To win the battle, you must bury the head. Let us talk about this. I am not an expert on the process of killing venomous snakes, but I read a book called Goliath Must Fall written by pastor Louie Giglio. In a section of his book, he describes the adventures he lived when he would go to summer camp during his teenage years. As a camp counselor, pastor Louie had the horrifying mission of going snake hunting to protect the other teens from getting hurt by these venomous creatures. He described the hunting process and completed it by mentioning one important detail: the hunting battle against a snake was not over until the head of the dead snake was dug underground. Although the snake was dead, poison still sat in the fangs and leaving the head exposed would be very dangerous. They always buried the heads after each killing. Now, I have never lived in area where venomous snakes are common. However, if you have, you would agree with pastor Louie in his hunting process. The main lesson: even if the your problem is dead, you are not necessarily out of the danger zone.
What have we experienced during our lifetime that we have already defeated, but we have not yet buried?
Life can be harsh. On certain occasions, you have to do what pastor Louie did and go hunt down the factors that may cause a problem, but other times you get surprised with tasks that push you to the battlefield and you must go for the kill. Unfortunately, even when we overcome the physical damages of a situation, the memories can still be very vivid, and they revive the pain associated with our past experiences. The snake is dead, but the danger of its venom is still alive and can still destroy you. You see, if you continue to feed into your feelings, you have not won the battle. The more you circle on negative thoughts, the closer you are getting to the venomous head. You do not sense it, but you are walking right towards it.
This is my battle story. For years I struggled with anxiety. The anxiety led to a depression that got my physical body sick. Often, I did a phenomenal job hiding my reality to others. The anxiety and depression had reached a point where I was unable to eat. My weight dropped dramatically. I visited multiple doctors, they were unsuccessful in finding the cause of my distress. For 10 years I suffered the pains of this mental illness. My emotions took full control of me. The negative comments people made of me became the primary thoughts in my head. Those thoughts led to other negative thoughts, it was an illness that held full possession of my mind. I fed a monster I later could no longer control. The thoughts of hopelessness, unworthiness, unattractiveness, unskilled, untalented, and feelings of being an outcast with no future circled in my head day in and day out. I learned to accept them and welcomed negativity in my life. I gave life to these thoughts, but a dream would change my course.
Prescribed with antidepressants, the doctor warned me of the possible side effects I would experience in the coming days. I took my first pill and went to bed. That night I had a vivid dream. I saw myself in a room and a black cloud hugged me. The power this thing carried outweighed my strength. In my dream, I tried hard to push off the arms holding me, but I kept failing to do so. I remember being unable to move because this thing had a tight grip on me, all I could do was speak and I spoke to it. I recall proclaiming who God created me to be. I reminded it I was stronger and more powerful because God stood in front, behind and to my side; the louder my voice got, the stronger I became and my arms gained the power to take this thing off. When I succeeded, the cloud vanished. I awoke from my sleep and took time to comprehend what I had seen. My life changed after that dream. Depression is a dark monster. I fed it for far too long and I knew at that point only God’s power would help me destroy it. I made a determination that negative thoughts would no longer have space in my mind. I wholeheartedly believe I defeated a beast of depression that night, but the negative thoughts came knocking on my door for some time longer, I buried them with positive thoughts and I included the name of Jesus often. It would go something like the following:
My mind: You can’t do anything right.
Me out loud: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
My mind: You can’t do that, you’re too scared
Me out loud: God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self control
My mind: You’re too ugly to find anyone to love you
Me out loud: God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
My mind: You will never succeed.
Me out loud: God knows the plans he has for me- plans that will give me hope and a future.
Over and over and over again, I spoke against my negative thoughts. I buried them as they came against me. If I allowed the negative thoughts to circulate my mind again, I would walk right back into the danger zone. Defeating it would not have been enough. I needed to make sure I buried the venom to declare my victory.
My encouragement for you today is to bury the snake head. Walk in the freedom God has given you. Some of you may have or are living situations a lot tougher than mine, but I confidently say that if we speak words of life to ourselves more often, we will see our lives transformed. I experienced it. The point is winning your battle by not allowing a bad experience take control of your thoughts and emotions for years to come. Bury anything that may be pushing you behind in your healing progress. Allowing these things around in your life will only put you at risk of getting struck by its poison. With that said, go grab your shovel and start digging.
“If you don’t learn to control your thoughts, you will never learn how to control your behavior”- Joyce Meyer