Upon first hearing the “How to Win the Battle Within” lesson from Mei and Stephanie, I was impressed! I loved the teaching from Genesis 4 on Cain, how the Lord asked him, “Why are you so angry?” and told him, “You must subdue it.” What a great message. “That one is a keeper,” I thought. It’s one the Lord wanted to be sure I truly kept – I obviously needed to do more than hear it to retain it. I needed to walk through it.  

I recently volunteered to serve at an event that I didn’t really have a desire to be a part of.  “This is not my place,” I thought. “This is not for me.” But as I reasoned why I shouldn’t be there, I began to see where it could benefit my spiritual maturity. The very reasons I had for not going were the reasons I needed to be there. I’m in! I’ll do it! I want what the Lord wants!  

His ways are so much higher. In my mind, I knew exactly why I was there. I was ready to learn those lessons and mark them off my list. But I also reasoned that if I was going to be there anyway, why not be used by the Holy Spirit to usher in His presence, freely give away words of knowledge and encouragement, and make an impact. All for His glory. These people needed to see the Holy Spirit in action. I strongly desired to see and feel Him flow through me. “I am Yours, Lord!” “I am willing!” “I know it will be hard, but I will be a fool for You!” I prayed such things frequently and fervently. His ways are higher. 

At the end of a very long day, I had feelings. Not only had I not looked any differently than those who I decided needed to see Holy Spirit, but I felt as if I did look like a fool, and not because Holy Spirit was flowing through me – I managed it all by myself. It was a hard night. I wanted so badly to be used and to help others see and feel the supernaturalness of our God. I saw nothing but my own efforts fail.  

I managed to keep the feelings of failure bottled up so that they gushed out of me when I was finally alone. I felt out of control and was unsure I cared to stop it. I just wanted those negative feelings out of me. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that the feelings were so strong, but in the moment, they were very strong and very real. I cried from deep within my belly. I basically told the Lord, “I love You and will serve my family in Your name, but don’t ask me to ever do anything like that again! If You’re not going to use me, I’m not going!” I threw a temper tantrum to the point of attempting to destroy reminders of that night. How did I let it get that far?!  

I attempted to relay the events and all the feelings to my husband, hoping to hear some words of encouragement that would help me snap out of it.  I got the opposite. In hindsight, that was God’s grace. I needed to learn to strengthen myself in the Lord so I would run to Him in times of need, not just to my husband. The Lord alone had the words of life that I needed. As I went to open my Bible, my eyes fell on my notebook. I saw notes on the story of Cain and Abel. I saw, “What provokes me?” Wow. Okay, what provokes me? I wrote: “Feeling like I messed up, don’t measure up; feeling like my offering isn’t as good – like I’ve given what I have and it was rejected (CAIN!)” Oh my goodness! I am Cain!  

My precious Father walked me through it: Why are you angry? 

“Because I feel like what I offered and requested was rejected. I feel like You didn’t come through for me, but I’m unsure where I failed You. (Perhaps I didn’t fail Him at all, but I had to go through this to learn to control my emotions, get back on track, and become Unstoppable!)” 

By: Margie Buford