The Pain Of Self-Preservation

5th March 2024, 22:40, London

Journal entry:

Dear Lord,

I am tired of waiting for you to show up. I have felt more afraid than ever in the last couple of weeks. Every new obstacle causes me to cry out with deep frustration because it seems like your promises are taking an eternity. As time passed, the doubt in my heart grew; consequently, I started asking very scary questions about my walk with you. It feels like I’m drowning and I’m in an out-of-body experience. I have nobody to turn to and nowhere to go. You are all I have. If I look left, there’s an obstacle, right, another, looking up or down doesn’t also provide any source of relief. I know You said You are with me but I feel like I’m drowning and suffocating without air.

To save myself I started harbouring the thoughts of doubt. You have been telling me “It will happen very soon.” But the more I wait, the more I seem to get afraid that this “soon” will be another year, maybe even two. You told someone else to affirm that “NO! Tell her I mean it – very soon and very fast” but again I clung to self-preservation and said secretly in my heart “Just in case He didn’t mean soon don’t get your hopes up, it won’t be soon.” This resolve was meant to be a one-time thing now I find myself battling with the spirit of doubt. What is going on?

It shows up in my thoughts, and in my actions, it is threatening my confidence. All I wanted to do was protect my heart. From what? From being disappointed yet again. I don’t want to feel so stuck anymore. If I just pretended that all the promises you gave me weren’t going to happen soon, that means I wouldn’t stop being disappointed and I could face life with more joy and courage.

It was a simple thought that I believe would eradicate my current pains and frustration. However, as I reflect on the past few weeks this “simple thing” has grown into a monster. Doubt and self-preservation show up everywhere I go.

What is this? This is a life I can’t live. I can’t live one where I make a confession of faith and five minutes after I caveat it with something like “but it may not happen for two years.” I’m adding that statement because I think it can protect me from pain. Yet, I am still in pain. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t breathe. It feels like I am suffocating. All I can say to the Lord is HELP ME. Please, help me. I believe Lord, help my unbelief.

“The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”” Mark 9:24 NLT


Does this sound like you? Being cynical and resorting to self-preservation feels comforting in times of pain yet it does something slowly: it erodes your confidence in God. Now that’s a big problem and it’s exactly what the devil is gunning for.

If we go to the beginning we see this in the Garden of Eden. He said to Eve: “The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”” Genesis 3:1 NLT

In my case what had repeatedly slipped into my mind was “Did God say it will happen soon?” I thought it was my intellect and my desire for self-preservation but it was me having a conversation with the devil.

God did say it will happen soon. God did say He will bless me (and you). God did say He is with me (and He is because I am typing this!)

So let us decide to step out in faith again no matter how uncomfortable it is. We can’t say we have faith and expect a bad testimony – that’s not faith! To have faith is to trust that God will not mismanage your life and though some days things feel heavy, we trust that He is faithful and He is still with us.

What does having faith again look like practically? Sometimes stirring up faith requires action. It may be buying a new pair of sheets as you wait for your new house, buying a welcome home sign for a loved one whom you’re trusting to come home from the hospital, or opening up a savings pot for your wedding because you know it’s round the corner.

We erode our doubts with actions of faith. Words are great but action is much greater.

We cast down every lie of the enemy in the name of Jesus. We free ourselves from the false comfort of self-preservation in the name of Jesus and we cry out “I believe Lord, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)”

Repeat it: I believe you, Lord. Once more: I believe you, Lord.

Don’t flirt with self-preservation. It’s not pretty and it’s like drinking poison and being unaware that you’re doing so. No matter how heavy it gets, make a decision that you will continuously choose to stay in faith.

All my love,

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