On Deer, Demons, and Staying Thirsty

It was shaping up to be a pretty rough day. Not because of an illness, an accident, or other recognizable misfortune.

It was simply because of the demons that began haunting my mind.

“You’re not productive enough.”

“You haven’t reached your potential.”

“You’re such a disappointment.”

“You’re inadequate as a wife, as a writer, as a teacher.”

“As a person.”

Mind you, these words didn’t come from anyone else. My husband lovingly tells me the opposite of these declarations daily. My family loves and supports me. I have wonderful friends.

That’s why I call these intrusive thoughts demons. I know they are not true, but they try to take over my brain against my will, seemingly on a whim when they are wanting to stir up trouble.

We need to stay thirsty like the deer. (c) National Park Service

We need to stay thirsty like the deer.
(c) National Park Service

They say that Satan seeks to create division among us and between us and God. Maybe these thoughts are his minions at work.

And so, I had resigned myself to a rough day, because I had been there before. Distractedly, I poured myself a cup of coffee and gazed out the window.

That’s when I saw him.

A deer — a large buck with an impressive rack of antlers — was lying in the snow just beyond our fence. He looked peaceful…almost majestic. We often see deer wandering in the wooded lot out back, but this deer was special.

The words came out of my mouth before I had time to think about them. I spoke them out loud to an empty house:

“You’re so beautiful, and you don’t even know it.”

I remember wishing the deer could hear me. And then I suddenly realized that this precious sighting happened on purpose.

What I wanted the deer to know is what God wants us to know about ourselves.

We are all beautiful inside, but most of us don’t know it — at least, not all the time. We need to put our demons to rest and start trusting the truth of God’s Word about who we really are.

I couldn’t help but search His Word to explore why He might have used a deer to send me this crucial message right when I needed to hear it:

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. (Psalms 18:33)

That He did. It wasn’t going to be such a rough day after all. And when those demons come to haunt me again, I know exactly what I’ll do:

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. (Psalms 42:1)

In this world full of criticisms and comparisons, we are so vulnerable to harsh self-judgments that make us feel ugly inside. But this is only what our demons want us to believe to draw us away from God and further into lies and despair.

But we are thirsty; we are panting for the truth. Blessedly, the truth is there for us to find.

And as I witnessed that morning, if we seek it, it finds us in the most unexpected places.

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