Attrition is the constant wearing away at something. In war, to win by attrition means that while it may appear the battle is won, and that you are superior to your adversary, your adversary was persistent enough and did enough damage that in the aftermath of the battle it is hard to recover if you can recover at all due to all the damage.
Our enemy, Satan, has been around for a long time, and will be here after we are gone from this Earth. He is skilled at the art of winning by attrition. I never really considered this.
James tells us, "Submit, therefore, to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you."
Have I relied too much on my self? Have I forgotten so quickly that God's grace is sufficient? Have I forgotten just how much I need to daily rely on God? Am I really that...gullible? Am I really that fleshly? Am I really that human?
One of the unexpected things about the journey I've taken over the past few months is the psychological side of things. There's a lot that I never dealt with in my life. I look back through the years and rather than deal with problems, failures, mistakes, or hurts, I kind of swept them over to the side and kept moving forward...that's what you're supposed to do right? In a way, I guess you are. But truly moving forward means dealing with things as they happen. Letting yourself grieve a broken heart properly, stopping to deal with a sin problem, evaluating failure and learning from it properly, even celebrating success and putting it in the right context, all need to be done in the right way. Otherwise, it all comes back to you when you're at your weakest.
There's a lot of things in my life that I never properly dealt with. Where there was failure I ran or made excuses. Where there was hurt, I shrugged it off and pretended nto to be bothered...and even convinced myself I was ok. Where there was success, I shined it up real nice and held it up for everyone to see and tell me how great I am. Where there was sin...I swept it under the rug and acted like it didn't exist...ignore it and it will go away. Right?
So, in the aftermath of my chaotic experience with grace, in the joy that came with a pretty substantial spiritual victory, with the openess and honesty that came with finally trusting my family in Christ to bear my burdens as I helped bear theirs, came an unexpected flood of things that I had never properly dealt with.
Coupled with my current state of mind, I feel like I am worn down to (as we say in the south) a nub. If it's not my current situation of my own doing, I'm reminded of all that I haven't accomplished. If it's not being reminded of all I haven't accomplished, I find myself focusing on a deep cut that I never really let myself deal with before. If it's not that, it's church stuff. If it's not that, it's my current situation.
Then, as if out of nowhere, I suddenly know what Paul meant when he said (and I paraphrase from Romans) "the things I want to do I don't do, and the things I don't want to do I do."
He goes on to exclaim:
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The answer is the same as it has been all along. Jesus. His grace is sufficient. When the enemy comes in like a flood...God's grace is sufficient. When the enemy stalks like a lion ready for the kill...God's grace is sufficient. When the enemy chips away at our joy, our spirit, and steadily wears us down...God's grace is sufficient.
So, yeah, I'm still trying to find my smile and leave it firmly in place. I know where I need to look..."I lift my eyes up to the hills, and where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord which made the Heavens and the Earth."
I was suprised when the dust began to settle and the smoke cleared and I was a little more battered than I thought. But, I also know that when, in God's timing, I stand to fight, it is truly His joy that will be my strength. It is His grace that will sustain me.
So my prayer is that He helps me to daily understand this.