In this episode, Lorissa invites us to not give the devil so much credit when unexpected challenges arise, but instead to keep our focus on our Lord and the  miracles He might be orchestrating in the midst of the struggles and pain. 

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Hello, my friends. Welcome to episode 78 of Made for Greatness. I am your host Lorissa for today’s episode. And as always, I’m excited that you’re here and I can’t wait to dive into today’s topic, which is all about not giving Satan too much credit. Now this has been on my heart for a while. It comes up in coaching from time to time, and it certainly is a topic that has come up for me this week, which is why I feel like maybe God is placing it on my heart to talk about this. We don’t talk about it a whole lot in the, in the way that I’m gonna be sharing with you. But before we actually dive in, I want to say this, we are sneaking up. If you’re listening to this episode live, you know, time as we’re releasing it, we’re about to enter into the month of May and Sterling

And I really want to focus the month of May on helping Catholic moms have the most amazing, productive, calm May that they can have because literally for most of us May is one of those months that there’s just so much going on and it kind of sneaks up on us, right? Like we’re kind of going along through the year. And then all of a sudden here we are right on the precipice of May. And we start to see our calendars filling up significantly with graduations and parties and communion confirmations, all of it mothers say so much. And then we find ourselves just, you know, scrambling and just kind of in a state of stress and overwhelm. And that’s what we don’t want because this is the deal. All of the things that we have are at least most of the things that we have on our to-do list in May are beautiful, amazing, fun, memorable moments that we want to really be able to in joy.

And we wanna celebrate. And we wanna be with our family and friends and embrace these very special moments. And so we wanna go into it with a plan, feeling excited, productive, energized, calm, like we are really able to manage our minds, manage our life, even though it feels like maybe we’re juggling a lot of balls right now. Like that’s how we wanna go into it. So if you are not yet in masters, I want to invite you to come and join us. You’re not gonna wanna miss us. We’re gonna set everyone up for success in May. Our hope and prayer is that for every Catholic mom that does this with us at the beginning of May, that by the end of May, they are sitting there on their back patio, sipping their coffee or their glass of wine or whatever it happens to be saying, wow, I did it.

We did it. We had such an amazing month. And I showed up in a way where I was present and excited. And I made connections with my children and my husband, my friends. And it was an amazing month. Now this is the deal we don’t get to that point at the end of the month by accident, that moment doesn’t just happen accidentally. It happens with planning and it happens with intention and it happens with us determining at the beginning of the month, how we, we wanna show up and how we wanna put a plan into place to be successful so that we can not only be celebrating those moments throughout the month, but we can celebrate ourselves at the end of the month and say, wow, I really did it. I’m proud of how I showed up. And I really had months where I felt like I was thriving, not just surviving.

So if you wanna move out of a survival mode, if you wanna stop feeling like you’re drowning and spinning and overwhelmed, this is the month to join us and to set a plan in place so that you can be really successful. This is what we want for all of our members, especially in the month of May. Now the really cool thing is if you can thrive in the month of May , and if you can get the process down on how to do this well, can you imagine the rest of the year, you can handle anything you can handle the summer months with the kids at home, you can handle the vacations. You can handle the holidays coming up in the fall and in winter you can handle it all. And this is what we want for all moms in this world, this is what we need more  for all of us.

All right? So let’s dive into today’s topic, which is not like, which is all about not giving the devil too much credit. Now I wanna preface this by saying that we as Catholics, like we know that the devil is real. We know that Satan is real. I’m not trying to say that he doesn’t exist or that he’s not real, or that he’s not actively working in this world. We know that we see the effects of him and his, what he’s doing from, and we’ve seen it from the beginning of time, since, since Adam and Eve, right. Him going in and messing things up. And so I don’t wanna try to say that he’s not present or he’s not working. That’s not the case. We know that he’s real. But what I wanna say is I just wanna like create some possibilities for us to really analyze our thoughts and think about where we are placing

Our thoughts, our energy, when it comes to things in our life that don’t always go as planned or when things happen that maybe are unexpected or challenging or a struggle or suffering. Because so often we as Catholics, we as Christians, we can easily just put the blame on Satan and say, you know, the devil is just trying to mess with me or he’s, you know, something went wrong and it’s the devil’s fault. He did this. And in a lot of ways, we can find ourselves spending a lot of time thinking about him and thinking about the ways that we feel. He’s kind of trying to derail us. And there have been periods in my life, years in my life, particularly in working in ministry where I gave him way too much credit, anytime something went wrong. And it was always like, you know, I was always trying to do things for the church and ministry and building up the kingdom of God.

