Monday mornings are notorious for slow starts. At least they are at my house. This week was no different. Matt and I had an amazing plan to get up early and go to the gym. I set our alarm for 5:00 with no intention of snoozing…for me this is a hard choice I have to make the night before. I love the snooze button.
Morning comes and the alarm begins to blare on my table and I make the first mistake. I hit the snooze. Then I do it again and again and again until it is 6:30 and time to actually get up to wake up the kids. Fail.
This morning however was a little different. I began to have a strange dream in the midst of my snoozing. I felt very heavy in my body and I couldn’t think clearly. In my dream I couldn’t get up, I continued to sleep until it was after 10:00. I didn’t care that the kids had school, It didn’t matter to me that the dog hadn’t been taken out. In my dream all I wanted to do was sleep.
As I got up and started getting ready for the day I couldn’t shake the feeling that my dream was not just a dream but I felt like the Lord was trying to show me something.
Last week was a tough week. As pastors we were dealing with a number of situations that were heartbreaking and heavy. We were hurting with our people who were hurting. There is a very helpless feeling when you love someone and they are hurting. It is hard for me to handle the truth that there is nothing I can do for someone who is hurting, but bring encouragement, prayer and of course warm cookies.
I realized what the Lord was showing me was a warning for me and also for those people who are a part of our church. There is an assignment from the enemy to bring a spirit of heaviness upon us. When the spirit of heaviness comes upon us it attempts to keep us down, sad, broken, hurting and lost. These feelings, though they are real and often justified, when they are persistent in our lives keep us from living the life God has for us. This heaviness takes over and we no longer can do the things we love to do, we no longer care whether or not we get out of bed and have a productive day. When the spirit of heaviness comes upon us we lose sight of who God is.
The Spirit of Heaviness causes us to forget that God is good and he has good things planned for us. It keeps us for trusting that God sees what we can not see, so when we are hurting and disappointed we struggle to trust that God has a plan in our pain.
A spirit of heaviness can only be combatted one way. The Bible tells us in Isa 61:3 that we must “have the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. The Spirit of God has given us a tool to
Replace the spirit of heaviness with a garment of praise. Think of this garment of praise like a coat. It is there for you to pick up and put it on. You make a choice to praise God no matter how hurt you are, no matter how desperate you are, no matter what your life looks like, you choose to put on the garment of praise and it replaces the spirit of heaviness.
So many of us are struggling through this life feeling lost, broken and defeated. Can I encourage you today, first you are not alone and second God has given us His spirit so that we can defeat every attack of the enemy in our lives.
Identify if you are struggling with a spirit of heaviness. Once you identify it, begin to praise God that you don’t have to stay living under a cloud of despair. Come out from the darkness, put on the garment of praise. Day by day, monday by monday choose to praise Him in the face of heaviness.
If you need a little help, have a listen to this song.
I recommend listening to it loudly.
If you feel the spirit of heaviness has a foothold in your life, let me share a prayer with you to lead you in taking authority over the spirit of heaviness.
Father God, I thank you that I have been given all authority on heaven and on earth to declare freedom from the Spirit of Heaviness. I pray in Jesus name that I would be free from the attack of the enemy on my life. I declare that you are good God, you are powerful, you are for me and not against me. I pray that I would walk in a spirit of peace. I pray that your spirit would fill me and replace every bit of heaviness that would attempt to keep me from moving forward in the life that you have for me. Thank you for giving me Jesus, for giving me your Holy spirit so that I am not powerless in this life, but powerful in your spirit on the inside of me. In Jesus Name, Amen!
Carrie Erikson is the co-pastor of Mercy City Church in Lincoln, Nebraska, alongside her husband Matt. Matt and Carrie planted Mercy City through ARC on February 8, 2015 and have seen radical growth in the church over the last three years, launching a second location in Lincoln at the beginning of 2018. Before moving to Lincoln to plant Mercy City, she lived in Macon, GA, and Rockford, IL, where she and Matt served as campus pastors and youth pastors for nearly 14 years. Matt and Carrie have been married since 2001 and have four children, Cooper (15), Elijah and Emery (13), and Lilah Jane (8).
Carrie is a graduate of Liberty University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Counseling. She has worked in the Special Education Department at public schools in both Georgia and Nebraska, and has recently felt the call to go into full time ministry as Mercy City continues to grow. She has been blogging since 2012, was recently named a new Voice for Women of Faith, and is currently working on her first book.
Carrie’s heart is to see people find hope in Christ, no matter what their circumstance or situation. It is her greatest hope that people can find freedom in God’s faithfulness. She has traveled all over the US and internationally in 7 other countries bringing a message of hope. It is truly her heart’s desire to see every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.