January of each year is the time I set aside to focus on my spiritual life. I begin the year with a spiritual fast. As I fasted and prayed this year, I asked God to help me be kinder, gentler, and more compassionate. It sounds corny, but a straightforward person like me can be seen as tough and challenging when I am those, but I am kind and understanding also. Anyway, my faith was tested during this particular time of the year.
As I reflect on that time, my mind goes to a saying I would hear as a child—“don’t be surprised when you come under attack. There’s always some test right before your breakthrough.” Okay, but I did not expect that challenge from someone close to me.
As I faced the issue, I wanted to lash out. I was furious, and when I am mad, anything could happen. I remember thinking, “I have been there for him/her. There’s no way they will let anyone or anything overshadow how much I care for them and have been there for them.” When I thought the foolishness had settled, I learned later that it was not. I was furious again. However, somewhere along the way, God brought me peace. When conversations occurred regarding this issue, I noticed that I did not react anymore. I felt a sense of calm.
Today, I can confidently say that my calm came from that time of fasting, prayer, and Bible reading. Although the scriptures I read during the month had nothing to do with peace, today, I find myself thinking of the scripture in Isaiah 26:3 that says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Yes, that’s it. God settled my mind.
Have you faced something challenging lately? Stop and evaluate your life. Are you succeeding at something that others are not? Are your wins secretly infuriating others? How do you know? We have all been at the point of exasperation when we encounter situations that we had no idea were simmering under the surface. If you don’t know that someone has deep resentment toward you, how do you handle it when it finally rises to the surface? It’s hard.
I know that attacks can be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. It’s unfortunate when we don’t see them coming, and it is even tougher to be confronted and not know how to respond. One underlying reason people attack is their insecurities; they may have secret jealousies you never knew existed. But when you win and continue to do so, you stir up their jealousy. Guess what? You have no control over their thoughts or their insecurities. People may smile in your face the entire time, hoping to see you fail. When you don’t, they find ways to get to you.
Today, let me encourage you to let God bring peace and calm when someone injects chaos. Pray for those who despitefully use you, and don’t regret trusting those who may betray you. Do not let those against you stop you from loving, living, and being all God has called you to be. If their attacks stop you, they win. Remember, you are blessed and highly favored. Don’t let anyone cause you to question that. Don’t put your head down. Don’t sulk, and do not stop what you are doing to make them happy. Head up, shoulders back, and keep winning.