Last week, it seemed that the enemy was trying to weave many small, random things together as a tapestry. Apparently, his goal was to  suffocate my positive thought processes. The substance is not important. However, the ultimate ‘thought victory’ – after 3 days of near-absolute misery – is of definite significance to me. I admit that I am an ENFJ with a definite emotional side, which has caused me to consistently and purposefully work on not allowing emotion to rule. However, sometimes I fail at this simply because I subconsciously choose to not let peace reign supreme. Yesterday, God retaught a valuable lesson to me that I plan to revisit often, for it brought clarity to how the enemy works to bring our ‘house of thoughts’ down around us.

It all comes down to remembering.

Those who are actively working towards a God-directed, monumental, impacting, spiritual goal need to remember one thing: your enemy does not want you to succeed. Hence, he will work to make God’s planned goal for you seem unattainable in any way imaginable. Let me show you what I mean.

Our current goal is learning the Finnish language. Anyone who has never heard the language spoken has no grasp of the difficult task that we are working to complete. Am I whining? No, because I truthfully see the necessity of it. In Finland, the language is intrinsically bound up in the culture, and vice versa. So, to connect with people, we have to know the language.

I want to speak. Badly. I yearn to be able to just burst out in paragraphs so much that I can nearly taste it. Instead, I sound less educated than a Finnish three-year-old toddler! And, sometimes, satan uses that against me. “You sound stupid. You can’t get it right. Why do you even try? People are laughing at you! You’ll never learn. It’s too hard. Give up.” Some days, I struggle to just answer a simple “How are you?” Then on others, I sit and listen to Finns speak to me in long paragraphs and understand nearly every word, even though I can’t answer with much. You guessed it – this was a major part of my hurdle last week, and it’s not the first time I’ve dealt with it.

So, God reminded me of a few things.

  • December 2010 – We arrived not knowing more than a half-dozen Finnish words. Studying prior to departure was impossible due to the difficult nature of the language (we tried); we needed to be among the Finnish people and surrounded with the sounds of it.
  • January 2011 – we couldn’t even rent our own apartment because we couldn’t get past people hanging up on us, as the owners didn’t feel comfortable communicating with non-Finnish speakers. We didn’t know what utility companies to call. We didn’t know all of the laws and requirements necessary to even be able to rent a place to live, although we’d done months of research on the internet prior to leaving the States. We didn’t even know where to start.
  • September 2011 – we started our first university language class, passing and receiving our certificates in December 2011. Yes!
  • January 2012 – we started our second university language class (whew, it’s a “killer”)
  • February 2012 – God directed us to move and we found an apartment on our own. We didn’t need a relocation service, although a friend does have to communicate with the current tenant, who speaks no English, for us. The positive side of that? We have a good friend who is willing to help us, another ‘something’ that wasn’t present when we arrived in December 2010!
  • March 2010 – We know over 1,500 Finnish words (although most days, it surely doesn’t feel like it)!
That’s just one hurdle, and we’re still in the process of getting over it! I shake my head in amazement when I think back over 2011. Wow, what a year of shock in the midst of cultural differences, tests, trials, and more.

Now, let’s talk about you for a minute. 
What has God placed in front of you to do that seems impossible? What does the enemy speak into your mind to dissuade you?

“What was God thinking? You aren’t capable of that! You don’t have the qualifications, education, or experience. Does He seriously think you can do what He has asked you to do? What is with God, always asking you to do hard things? Why even try? You’re just making a fool of yourself. The requirements for that goal are just too difficult. It will never happen. No one will ever believe you. No one will ever support you. You don’t know the right people to make that happen … … … …”

Sound familiar?

It all comes down to remembering, and doing it often. Stake your claim on the very moment that God told you to do something. Then, revisit that moment over and over, both verbally and intuitively.

God would not have called you to do something if He didn’t think you were capable of achieving it. It could be that at the moment of His calling or direction, you weren’t ready. Many times, that is the case. He calls, then He continually teaches, molds, and shapes us for that calling, for He knows that you’ve got the ‘stuff that it takes’ to make it happen – – He just had to see if you were willing to accept His bidding. We also must remember that God does not use an overnight – or microwave – process. Sometimes, our spiritual boot-camp takes years.

Consider some Biblical obstacles: Noah and the ark (Genesis 6 & 7); Joshua and the battle of Jericho (Joshua 5 & 6); Jonathan and his armorbearer versus the Philistines (1 Samuel 14). Each man was faced with an incredible obstacle, but through the direction and help of the Lord, all overcame and were victorious.  God even goes to great lengths in order to protect those who are doing His bidding: Paul (Acts 23:12-30; Acts 14:19); Peter’s escape from jail (Acts 12:3-11).

Would He do any less for – and with – you?

I challenge you to view your goal in a different light. Prayerfully set your enemy’s discouraging attempts aside and focus on that which you know God called you to do, for the Lord would not call you, then frustrate you. God is a God of order, not confusion.

Here is some departing “food for thought”: If things aren’t happening, make them happen! Start something! Could it be that God is waiting on you to step out of the boat?

Ephesians 6:10-18
(10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
(11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
(12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
(14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
(15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
(16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
(17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
(18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Glenda Alphin

(Interested in how Finnish sounds? Visit & click on a kBits/sec listening link to get a taste of Christian music in Helsinki, Finland.) 


Filed under Christianity, Faith, God, Missions, Prayer, Religion, Spirituality

2 responses to “Remember!

  1. If the link doesn’t work and you’re still interested enough to pursue something else, give a shot. The puheradio station is Finnish talk radio (I just tested it; it works 🙂 ).

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