Devotions: Feeling Oppressed?

It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest…
I cannot sleep because of all of the problems racing through my head…
I just don’t want to get out of bed today…
My heart feels heavy…
All my emotions are drained and I feel alone…
I can’t even laugh anymore…

Do any of these emotions or expressions ring true for you today?
Most of us have been through these seasons of life…sometimes more than once.
We feel defeated, deflated, unimportant and alone.
I have been in this place and I have allowed these lies to emotionally wreck me.
Thank goodness I don’t live there anymore.  I know it was a lie, and that I needed to realize the truth – that I was loved and that I was never alone.  I was/am a child of the Most High!

Far too often Christians will start to believe these untruths, and I believe that spiritual oppression is very real and very alive in the Church today.  We hear things inferred or even said that cloud our judgement and make us forget how God truly sees us.  This is a great tactic of Satan…and it works almost every time!

2 Corinthians 6:18 says, “And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  Did you catch that?  God says to you and to me you will be MY sons and daughters…forget what others might say about you; forget what you might think about your gifts and abilities; forget how the world sees you – the only thing that truly matters is how God sees you…and if He can call you son or daughter, then guess what?  All of the other titles in this world, both good or bad are so less important than this one amazing truth!!  You are His!!

Henri Nouwen once said, I truly believe he struggled with oppression and depression in his life too (so we are in great company) …”Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.

Prayer: Lord, please dispel the oppression of the father of lies in my life right now.  Help me to know and see the truth about who I am to you.  Strengthen me for this day, and fill me with your hope even when (or especially when) I feel defeated and alone.  Shine your light on me and reveal the truth to my heart today.  In your name I pray all of these things.  -Amen.

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