While getting myself and the kids ready for church this morning, I opted for a movie to play in the background. My three-year old son has become particularly bored with the same favorite movie. So, today I chose a childhood classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (Yes, the original!) I thought, “He’s obsessed with candy, he should surely like this one!”.
I moved about the house in a shuffle to shower, gather nice clothes (and extra nice clothes), snacks, activities, breakfast, etc. I’m sure most caregivers of little ones can relate. Now I’ll be honest, I never paid much attention to certain scenes of this movie. In my shuffling about, a particular song stopped me in my tracks which caused me to realize how much I had missed.
Charlie’s grandpa Joe is bed-bound for most of the opening movie. Until he comes to the realization that Charlie found the last of the “golden tickets”. He exclaims, “Look at me!-Hopping about- I haven’t done this in twenty years!” With an eyebrow raised I thought to myself, “How absurd!” Then, Grandpa Joe, proceeds to sing, I’ve Got a Golden Ticket, with joyful glee and moving his body about in ways he apparently hadn’t done in twenty years.
Most assuredly, I’ve complained the past couple weeks how I’ve felt like my mind has been in a fog. I have felt extremely exhausted round the clock. It didn’t matter how much or little sleep I had. I even changed my diet for the better, due to other unforseen circumstances. And yet, day in and day out my mind has been in overdrive while the rest of me tries to catch up.
Until this morning. Until Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Until “Grandpa Joe”. Until the Holy Spirit. Until I heard the same familiar whisper again repeating, “strongholds”. Then, my mind was no longer in a fog. And the message was crystal clear.
In an effort to do, to perform, to strive to exist in any given day, I’ve created my own strongholds. I’ve built up my own fortified walls in order to protect my own heart and my own mind from being attacked. Except, there is only so much that I can do as mere human being. I’m not meant to take upon myself, by myself, such critical responsibility.
In creating strongholds, I’ve neglected one crucial component. I’ve left God on the other side of those fortified walls. I now understood “Grandpa Joe”. I realized I had become bed-bound; falling into the same patterns as I have for the past twenty-or-so years of my life. I have my “good days”, and essentially I turn away God by saying, “No thanks, I can do this in my own strength.” How absurd! Because I can promise I have zero strength or defense without the Lord God Himself.
My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.- Psalms 73:26 NKJV, (emphasis mine)
I’ve allowed myself to be a victim. I’ve listened to the lies of the enemy saying, “you’ve got this” when in reality I don’t. So there I lay bed-bound, in my own fortress, with my mind in a fog.
Here’s the thing. All I have needed to do is to throw back those covers and “hop” out of bed. Then, ask the Holy Spirit to “come over here and help me”- “be my defense”.
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.- 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT, (emphasis mine)
I should be singing with joyful glee and moving about spiritually, mentally, and physically in ways I never have before.
Sing to the Lord! Praise the Lord! For though I was poor and needy, he rescued me from my oppressors.- Jeremiah 20:13 NLT
I’ve got a golden ticket. His name is Jesus. He’s given me an all-access pass to royal treatment as a child in God’s kingdom. And I am the final winner. Not without Jesus. But because of Jesus.
Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.- Ephesians 1:11, 2:6, 8-9 NLT, (emphasis mine)