I’m playing the Hawk Nelson song I posted yesterday as I type this. I need this message to get into my bones and radiate through all my being.
Today’s lesson is about facing challenges in this journey. I probably could have used this a few days ago 🙂
The author calls this walk with God an adventure and I’m certain she’s right about that. You just never know what the next challenge is going to be.
But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength, They will sour on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31
It is quite obvious that the Lord fully expects us to be weak at times. He knows trials are coming our way. But, we can have confidence that God knows what we will go through, and while He doesn’t cause it, He allows it for our benefit.
We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:3-5
Ok, ok, so “rejoice in our sufferings” is probably something we can’t relate to. I can’t remember the last time I said, “Oh, thank you Jesus that I stubbed my toe today!” Perhaps, instead of being so quick to curse, we said, “Praise Jesus! He’s growing my character” instead, our attitudes about trials and pain might change. Just a thought.
I was relating a story to some of my students the other day about a time when I was having a particularly rough day (probably more like weeks lol). Anyway, I remember leaving my house in a huff, running shoes in hand. I was mad… oh so mad. (probably hormonal then too). I drove all the way to a park I liked to run at and when I reached the parking lot, it started to pour. I needed that run to blow off some steam so I pitched a fit in the driver’s seat instead. I yelled at God… yes, out loud. I even used the word “crap” (which is a word I am trying to remove from my vocabulary). Anyway, I reminded God that He says He won’t give us any more than we can bear and that I was on the verge of cracking. Then I shouted, “How much more crap are You going to pile on?”
I was crying by this point. And while I should have been quite ashamed of myself for talking to the Lord in such a disrespectful way, I was still so angry, hurt, frustrated, and maybe a wee bit hoping He’d find my “gumption” delightful enough to say, “Ok, I’ll fix it all right now.”
Fortunately for this little whiney girl, He is kind and loving to His children… and He has a sense of humor (otherwise I’d have been a toasted smoted spot on the front seat of my van… it was already lightning outside after all.) Do you know what His reply to me was?
“Well, manure helps things grow.”
I’m telling you, my head popped up off that steering wheel so fast. God just used humor to show me that He has a purpose for all the poo I was dealing with (had babies at the time, so some of that was quite literal). I couldn’t help but laugh. We talked a bit more and I did end up running… in the rain… quite like a silly, carefree child.
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. ~ Luke 22:32
This is where Jesus is talking about having just told Simon Peter that Satan had asked to sift him like wheat (are you picturing poor Job, yeah, me too). It’s so comforting to know that even if the enemy asks, God has the final say… and if He grants the request, He’s rooting for us because He’s got a plan to bring beauty from it.
Like manure for flowers.
When you feel like you can’t take anymore, think about what Christ endured on the cross for you. Kind of puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Let’s “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” He’s for us, remember?
The rest of the lesson is about renewing our goals. I went through the exercise, but I’ll be honest, I know I’m no where near done with this journey. Day 30 isn’t remotely the end. So, while I participated in the exercise, these 30 day goals are not my destination. Yes, I’ll complete the study, but the story will continue.
Observation and Correction
So, the boundary bowl came out again today. I definitely did a bit of overeating. Stress seemed high. There were many times when I thought about eating, but didn’t because I realized I wasn’t hungry. I was actually surprised by the overeating at lunch. I didn’t think I had eaten that much, but twenty minutes later I felt really full. Maybe it was just bloating due to what I ate and not necessarily how much. Anyway, I waited for zero for dinner, but then ended up refilling my boundary bowl (the husband and I were home alone and so we had dinner on the sofa). The only reason I can think of that I did it was because it tasted so good. I do think I was slightly still hungry when I went back for more, but if I had waited, it would have subsided within a few minutes. As a result, I felt stuffed.
Unfortunately, I didn’t even realize I was allowing negative thoughts to run wild and beat me up for eating past five. I’m sure you guys can imagine those thoughts. Anyway, I was trying to focus on doing the Bible study, when the Lord brought to my attention what was going on in my mind. I sat up straight and boldly declared, “No! Get behind me Satan! I am fearfully and wonderfully made! My God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ask or think! His grace is sufficient and there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ!” Yes, I said it aloud and instantly felt renewed by God’s Truth. I do not have to freak out about eating past five. I will simply waited for zero and got another chance to practice staying within my boundaries. So many years of diet mentality and old habits will take some time to renew, but I’m in for the long haul.