And it just felt like when anything went wrong, it was like, oh, there he is. Again, it’s just the devil trying to mess this up. He’s trying to get in the way he’s trying to derail, he’s trying to distract. And I would oftentimes just find myself saying that, thinking that, feeling that and focusing on that, and there have been some very powerful moments that I wanna share on this episode that have, have helped me to see proof that that’s not always true, or maybe that’s not what’s happening, or maybe that’s a story that I’m into. And maybe even that is part of his plan is that he wants me to think that he is doing that where God revealed a, a different story, a different truth to me. And that’s what I wanna just focus on. And if anything, if you walk away from this episode, it’s my hope that maybe you might have a little bit of a shift when it comes to this.

If you find yourself sane, you know, or thinking about the devil derailing you on a day to day basis or on a regular consistent basis. I know, you know, some examples for me of when I would do this a lot was particularly if I had a big retreat coming up and then it would just seem like all these little things would go wrong. Like, you know, my computer would crash or the copy machine would break down right before I needed to make a bunch of copies. And all of a sudden I’m, I’m already stressed, but now I feel really more stressed and I’m like, oh, the devil does not want me to be successful because this big retreat’s gonna happen. Things like that. I remember one time I was contracted to come and speak at a women’s conference in Portland and you know, I was preparing for this for months.

And then I, I get on the, you know, get to the airport and the flight’s canceled and there’s no other flights because of leather and I wasn’t able to go. And my first inclination was like, oh my gosh, the devil just, he does, you know, just wants to mess this up. I think about the times that maybe I’m trying to get to an important meeting and then I get stuck in traffic, or there’s all this construction I’m running late. And I used to just blame that like, oh my gosh, Satan is just, he wants me to be late for this meeting. He doesn’t want me to get there, all of these things. And I would just kind of focus on that in a really, you know, negative way. Sometimes our car breaks down or something goes wrong in the house and it’s just like, oh, all this stuff is going wrong.

It must be the devil’s fault. And when we do this, I just want us to be aware of, like, when we have these thoughts, how does it make us feel? I know when I reflect on that question and have reflected on that in the past, I notice that I feel angry. I feel frustrated. I feel powerless. And I feel Mo like probably the emotion I feel strongest is I feel defeated. Like I think to myself, I’m trying to do all these things, God, or, you know, Lord, I’m trying to like, do these things or live this life for you. And then these things happen. And, and it’s just the devil wanting to get in the way of all of it. I just feel defeated. And what I’ve come to realize is when I have those thoughts, when I give the devil the credit for those negative things that happen, what I actually doing is I’m giving him the power in my life.

Like I’m turning over my power to him. Like as though he’s more powerful than me or that he’s even more powerful than God in a way, that’s what we do. And we kind of give him credit, even the things that go wrong in our lives, or even when we find ourselves admitting suffering. And, we think that he’s the cause of that. And so I’ve come to this point in my life where I’m like, Ooh, I don’t like that. I don’t really want to think about him a whole lot. And I certainly don’t wanna give him credit. I don’t wanna give him power, any power over me in my life. And so I found myself really trying to catch myself from saying things like that from thinking things like that, because I don’t want to take up brain space. I don’t wanna take up thoughts that I know to cause those emotions of feeling defeated and powerless, angry and frustrated when something goes wrong.

