I am laughing from a joke with the family and loudly say hello when I answer the phone.
There is a whisper at the other end. “This is Lisa.”
“Our neighbor,” I announce to my husband and son.
“Yes, Lisa. What’s up?”
“He’s back,” she whispers. “Hide and don’t answer the door.”
“Oh no,” I say dropping my voice to a whisper and frantically shushing the testosterone lounging in the living room.
“He’s coming down our cul-de-sac. He just rang our bell. He should be at your door next.”
“Thanks,” I whisper.
“Everyone hide and no one answer the door,” I hiss.
Son and I huddle in the kitchen, but hubby continues to lounge on the couch in plain view of the door.
I peek out at my husband. “Hurry, he’ll be here any minute.”
“Who has you so scared,” he asks?
“The Kirby salesman.”
Suddenly he’s up and in the kitchen, creating a draft as he slides into place next to us.
“You should have said so in the first place,” he mumbles.
The door is chiming; once, twice, then again.
“Go, go, go away. Sell your vacuums some other place,” son chants, and we erupt into giggles.
In case you are wondering, I don’t regularly hide from pouncing and pushy salesman, but one visit from the Kirby salesman was all I could take. Period. For my whole life.
It all started when I answered the door one rainy, blustery day and there stood a man in his early twenties offering to help clean my rug.
I assured him I didn’t need any help.
He insisted it would take only fifteen minutes.
I told him I didn’t have fifteen minutes.
He said surely, I had a spot somewhere on my rug.
I assured him no, then asked if he was a rug cleaner?
No, he assured me.
I asked if he was trying to sell me something?
He assured me no to both counts. He was just helping neighbors for free and needed only one more demonstration and then he would be able to go home and get warm.
In the midst of my protestations he was suddenly inside my house setting up a rug machine and asking if I had ever heard of Kirby Vacuums.
Then he was quickly running his machine over a high use area of my carpet and laying angel white coffee filter sized circles layered with smaller orbs of gray dust, dirt, and filth in a straight line atop my carpet. These contained the grime and dirt sucked out on my carpet. He was lining them up like soldiers at the battlefield. One after another. Number 6. Number 10. I wondered when he would stop.
“Did you know your carpet was so dirty?” he asks, lining another white soldier next to its comrades. He spouts statistics that would send a clean freak from the room screaming and holding her ears.
The army is still growing when he stops and looks at me. “What would your husband say if he saw all this filth I’ve sucked from your carpet?”
Before I can stop him, he is pouring a bottle of sand on my carpet and brushing it in.
He asks for my vacuum to see how much sand it can suck up. He tells me to say stop when I think it has gotten all the sand up. I let him suck and suck. “Should I stop?” he asks over and over. I tell him no. Finally, he stops and uses his machine. Two swipes and then a new filter. He repeats the process about 12 times. White soldiers with piles of sand form another army line, facing the earlier soldiers across the carpet square.
“How can you live with so much dirt underfoot he asks?”
I mumble something.
“You seem like a very clean person,” he says, looking around my room, “and yet you are living with filthy carpets. Wouldn’t you like your carpets to be as clean as the rest of your house?”
He tries all sorts of tactics (Wouldn’t you like to feel good about the family laying on the floor? I am sure you can afford to have clean carpets. Yes, you can, look at the nice house you live in. This is a one-time offer. Do you know what you are passing up?).
He leaves an hour later without selling a Kirby.
I feel relief when the front door swings shut, but I also feel exhausted. Humiliated. Depressed. A failure. A bad person. A dirty housecleaner. It seems my carpets represent my worth as a person.
That night as I am talking with my neighbor, Lisa, about my Kirby visit, I am finally able to laugh about the whole bad experience. Especially since a few years earlier she had almost the same experience.
It dawns on me. Isn’t that what the Kirby man wanted? Didn’t he want me to feel ashamed and embarrassed enough about my carpet filth to buy a new vacuum? Didn’t he want me to see the inadequacy of my machine and view his vacuum as the solution to my dirt problems? He wanted me to view the condition of my carpets to my worth as a human, housewife, cleaner, woman. That had been his strategy all along, and I had fallen for it.
He was using the same sales strategy as Satan who enjoys pointing out my sins and accusing me of my inadequacies and then equating me to a nobody, a loser, a disappointment. Only Satan is 1000 times more wily and sophisticated than the Kirby man. And instead of being concerned with the dirt in my carpet, Satan is concerned with the dirt and filth in my soul, my heart, my thoughts, and my actions.
He shows up at odd moments, especially when I feel down, exposed, vulnerable, full of doubts, and Satan whispers:
“Would your friends really like you if they could see all your problems and sins?”
“Be serious, you can’t expect others, more-a-less God, to really love you?”
“Forgiveness? There can’t be much left for you. You’ve already used more than your fair share.”
“You really think you can change? So far I haven’t seen much action.”
“You’re such a fake. Clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside.”
“Why would God waste his time on you?”
“Hypocrite. Selfish. No good. Unloveable.”
Satan has a million half lies and total lies and partial truths he whispers to us so we will buy into his message and see ourselves as defeated and with no hope. He wants us to doubt ourselves, doubt our Lord and Savior. He wants us to buy his song and dance and not God’s. He wants our spotlight and focus shining on our self, instead of our Lord.
And so, he whispers accusations. Asks if he can help. Then calls louder. Soon he is shouting and moving into our space to demonstrate his point.
We want him out, but asking him to leave does no good. He’s just getting comfortable. Just beginning his presentation.
This is when we need to do what Christ did.
Don’t fear, because he has no leg to stand on. Next to the truth that marches through the pages of the bible, he runs. Scripture always defeats Satan.
It worked in the desert after Jesus was 40 days hungry, and it works now.
Fight Satan and his lies and accusations with God’s truth. I know it sounds simple, but it works. Satan has no comebacks against the word of God.
Look heavenward and claim the promises of God and Satan has to leave.
You have a choice. Remind yourself of God’s truth and slam the door on Satan. Shut down his lies and accusations.
Tell Satan that you are redeemed, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, His beloved, that nothing will ever separate you from the love of God, that your sins are tossed as far as east is from west, that God will complete His good work that He has started in you.
Don’t argue with Satan about your superiority and goodness and effort. Adjust your gaze up and focus on Jesus’ superiority and goodness and love.
Remind Satan and yourself that God knows you are human, full of weaknesses and is not surprised when you sin and stumble, in fact He expects it. Yes, he loves you fiercely like a mother hen caring for the well being of her chicks. He loves you because not of what you do, all your works or effort, but because he has a relationship with you. A relationship that nothing will sever. He knows your faults and weaknesses and still loves you. Still fights for you. Still desires to know you more. He is a true and faithful friend.
When Satan accuses you, point to God.
And when the Kirby man knocks at your door, my suggestion is to not let him in.
Thanks for stopping by. Remember what’s important and have a lovely day,
Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope). A Wise Woman Builds her Home, Pat and Candy, Messy Marriage, Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth), Missional Women, Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement) and Lili Dunbar (#FaithOnFire).
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