Rock ‘n Roll’s Life Advice
My hubby and I would probably both agree that one of our favorite Tom Petty songs is “I Won’t Back Down.” At one point in our lives, it was probably due to the fact that we were both a little hard-headed or stubborn, if you will. Marriage, maturity, and God have all had a hand in softening up those hard edges, but something about this song still strikes a chord in me. Recently I was out running and listening to it on my mp3 player. I thought of it as such a literal way we should face life.
Well, I won’t back down, no I won’t back down. You could stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down. Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around. And I’ll keep this world from dragging me down. Gonna stand my ground, and I won’t back down.
I think of the spiritual weapons we are told to use in Ephesians: the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, the helmet of salvation, and the belt of truth. I remember a friend pointing out, “There’s nothing to protect your backside! You better stand and fight the devil–you better not run!” I’ve thought of that so many times in life. We are to flee evil, but when it comes to the enemy attacking us, we better just hunker down and fight.
Life throws us things we don’t expect and things we feel unprepared for. Sometimes we actually feel like we are being attacked on every side….in our family, in our friendships, in our career, in our reputation, etc. Don’t back down. There are times when life has me down, beaten down, laying prone before God and crying out. But I have learned to not back down in the sense of running away. I have learned that it is okay to be down, but to pray for the strength to stand back up again and literally stand my ground.
When Life Gives Us a Chance to Stand
In the last couple of years I’ve struggled with feeling depressed. I have rarely lost the will to carry on or to face a new day, but I would say that I haven’t been operating at full capacity for a long, long time. The last six months have been heart-breaking, soul-crushing at times. A good friend was unexpectedly taken home to the Lord. In the wide wake of grief, friendships changed and some even became broken. My husband and I truly felt hard-pressed on every side at times. Even my dh’s business slowed down and we found ourselves living on not much more than faith. Loneliness, grief, fear, and insecurity gripped me on a daily basis. On my knees, so many times in tears, I felt so broken, but I also felt a small little faith deep in my soul that kept me holding my ground. I knew that everything that Satan wanted to use for evil, God would turn for good–and not just my good, but more importantly, the Lord’s good will and purpose. I knew that God was working out my character, allowing me to be broken in order to rebuild me for good. I felt what I felt (the things that kept me in tears), but I also knew what I knew (which kept me from backing down).
Some circumstances have begun to turn, others have not. I am sure that there will be days that bring me back down again, but I am so thankful that I am able to say that the darkness has lifted and the light has begun pouring in. Last week I felt better than I honestly have in two years. I felt happiness and determination and pleasure in ways that I had forgotten. I enjoyed my children more than I have in years. I am mortified to think I have gone this long without truly treasuring them. I’ve lacked selflessness in my marriage and perspective in relationships. How grateful I am that Christ strengthens us and empowers us in every situation. How thankful I am to be on the other side of the darkness. How glad I am that faith, while it didn’t keep me from falling, it kept me from turning around and turning away.