And I think it’s a result of him in some way, working in my life. And so I’ve had some really powerful examples. Like I said, some really eye opening things that have happened to me. I wanna share a couple of those with you right now. One of the first situations was years ago, probably eight or nine years ago, when my husband and I were helping to coordinate our Idaho Catholic youth conference. And we, every year we would fly in the Dominican sisters from Nashville. And so I had booked to bring in three of the sisters, they were gonna fly in for this youth conference. And I had booked their plane tickets and had been in conversation with them for a couple months, preparing for their I, their itinerary, all of that and was so excited to have them joining us for the entire conference the entire weekend.

And on the morning of the con youth conference, I got a call at like three in the morning from the airport saying that their flight had been canceled. So I got on immediately. Now, now you can imagine. And first of all, I have hundreds of other things that I have to focus on as this conference is about to start. And then now all of a sudden, I’m trying to figure out how to get the sisters rerouted to our conference. And of course the first thought that goes into my mind is like, oh my gosh, Satan is behind this. He doesn’t want the sisters there. He knows how powerful their presence is gonna be, and is gonna impact so many souls for God. He’s trying to mess this up. And I instantly started feeling angry and frustrated and defeated. And I’m like, no, this is not gonna happen.

But as I’m calling the airport and calling different airlines, it’s very obvious that there’s no way that we can get them into our conference until halfway through their con, like the next day into the next evening. So I call the sisters and we’re having this conversation and I’m frustrated and disappointed and I’m talking to the sisters and they’re like, Larissa, it’s, everything’s gonna be okay. God is in control. Let’s give this over to God. And just trust that he has a plan in it. And I’m like, okay, okay. You know, trying to do that. But they even said, maybe we should just cancel, like not come, but I wanted them to come so badly. And I was like, well, we can get you on a flight and you can come in Saturday evening. At least you’ll be there for the evening part.

And the Sunday morning part, at least we’ll have you here. So we rebooked him on a new flight and I just continued on with the conference and all the other things that I had to do. But deep down inside, I just had this restless anger that I was like, Satan is behind this. This is my fault. This is what he’s doing. And I just gave him so much credit for messing everything up in regards to the sisters coming in. So anyways, the conference gets started, everything’s going okay. And then, sure enough, early on Saturday evening, the sisters showed up to our conference. They come walking in, they’re so full of joy in life. And I see them, I go running up to them and with all the joy and excitement that you could possibly imagine, like contained in a person, they just start hugging me and laughing.

And they’re like, look, Issa Larissa. We cannot wait to tell you the miracles of God and how he worked through this whole scenario. And I’m like, okay, what, tell me. And all of a sudden, each one of them started sharing with me. The, the people on the flights that they were sitting next to the conversations that they had, converse that they had with people in the airport, you know, like one of the sisters sat next to someone who had left the church 30 years ago, this man that had loved the church and through the two hour conversation with him, he was in tears. Now he wants to come back. He was asking like, how do I come back to the church? What do I need to do with all of this stuff like this, like one story after another of how God had used this scenario, this situation of their flight being canceled, and then being put on new flights and the lives that they had impacted on those flights.

And during that time, like I stood there at this conference hearing this story, which is tears streaming down my face thinking, oh my gosh, like, yes, like God, this scenario that I thought was so disappointing and so frustrating, like you got, of course you can bring something so good and so beautiful and make such a perfect plan in it. And this looked at me and they said, Larissa, see what God does. Like, he’s so amazing. And we just get to be a part of his plan unfolding, even when things don’t go as planned. And I cannot tell you how many times in my life, since that moment happened, that I’ve thought to myself, when, you know, when things come up, those struggles come up. Those inconveniences, those things that are so frustrating that we didn’t do that we weren’t planning. I just think of those sisters and their joy and the way in which they’re always looking for God to show up and to do something miraculous.

Those sisters live their lives, giving God the credit, giving God the opportunity, giving God the, the focus of taking something and making it better, taking something difficult and to lean it into something beautiful. And it’s just, it’s, it’s powerful, but really it’s a mindset shift. It’s how we look at things. It’s the lens in which we look through things. But to me, it’s the secret to why those sisters, the Nashville, Dominican sisters have so much joy. It’s just one of those little things and so many other religious orders. And that, that I’ve been blessed to know. Like they kind of live like that. They live in the present moment. They live in a patient of God showing up and doing the miraculous and they don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on the devil getting in the way of that. Why? Because we all know that even no matter, even if the devil does try to mess things up and it appears that that’s what is happening, God is always more powerful.

