It’s 3pm. I’m standing in the kitchen mentally scrolling through my to-do list and comparing it to how much time is left before I need to get Ethan from school.
One of the tasks that should be done ASAP is meal prep – there is chicken to cut and marinate for tonight’s and tomorrow’s night’s dinner.
There isn’t time. You’ll have to do that after you get Ethan. The message in my mind keeps repeating.
I look at the clock again. It’s 3:10. I need to cut the chicken. But I tell myself again, You don’t have time for that.
Quickly, I shook my head, grabbed the chicken, and started to work. Guess how long it took to get it done?
About 15 minutes!
Fifteen minutes to prepare the main course for two separate meals.
AND there was still about 5 minutes left before it was time to get Ethan!!!
When I realized how quickly I completed the task but how hard I fought to put it off, I thought, what the heck? Why tell myself I didn’t have enough time when I had plenty?
I also realized I have been repeating similar phrases for years:
There isn’t enough time to do that.
You don’t have enough time.
You need to leave in a little bit. No need in starting something you won’t get a chance to finish.
And it hit me. Man! These were lies from the devil, the king of liars! Satan will lie to us and try to lead us astray and distract us even with simple things. He doesn’t always try to tempt us to do big, bad, sinful things. He’ll lie to you about anything and everything.
When I buy this lie, rather than getting started on what needs to be done, I open Facebook or Instagram or check my email or whatever else…anything to fill that space…and many times it isn’t healthy or productive. I’m not being efficient with my time. I’m not being a good steward of the space God has given me. Then, a chunk of time has gone by, and I honestly could have done the task that needed to be done.
But, Satan convinced me that I didn’t have time.
Does this happen to you?
The same thing happened the next morning. There was about 45 minutes before time to get in the shower. When I thought through my to-do list, I remembered the introductory video series I needed to watch for Flourish Writers Academy.
Guess what the first thing was that popped into my head? You’re exactly right. I thought, I don’t have time to do that before I take my shower.
But the video series was 30 minutes, and I had 45 minutes before I needed to get in the shower! (You can do that math, right?!)
(It didn’t occur to me yet how similar this incident was to the “chicken cutting incident” from the day before).
I sat there a minute longer and decided to try to squeeze in one or two of the videos in the series.
Well, I ended up watching all the videos in the start-up intro series for the academy. Every.single.one.of.them.
If I’d bought the lie that I didn’t have time to watch the videos, I probably would have wasted that 45 minutes. Maybe I would have gone ahead and taken my shower. But, it’s more likely that I would have checked my email or gotten on Facebook and gotten caught up watching some crazy movie clips or scrolling around and reading all the mean things people were saying to each other about the inauguration and getting all bent out of shape about it. More than likely, I would have done something that wasn’t life-giving or wouldn’t help me prepare for my day.
Instead, I ignored that voice telling me I didn’t have time and watched the videos.
You see, Satan wants to steal from us, to distract us. One of the ways he steals from us is by convincing us that we don’t have time to do the things we need to do. Many of the tasks we need to do honestly do not take a lot of time. They could be checked off the list in 30 minutes. 15 minutes. 10 minutes even.
I want to learn, and I want to help you learn, to recognize Satan’s lies.
He does not have your best interest in mind. He doesn’t care what you end up doing with your time, but he wants you to get your priorities out of line. He doesn’t want you checking off your to-do list. Instead, he wants you to waste your time doing something meaningless so later you’ll feel rushed, frustrated, or stressed and snap at your children or your spouse, for example.
And, Satan isn’t picky about what it is you’re trying to accomplish. It could be something to build your faith; it could relate to Jesus or it might not. But, it could also be something your family needs you to do, something you need to do for work, an errand you need to run…or any number of things.
The thing is, if Satan distracts you from your tasks and get on Instagram and see pictures of your friend’s kids dressed all cute in matching outfits, then you’re going to be upset because you can’t get your kids to take pictures like that. Now you’re distracted. Now your mind is off God and into comparison-mode, and comparison will steal your joy.
Or you see a post about what someone’s husband built her or bought her. And you feel hurt and jealous and think, my husband never does anything like that for me.
There goes that joy. Right out the window.
Or you see all the pictures from a friend’s recent trip, and you can’t remember the last time you went anywhere…
Do you see where I am going with this?
It’s all a distraction. It’s all lies. It all sends you down the same dark path.
The best way I can think of to learn to detect and combat Satan is to know God.
People who are trained to spot counterfeit money don‘t spend much time studying counterfeit money. They study real money. They become experts at what the real thing looks like, what the paper feels like, and where watermarks are hidden.
If you study the real thing, you recognize the real thing but you also learn to recognize the thing that is fake.
That’s what I’d rather do. I’d rather know God’s voice and know when something comes into my head that is different from God’s voice. Then, I know – this isn’t God. God isn’t going to say things like this to me. God isn’t going to make me feel this way. God isn’t going to lead me down this path.
So, we can figure out we’re being lied to and take that thought captive and hold it against the truth.
Let’s not do Satan’s job for him.
But we also can’t blame everything on Satan. Some is our own doing. He has gotten into our mind, yes, and a led us astray at first. But then he backs off, once he’s convinced us that the lie is truth, and we do his job for him from then on. We continue to do the things he’s put into our heads. We’ve listened, bought into the lie and now we’re on autopilot telling ourselves we can’t do something we need to do because we don’t have time.
How does Satan have you on auto-pilot? What are the lies he’s taught you to tell yourself?
What thoughts run through your head every day? What are the negative, unhealthy ones? They probably start with a phrase like “I can’t,” “I don’t,” or “I won’t”…
I can’t do that job. I wouldn’t get hired.
I don’t know enough about this.
I won’t ever get a raise.
I don’t have enough friends.
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t have enough money.
My kid’s don’t ever act right.
Bring those into the light. Call them out. Name them what they are – lies from Satan meant to distract you from what’s true and what’s important. Meant to keep you confused. Busy. Behind. Tired. Frustrated. Stressed. Sad. Angry.
The next time you hear those negative thoughts in your head, start talking to Jesus. Out loud. Satan has to flee when he hears Jesus’ name. So, start talking to Jesus. Say His name and ask Him to expose the lie and replace it with truth from His word.
You’ll be surprised at how quickly He answers.