Shouldn’t you be doing something else?”
I was in my car, running the errands I had added here and there to my to-do list before I left home, and that same thought kept popping into my head. “Shouldn’t you be doing something else?” I was ready to take myself on with an argument of self-defense when I realized that thought, which was about to remove the contentment from a perfectly beautiful day, wasn’t coming from me.
This wasn’t the first time I had been plagued with the uneasiness that what I was doing was of less importance than the “something else” I should have been doing, whatever that “something else” might have been. And it wasn’t the first time that very thought had the potential to leave me feeling defeated for the entire day. Except, this time, I realized it was the enemy who was at it again.
It wasn’t that dropping off my recycling and paying my electric bill weren’t important. They were. Or that I didn’t need to put gas in my car. I did. Or that the mail in my post office box could wait another day. It couldn’t. (It really couldn’t. My daughter had recently moved almost 7 hours away, and I was expecting my first long-distance Mother’s Day card!) It was that, no matter what I was choosing to do, the enemy was trying to convince me I should have chosen to do something else.
It was the same tactic I had sensed him using on several of my friends, especially my friends who were moms. One after the other they had shared their hearts, and they were all fighting feelings of defeat. Even though their children were of different ages, the enemy must have gone over with a hot air balloon and dropped the same “something else” spirit on all of them because their struggles were similar. They were all trying to climb out from under the joy-stealing, peace-robbing notion that they should be doing something else, something more. More worthy. More notable. More profitable.
More “something else.”
No matter how grand of a task they had undertaken, the enemy was doing his best to convince them that something else would be better.
Truth be told, when thoughts of my day turned to thoughts of theirs, it made no sense to me why he would use the same “something else” tactic on my grocery store stop as he would on my friend’s homeschooling decision. Until I realized he isn’t just after the tasks.
He is after the joy. He is after the peace. And he is a sneaky thief.
As long as thoughts of “something else” are on our minds, it is impossible to enjoy the life that is right in front of us. And the enemy knows it. As long as he can convince us that we are missing the mark or missing the boat, he will succeed in keeping us distracted and discontented. And robbed of joy.
When the apostle Paul was closing his letter to the church at Galatia, he reminded them of this: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). It was a wise warning because the enemy wants us to give up in doing good. He despises harvest time. So he has perfected the art of stealing our joy, even from what should be the most delightful and fulfilling, God-ordained tasks. And all he has to do is ask this simple question: “Shouldn’t you be doing something else?”
After all, he knows if the joy is gone, then weariness is sure to follow, and our desire to quit won’t be far behind. And it’s goodbye harvest!
My joy is off the table.
It took me crossing off a couple completed errands to recognize the war I was in over my seemingly insignificant list of stops around town, but once I did, I engaged the enemy and won the battle. I let him know my joy was off the table, and I would be enjoying every single part of my day.
Especially since my Mother’s Day card arrived, and it was absolutely beautiful.
©2017 Wendi Miller
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