God is always more in control and God is always working to bring about a greater good. So why not focus more on that? And so I think that’s exciting. Like that’s the good news, right? So another thing that happened, another example that happened to me again, years back was somebody was talking about the three o’clock hour, like the divine mercy hour being three in the afternoon, which we all know that, right? Like that’s a really special hour that we’re called to pray and focus on God’s divine mercy. Well, somebody told me that the devil likes to take the 3:00 AM hour and take it for himself to kind of mess with us. And because he’s trying to mock God. So he, like, takes the three o’clock hour to mess with souls. And I, I don’t know where this person got that. Like, I’ve never read that anywhere, but somebody told me that and I’m frustrated that they told me and , I don’t even wanna plant that seed in your mind, but I just, just stay with me on this because I think this is powerful after I was told that I started like, thinking about that.

And I was like, huh, is that like a thing really like is a devil kind of like try to mess with souls as a, in order to mock our Lord’s holy divine hour. And sure enough, as you can imagine, shortly after I heard that I started waking up at three in the morning, like all of a sudden, like out of nowhere, I just started waking up and I would look at my alarm clock and I would say 3 0 5 or three 30. And the very first thing I would think of is, oh my gosh, I think the devil’s like, he’s waking me up. He’s trying to mess with me. He’s trying to freak me out. I don’t know. And so, as you can imagine, laying there in the middle of the night, especially in the middle of the night, when we’re like our minds, , there’s, you know, we’re tired, we’re exhausted.

And our, like our brain can kind of over exaggerate things to begin with in the middle of the night. That’s like where my brain would go and I would lay there, totally freaked out about it going, what the heck is going on. And then this started happening to me on a regular basis, like three or four times a week for probably two months. I just kept waking up and freaking myself out and sure. I would pray, but I would be like praying from a place of fear and like, okay, God like, please protect me. I don’t know what’s happening. Am I being spiritually attacked? What is this? And then I remember thinking about the Dominican and that whole scenario. And all of a sudden I had this powerful epiphany of this reality that why am I allowing the devil to disturb me like this? Why am I giving him credit and giving him this time?

Because, if you think about it, time is given to us. Like, time is a gift from God. Like God is the crater of all things. He is a, he is the crater of time and space. And every moment is given, is a gift from God and is an opportunity to know and to love and to serve. And so I don’t, I don’t wanna give the devil this time. I don’t wanna give him credit for messing with me at this time. So all of a sudden, I just thought this this hour, this 3:00 AM hour, like, or whatever time I happen to wake up in the middle of the night, this or belongs to our Lord this 30 minutes, this 10 minutes, this two minutes belongs to God because it’s his to begin with. He never gave this over to Satan. This is our Lord’s time.

And I want to focus on the fact that if I get woken up in the middle of the night, maybe this is an invitation from our Lord to say, Hey, Larissa, I wanna spend a little bit of time with you right now. Let’s make this our special time. And I also thought this, even if it’s three in the morning, somewhere in the world, it’s three in the, a, it is the divine mercy hour, somewhere in the world. And literally every hour, somewhere in the world is God’s divine holy hour. So I decided that if I wake up at three in the morning or two in the morning, or whenever it is, that is his divine hour. And that’s his divine invitation for me to spend time with him. And all of a sudden I looked at it as this incredible blessing. Like I’m like this, this hour belongs to our Lord.

And it’s an opportunity for me to pray and to be with him. And the devil has nothing to do with this. He does not claim this hour. He does not claim my peace. He does not claim my joy. He claims like he has nothing on me because this is God’s time. And guess what? After I had that realization and prayed most of the time, I stopped waking up at three in the morning. But when I do, like, if I do have those moments or I wake up and I look at the clock and it’s 3: 42 or whatever time it is four 15, I’m like, okay, I’m awake. And I give this moment to you. Let me just love you right now. Please love me. Please gimme your peace. I am yours. And if you wanted to wake me up, for whatever reason I give this time to you right now, it changes everything.

