Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Demons and Self-Sabotage

 I got this question from a friend:

You posted..."The Enemy in my head is huge, but it’s only in my head."
Do you believe that demons speak to us through thoughts, or is that our own sin nature?

Then last night an odd (and not very nice) thought occurred to me.   It was an attack of the Enemy and the thought was this:  “All this writing you’re doing is simply to feed your ego.  You could be using your time better.  You’re writing for your ego not for the sake of writing.”
It was the first time the Enemy put this spin on my writing.  Usually it tells me I have nothing new or original to say.  With over 450 blogs I guess it decided to try a new tactic, since that one wasn’t working.  
So was that thought demonic or did it come from me?
In this case, I think it was my own thought, a form of fear and self-sabotage.  When it comes to making bad choices or sabotaging myself, I don’t usually need help from the devil.  I do this well enough on my own.
I do, however, believe in Satan.  I do believe in demonic forces and I even encountered one once. 
A couple of years ago a woman gave me a large collection of comic books.  There were a few thousand and she just gave them to me.  I was thrilled.  She wanted me to sell what I could and give her some of the money and I could keep what I wanted.  It was a pretty good deal for me.  I didn’t have much luck selling them and my life got busy with other things.  Around the same time I started becoming depressed.  In fact, I was getting so depressed that I started considering suicide.  One night while driving past downtown San Diego I looked at the tall buildings and wanted to jump off one of them.  I started listening to Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross and my suicidal thoughts were immediately replaced with extreme joy.  When the suicidal thoughts returned a couple of days later, I would reach out for prayer and they would leave.  But eventually, these thoughts would return. 
Then a friend came to visit for a couple of days.  He was a former pastor and for some reason I decided to show him all the comic books in my garage including the ones the woman had given me.  I had no idea why I did this because he had no interest in comic books and there was really no reason to show him.  As I was showing him the comic books, I remembered why the woman had given them to me.
Her husband had killed himself.
After she gave me the comic books, I wanted to do the same.  I had never thought of killing myself until those comic books came into my life.  That was the connection.  Because my friend was a pastor, I asked him to pray.  He did, even sprinkling blessed water over the collection.  From that moment, the desire to kill myself left never to return.
So I believe in demons.  I met one sitting on top of a comic book collection.  And it almost killed me.
I also believe in self-sabotage, fear and depression.  Those haven’t tried to kill me.  They have just tried to keep me from living fully.  They have tried to keep me from making the best choices.  How do I know the difference between inner demons and real ones?  Perhaps demonic attacks are more intense.  Or perhaps they are the same. Or perhaps it doesn’t matter.  I think a preoccupation with the Enemy is just as dangerous as ignoring it altogether.
What I need to focus on is my work.   If I get caught in a cycle of depression, fear or thoughts of suicide, then I need to get help as quickly as possible.  This is usually through the prayers of others, but I have found other methods to be helpful, too.  Then I need to do my work.  Sometimes doing the work lifts repels the attack.  If it doesn’t then prayer is what is needed. 
There are malevolent spiritual forces and there is self-sabotage.  In the end it doesn’t matter who my Enemy is; it only matters that I defeat it.  It only matters that I Get Started and Keep Going.