How to Punch Holes in the Darkness Until It Bleeds Light

My friend Margaret Feinberg is a funny, beloved Bible teacher who shares a heart for adventure and will literally go to the ends of the earth to learn more of Scripture and encounter God in wondrous ways. We’ve spoken at many conferences, shared a tent in Israel, and even walked the Emmaus road at sunrise together. She shares with deep vulnerability her pain in order to reveal Christ’s presence. If you’re struggling with the mess of the moment, the darkness and pain, you’ll find a buoy of hope and a powerful spiritual practice to remind you how tight God holds you. It’s grace to welcome Margaret to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Margaret Feinberg

I woke up exhausted and run down.

Long before the pandemic, discouragement had descended without warning, stealing my joy and thrusting me into a crisis that left me ever-spinning over my identity, decision making, and future.

This wasn’t the type of chemically induced melancholy that could be helped by medication (which I fully believe we should take when necessary!).

No, this was altogether different—more existential and more spiritual. Dark days rolled into murky months until lostness and lethargy became my new normal.

One day, my husband, Leif, and I lunched with one of our most matter-of-fact confidantes, Chris. He waited for until the perfect moment to stare me straight in the eyes, and drop a truth bomb:

“I don’t know how or when it happened, but you’ve made some agreements with God that just aren’t true.”

Startled by his bluntness, I recoiled and grew defensive, but he continued on.

Over the past few years, he said, my descriptions of myself, my career, my relationships, and my perception of God had morphed. Much of it came from a series of brutal struggles—a cancer diagnosis, financial woes, failed friendships, a painful betrayal, unanswered prayers—which all worked together to corrode my confidence, leaving me shaky and uncertain.

As I reflected on Chris’ words, a verse I’d loved since childhood spoke to me as if for the first time.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world,” Paul writes in Romans 12:2, “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Chris was right.

The negative patterns emerging in my life had arisen in my mind and disempowered me as a child of God. If I wanted to take back my life and regain my power, I needed to untangle the lies from the truth.

Soon after arriving home, I locked myself in a room with paper, pen, and prayer.

There, I scribbled a list of my agreements:

I am ugly.

I am unlovable.

I am unworthy of good things or success.

I’m a fraud.

I should be further along by now.

It’s only a matter of time before the other shoe drops.

With each new entry, hot tears streamed down my face.

I had no idea how debilitating my thought life had become. I was locked in a dungeon of lies that left me alone, ashamed, afraid, trapped.

I realized that I wasn’t making agreements with God, as much as I was making agreements with the enemy, the accuser of the saints.

When we agree with something that’s untrue, that agreement shapes our lives until it becomes the standard by which we live.

One of the most destructive agreements you can make is that your current reality is all that will ever be. You’ll never escape the dead-end job, abusive relationship, or black hole of debt.

The agreement “My situation will never improve” soon becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You begin avoiding opportunities to escape, because you’re convinced your efforts will end in failure.

You become Sherlock Holmes, collecting clues that confirm the untruth that you are forever stuck right where you are.

Before you know it, your life, your potential, and your dreams wither and weaken.

The agreement then becomes a stronghold that stands in the way of fulfilling your God-given destiny.

That’s when I snatched some paper from the printer and penned a list of Power Declarations deeply rooted in Scripture. Each one was specifically to confront the lies in my life and seem to be so prevalent in our culture today.

Starting that day, I devoted 90-seconds each morning to reading through this Scripture-based list out loud.

One by one, I rejected the lies I’d accepted as truth and made bold Power Declarations rooted in Scripture about God’s goodness, the fierce love of Christ, and my worth. With each declaration, I poked holes in the darkness until it bled light.

Seventy-two hours later, Leif said, “Something’s radically different about you—you’re lighter and freer than I’ve seen in months.”

Though it may sound hard to believe, taking 90-seconds each morning to recite these Power Declarations has changed my life, my outlook, my impact.

When the Accuser whispers in my ear, I shut him down with the truth of who God is, what God says, and who am I as God’s child.

I had no idea how critical these Daily Power Declarations would be for both my husband Leif and I during the pandemic.

They’ve been a lifeline to us every day. That’s why I have them tucked into the back of my Bible, on the bathroom mirror, and yes, pinned above the toilet paper roll.

I bet you’ve made some untrue agreements with God too.

Perhaps you’ve accepted the lie that your best days are behind you, that you’ve grown unattractive, that you’re a bad parent or an inadequate spouse, that your life is less glamorous than the lives of all your “friends” on social media or that this pandemic will never end.

These kinds of thoughts fuel our fears and insecurities.

But you are not bound to this agreement and can break it whenever you choose.

You have the ability to deliver a one-two power punch to any lie. The apostle Paul instructs us to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

If the God who made the galaxies lives inside you, then you have the power—through Christ—to denounce every destructive agreement that raises itself up against the truth of God.

Take hold of paper, pen, and prayer today. Ask God to reveal the agreements have slipped into your life and need to be renounced.

With each one, say aloud, “I break every agreement that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.”

Demolish them one at a time, take stray thoughts captive, and identify scriptures that counteract the lies. As you embark on this life transformation, grab a journal, a pen, and a few friends. Because we’re always better together.

If the Spirit of Almighty God lives inside of you, then you are a spiritual powerhouse.

God created you, called you, and equipped you. And thanks to Him, there is power for you, with you, and in you to defeat the powers that be.

The time has come for you to shake off the lies that have shackled you to shame, married you to mediocrity, and drowned you in doubt.

If you’re ready to break free from fear and take your life back, then more power to you! Let’s do this together, my friend!

 

Host of the popular podcast, The Joycast, Margaret Feinberg is a popular speaker whose books have sold more than one million copies.

In Margaret’s new groundbreaking devotional, More Power To You: Break Free From Fear and Take Your Life Back, you’ll launch into each day by reading the biblical affirmations aloud. Then you’ll read through the humorous, empowering devotions to discover that in Christ there’s more power for you, with you, and in you to defeat the darkness and difficulties you face. And Margaret’s has delightful gifts—the frameable 90-Second Power Declarations, an audio of the declarations, custom coloring pages, a book club kit, and more for you for free if you order your book today.

Margaret’s invitation to journey with her toward wholeness and healing should not be missed in her new book More Power To You. This is tonic for toxic times, and a field guild for the brave new world we’re living in. 

[ Our humble thanks to Zondervan for their partnership in today’s devotion ]