And all of a sudden, I have so much peace, peace about it. I don’t even think about the devil trying to mess with me. He has no power over me because I place my focus and attention on the one who deserves it on our Lord. Same thing with kind of like the number of 13. A lot of people become really superstitious about Satan and, and him claiming the number 13 or there’s like, you know, Friday the 13th is kind of scary and creepy and thirteen an unlucky number, but you know what? My kids, when they play sports and they have the opportunity to choose what number they want for their uniform, they always ask first for the number 13 . And this is why, because we, as a family, know that that number 13, it doesn’t belong to the devil. It’s not scary. It’s not creepy.

The number 13 is actually our blessing. Mother’s number. The blessed mother has appeared most likely so many times on the 13th, particularly in regards to fat. She first appeared to the children of Fatma on May 13th, and then every month after on the 13th. And then the miracle of Fatma happened on October 13th, 13th is Mary, like 13 is Mary’s number. How beautiful is that? And why not claim that number for Mary, that’s how special it is. Right? And so these are the things that we can do. Like how can we be looking at life from a, maybe a little different perspective? What if we looked at all of the little inconveniences, the struggles, the crosses, the, the unplanned scenarios that happen in our lives? What if, instead of our first response being like, you know, Satan’s trying to mess with me, maybe twisting it to be like, what is God?

Like, how is God calling me to maybe rely on him a little bit more? Or what miracle does God wanna do in this circumstance? You know, so often when things go wrong, like there’s never a good time for things to go wrong, right? There’s never really an ideal time for our car to break or for our tire to go flat or for, you know, the water heater to go to go out or for a child to get sick, or even for us to experience an injury or anything like that. Like, there’s never a good time for that to happen. But what if in those moments, when those things happen, our first inclination, our first thought was to think about, okay, God, what are you doing in this? How are you gonna work? What miracles are you gonna do in this moment? And in all honesty, the first thing that comes to my mind is the story of the wedding.

Feasta Canna. Like here is this perfect scenario where, you know, this couple that gets married and they’re celebrating and they’re having a great party. And of course, as we know, the wine runs out now, 2000 years ago for wedding celebrations like that, would’ve been a major deal that would’ve just ended the celebration, the party that was not a great thing running out of wine. It would’ve just ruined the whole celebration. But here in the midst of all of this, even behind the scenes, our blessing mother and our Lord, our like taking this, what could have been a really sad scenario situation, and God uses this moment. Our Lord uses this moment to do his first public miracle to change the water into wine and to make even the best wine possible here in this wedding for this couple. Like how beautiful is that? How many times is our Lord orchestrating things behind the scenes that maybe, maybe we just see, you know, on the surface like, oh gosh, like this negative thing has happened, but maybe even in that moment, God is doing something that we don’t see and he’s working on our behalf to make something that’s even better.

I think about even sometimes the struggles that we face, like they might be a struggle or a challenge for us, but it actually could become a better, a greater blessing. It might bless us in a different and in a better way, or it might even bless someone else. And I wanna just share an example of this. I have a good friend who is a handyman, and he shared this story with me once where he and his family were going through a really kind of financial struggle years ago. And he was praying. He was like asking God, please, Lord. You know, things are getting really tight here. It’s kind of scary. And I, I don’t know how I am gonna be able to support my family this month. Like the funds were depleting and all of a sudden he got a call from a, from a person who had gotten his number.

And what had happened is the night before there had been a major windstorm and this man the, a tree in his yard broke like a part of the tree broke off and landed on his roof and, and damaged his roof and, and the siding of his house and, and did some major damage to his property. And of course this was a huge inconvenience. It was an expense. The man had insurance, but you know, had to deal with this issue with his house, like none of us would wanna deal with that. That would be like a major inconvenience for any of us to have to deal with something like that. But for my friend, the handyman, like he went and he spent a couple weeks doing all the repair work and he ended up making almost $20,000 because it was, like , major repairs.

