I enjoy a walk in my neighborhood. It starts my day with a few quiet moments, giving me pause to enjoy the beauty of each season while getting a little exercise, too. My day just goes better when I start it this way. Most days I take the same route. And I’d describe my walks as peaceful, yet stimulating.
But this particular day, I got more stimulation than I’d bargained for.
I came to the top of a steady incline when the serenity of the morning was completely broken. One of the houses I pass every day has a big dog. I’m used to barking dogs. I just look straight ahead and keep on walking and that’s that. But this day, the dog charged right up to the invisible electric fence and instead of barking at me from his side of the fence, boldly broke through and ran toward me at full speed, teeth bared.
I’ve gotta tell you, I was terrified. I stomped and yelled, “GET AWAY!” and tried to make myself appear as big and mean as possible, but I was no match for this large, angry beast of a dog. He was not happy I had chosen this route. Thankfully, the sound of his owner’s voice shouting got his attention and he turned back and ran to the porch.
I was safe…but I was shaken.
My husband called Animal Control and we learned that the best line of defense (and better than mace) is an airhorn. Small and inexpensive, it fits in a pocket. The incredibly deafening sound will startle any attacking dog, not to mention summon neighbors and wake the dead. We promptly went to Walmart, bought one, and tried it out in our backyard. My ears are still ringing. Wow.
Even so, the next morning, I found an excuse to not walk. The day after that, I went the other way. But I wondered what other angry dogs might be waiting for me on this new route? Instead of enjoying the scenery, reflecting on what the day held, counting my blessings, etc., my mind was now occupied with fear and intimidation. This was one of my favorite parts of my day and I was angry that a dog was ruining it.
Enough was enough.
On my regular route.
With a firm resolve.
And my airhorn.
The enemy’s got his sights on you, you know. He doesn’t want you walking this path, enjoying God, growing in your spiritual stamina, pursuing passionately His purposes and renewing your mind with the Word.
When you choose to spend time with God, pray for your loved ones and even enemies, fight for your marriage, invest in kingdom purposes, trust Him in the moments that don’t make sense, he doesn’t like it. One bit.
He will go to great lengths to intimidate you, frustrate you, and even injure you. He will attempt to confuse you, hoping you’ll view those self-defeating thoughts, that troubled relationship, that financial set back, that illness, as the issue. But these are not the issue. These are his attempts to make you choose an easier path. Or even quit.
But don’t turn back. This is the path you were meant to walk. Ask God to give you His wisdom, courage and grace as you walk in the way He has for you.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13).
But now, I’m armed. So I lace up my shoes.
And I walk.