Spiritual Whack-A-Mole: How to deal with those old issues that keep popping up

Have you ever played the Whack-A-Mole game at a place like Chuck E. Cheese Pizza? If you haven’t, here’s the scenario. You stand with a foam mallet in your hand, eagerly waiting to whack the heads of these little moles that pop up out of the game console. When you whack them on the head, they sink back down into the hole they popped up out of, only to pop up in another place. The point is to see how many moles you can whack back into their holes.

As a kid, I had a love hate-relationship with that game. For the first few minutes it was fun, but eventually I just got tired of the moles popping their heads up. The fun-loving taps I gave the moles at the beginning of the game would soon turn into aggressive hits, with the hope that they would stay down… It didn’t work.

You may be wondering why I’m talking about the Whack–A-Mole game. It’s because most days I feel like that is my life. But instead of the moles being these cute, fuzzy game fixtures, they have turned into things like insecurities, jealousy, fear, anxiety, feelings of not being enough, doubt, and lack. Can you relate?

These thoughts and feelings pop their heads up throughout the week, and they seem to be everywhere. I find myself running around beating them back into the ground with my spiritual mallet.

The spiritual mallet may be… my quiet times, my Bible study, worship on Sunday, or fellowship and prayer with other godly women. These are all great things that help me keep those thoughts at bay. However, then my kids get into another fight, I see that lady who is a better mom than me, or I see that lady who doesn’t have as much cellulite as I do, and jealousy, insecurity, frustration, and feelings of lack pop their heads back up.

It feels like I’m standing in the center of my world, on my toes, scanning the horizon, waiting for the next insecurity to pop its head up so I can rush to it and whack it back down. I exhaust myself with all the running and whacking… so much so that at some point I find myself ready to throw in the towel.

I’m thinking: These are issues I’ve dealt with before; they shouldn’t be popping their heads up again. So why are they?

I want to suggest that, yes, you can be free of these issues. However, that doesn’t mean the enemy is going to stop trying to pull you down by using any one of these issues. First Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of sufferings are being accomplished by our brethren who are in the world.”

Also, just because the enemy is attacking you with these issues does not mean that he sees you as weak. No… In fact, he knows you’re strong, and a threat to him. That is why he is attacking.

Be encouraged. You are not alone. The temptation to give in to those old struggles is real, but you have a choice. The enemy is not that creative; he just takes the same old struggle and dresses it up in a different way to try to get you to stumble. But you’re shrewd, and Holy Spirit will continue to sharpen your mind and eyes so that you can spot those struggles a mile away. At that point you have to realize that your hands are not tied; you are the one who decides how you will respond.

Wisdom has taught me that when I spot an old struggle coming my way, it is best to be transparent and share my struggle with another godly woman and let her pray for me. Then I can take those thoughts captive and make them obey God’s word by declaring his truths to those struggles.

The day that I had the picture of the spiritual Whack-A-Mole game going on, I felt like Jesus said, “You know you can put the mallet down and walk away. You don’t have to play that game. And if you will let me, I will unplug it too.”

In the midst of insecurities, jealousy, anxiety, and fear, we don’t have to exhaust ourselves trying to keep those feelings from surfacing. We can choose to just stop playing that game. We can choose to be brave and trust that when those emotions surface, God can take care of them. We just have to let Him.

Until next time…


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