“Shut up!” That’s what the devil told me, over and over again, year after year, for decades of my life. He effectively silenced me even though I have authority over him. Back then, I didn’t know that I had that authority. No one showed me, until recently, how to resist the devil, to rebuke him, to declare God’s truth when the devil attacked me with lies about who I am.
I was imprisoned in silence and the lie of insignificance. Then one day, I’d had enough. I just up and walked out of an abusive relationship, slamming the door behind me as hard as I could. That door slam was the loudest expression of my voice that I’d ever allowed myself to have. I had no idea that day how sane my actions were. At the time, I actually believed that I was just crazy enough to leave. But the truth is that I wasn’t crazy at all. I was acting sane, for the first time in, well, forever. Leaving abuse is the only sane response to make. It’s valuing self. It’s prioritizing my own safety over someone else’s violent demands. It’s letting go of the belief that I am the reason the other person behaves that way. It’s putting the responsibility for the abuse on the abuser, instead of on his or her victim.
Just so you know, I didn’t type “his or her” in that last sentence out of political correctness. I typed it out of the truth of my life. I’ve been abused by men, women, adults and peers. The devil doesn’t care who he uses to wreak havoc in the world. He’ll use anyone who will let him. So, yeah, anyone can be abusive.
Miranda Lambert, a famous country singer, sings this song about a woman’s response to an abusive man in her life. The song is called “Gun Powder and Lead.” It’s a catchy little ditty. A few months ago, I was pondering the abuse that the devil’s heaped on me, and Miranda’s song came to mind. It seemed like a really good response to give the devil. I especially thought of the line, “If he wants a fight, well, now he’s got one; and he ain’t seen me crazy yet.” I’m not looking for a fight with the devil, but if he wants one, I’m not going to run. And he has no idea what I am capable of.
Out of my pondering and musing on this song, I began painting on canvas some of the lies that the devil’s told me that I can now take from him to use against him. Such as taking his lie about my voice not being valuable and using his own attack against him by telling him, “Shut up!” And turning his lie about me being “not enough” to use against him in saying that his lies are not enough to keep me from my divine destiny.
As I work through putting my next book of poetry together, titled ‘jugular’, I’m incorporating poetry that resists the devil’s attacks and that fights to maintain the victory that Jesus won for me with his death and resurrection. This new book is about fighting back, unshackling shame from my heart and stepping into the grace, identity and strength I have as a child of God.
The devil can’t shut me up anymore. He still attacks me, but I’m being trained to fight back with better and stronger weapons and to disarm him so I can use his own weapons against him. He is no match for me plus Jesus! And yeah, I’m aiming for his jugular.