on how to do those things you felt too intimidated to do.
My suggestion is, one bite-sized chunk at a time. Make your vision really big...and your action steps super small.
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