And it was a huge blessing for him and his family. And I think about this sometimes now, like maybe the water heater in our house goes out or something happens in our car or, you know, something like that happens. I don’t instantly think like, you know, why me, why now? Why did this happen? Sometimes I like, I think to myself, maybe this is an opportunity for me and my husband, our family, to, to bless someone. Maybe there’s a contractor out there right now that needs work. Maybe there’s a mechanic right now that needs work. And this is an opportunity, even though maybe it’s a bit of a hardship for us, right? Maybe God’s using this as an opportunity to bless someone else. And when we look at things from that perspective, we end up becoming instruments of God’s blessings. He uses us in a powerful way.

And when we approach life like that, we always know that we end up becoming the recipient, the recipients of even greater blessings. It’s really a powerful thing to think about and reflect on. And finally, my last point and this all up is this. If things were always perfect, if our day always went as planned, if nothing ever went wrong, if we were never faced with a challenge, then what kind of life would that be? First of all, how would we grow? And second of all, how, or why would we even feel like we needed to depend on God or turn to God or run to God? Sometimes God allows us to experience challenges or setbacks so that he can actually show up and do what he wants to do, or maybe so that we can get to a place where we’re like, God, I can’t do this on my own.

I need your help. I need you to step in and save the day I need. I need you to help take over. And I think about how powerful it is when we get to that point in these moments in our day to day moments, I don’t know about you, but it’s pretty rare for me to have what I consider a day that goes as planned. It rarely ever happens. And you know what, when it does like wow, great. But most of the time in our busy lives, raising families, having children, doing all the things that God’s place in our hearts to do things don’t go as planned people, don’t always act the way we anticipate that they’re gonna act, or we don’t always feel like we, we wish we could feel on a day to day basis. But that doesn’t mean that the devil is trying to mess with us.

It just means that we live in a, in a broken world where it’s not perfect. That’s the difference between this life and heaven in heaven is all gonna be perfect in heaven. There will not be, but a perfect day or a perfect moment. But right now we’re in this life in this world where things are gonna go wrong, where computers are gonna crash and where our tires are gonna go flat. And our water heaters are gonna break down and kids are gonna get sick and we’re gonna face major challenges and obstacle schools. And that is part of the extraordinary opportunity to be alive. That’s what it means to be fully alive, to be part of this experience, this adventure that is sometimes really, really, really good and amazing and beautiful, and sometimes challenging and hard and a struggle and a cross. But God is there in all of it.

Let’s give him credit for working on all of it. Being in all of it, walking with us in all of it. Let’s keep our eyes on him and let’s live our lives anticipating what he’s gonna do in all of it and how he’s gonna work and how he’s gonna show up. Let’s give him more credit and let St Michael the archangel deal with a devil. And that’s what the church really calls us to do to pray, to keep our hearts close to God, to receive the sacraments, to go to confession on a regular basis, to receive the Eucharist, to pray the rosary. Those are the ways we defeat the devil. Those are the ways like when we’re doing those things, the devil wants to run from us because we’re women filled with God’s grace and his life and his presence. We also have been given by God, a guardian angel who walks with us everywhere we go, who is also providing extra protection.

And this is one of the things I love to think about. So often, especially when I feel like I’m going to battle for the Lord, like I’m gonna go and, and put on a retreat or do ministry or, or when I’m coaching or things like that. I just envision my guardian angels standing there beside me, just shielding me and protecting me from any of the devil’s antics. Like I know who I am, I know I belong to God. I know that he’s giving me protection. I’ve got the weapons of the rosary of the sacraments. And like, I know I’m equipped. And I also know who is victorious. I know who wins. And I know how the story ends. It ends with victory over sin. It ends in victory over Satan, and it ends with the hope of eternal salvation. And this is where I want my focus and attention to be on the, and the one who has claimed it. He is the one who is worthy of our thoughts. He is the one worthy of our energy. He is the one worthy of our time and he is the one who deserves credit for it all. So my sister’s in Christ. I leave you with this. I pray and hope that you have the most amazing day and the most amazing week. And remember mama, you are Made for Greatness.