Last week we traveled to my our favorite place : Watercolor, Florida. Part of what is called the Emerald Coast, it's known for it’s waters that change all sorts of colors turquoise to dark green. It is breathtaking and dreamy and we look forward to it every single summer.
This year, though, we did things a bit differently as my entire family traveled with us there. It was a gift to share our special place with our growing little tribe. Since there were so many people (read : boys), they decided to go fishing off of the coast with a guide. The grown ups have done this several times before and were acting as though they were going to be our hunters and gatherers for the week.
Brady was asked to go with the “big boys", but was absolutely terrified that there might be a shark! Now, he is definitely our more timid one, although he surprises us in certain instances, being extremely brave at the most random and unexpected times. Jeff and I decided, though, that we were going to make him go. He shouldn’t continue to miss out on life’s experiences because of his fears, and this one, we thought, was pretty illegitimate.
Every time we would talk about Monday, Brady would ask questions about sharks. How far were they going? Would they be able to see land? How big is the boat? Have they ever seen a shark. And instead of being a compassionate and gracious mom, I just kept rolling my eyes.
Of course I knew there could be sharks out there - I mean, it’s the gulf. But would he see one? Probably not, right?
They weren’t even 15 minutes into their four hour tour when they came into shark infested waters and started fishing. Jeff sent me a video and I thought for sure he was joking but y’all - there were a LOT of sharks. Our sweet Brady did great and wasn’t scared for a minute. He probably thought that the sharks would be bigger than their boat or that they would be all jaws like - something like that.
But as a mom - seeing this video - and knowing that we swim NOT TOO FAR AWAY - it is the opposite of comforting! It took everything in me to let the kids out into the water the next day!
Here’s the thing though, I have absolutely known that there is a potential that sharks are lurking around where we swim. I mean, it is the Gulf of Mexico. But we’ve been going to roughly the same place for nearly fifteen years and I have never seen one with my own eyes. But after that video? After that video I know that there ARE sharks here.
I began to notice a difference between a perceived threat and a known threat.
When there was a perceived threat, I sort of kept an eye out but could get distracted easily. By a conversation, a lunch break, a storm rolling through.
With a known threat thought, my eye never left the water. We stayed close to our loved ones so we could grab hold the moment that it became necessary. When the storm clouds rolled in and the current picked up, we don’t get distracted but instead move in closer.
Just like sharks in the water, Christians also have a known threat. We don’t like to talk about him a lot or even acknowledge him because it makes us uncomfortable and even forces us to see the world in a different light. But scripture tells us that he roams around the earth like a roaring lion seeking those of us that he might devour. Devour, y’all. Not just snack on and poke at, but devour. Swallow right up.
But honestly, most days, I act as though Satan is a perceived threat. I put him in the back of my mind, and am not on guard as I so desperately should be. He nips at my heals and the heals of my children and instead of dealing with it, I stay in that water and try to kick him off. When really, I should be taking care of it. Now.
When it comes to Satan, I shouldn’t be operating from a place of defense, but from a place of offense.
I must acknowledge that I am living in shark infested waters. We all are. But God has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to access and fight him off. He has given us the blessing of boundaries that we can use to ward off those sharks from coming to close. We have the Truth of scripture to contend with the lies that Satan puts in front of us tempting us further out into the water.
When I affirm that there are sharks - that Satan is actually here among my people - I’m not as lazy about heading out to that second sandbar. Instead, I am active in my walk with the Lord and on guard for my marriage and my family. Because Satan wants us, just like those sharks want food. And when they get hungry enough, when Satan gets desperate enough, they’re coming after us.
I write often about keeping watch for the work of the Lord and acknowledging it for His glory. But I must also keep watch for the work of satan, so that I can better combat his weapons of mass destruction and defend my family. I already have the power. I already have the victory. But I have to put it into action. I have to stop treading water and start planting my feet firmly on the sand. I have to pay attention, be alert, stay armed.
Are you fighting today too? Do you see Satan coming after you or someone you love? Get on the offense, sister. Take control of the battle, because as God says, you have already won.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31