That cold look. The ugly email. The person who tries to stir up conflict again and again, all while claiming to be the victim. Chip, chip.
The neglect. The loneliness. The engulfing fear and lack of self-worth. Chip, Chip.
The verbal attacks. The blame-shifting and argumentativeness. The siren’s call of unwise habits. Chip, chip.
The state of the nation. The state of our world. The neighbor who hates you. The diagnosis. The call you didn’t want to receive. Chip, chip.
I feel the attacks as they try to chip away at my soul. I see so clearly those around me fighting the same battle. To not be defined by this broken world. To not be destroyed by broken people. But especially, to not let the brokenness within overwhelm and take over.
There aren’t always answers, or convenient ones anyway that you can tie a bow on and call something done. Or fixed. Or some version of normal. Sometimes, even faith falls short.
Ironically, none of this depresses me. If anything, it strengthens my convictions. That we live in a broken, fallen world that is full of fallen, broken people. Of which I am merely one.
Jesus’ wisdom rings in my ears:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“How great is the goodness that you’ve reserved for those who honor you, that you commit to those who take refuge in you—in the sight of everyone! You hide them in the shelter of your wings, safe from human scheming. You conceal them in a shelter, safe from accusing tongues.” (Psalm 31:19-20)
While I don’t always win the individual battles that I have to fight, I can say I’ve learned something incredibly powerful. Amidst the battles that strive to chip away my dignity and worth, trying to destroy my joy, my peace, my meaning. It’s deceivingly simple. Great growth, healing and power are found in the fight. And no matter how faithless or fearful I may feel, God is always faithful (2 Timothy 2:13).
I see it every time I watch my sons enjoying healthy relationships with their significant others.
I see it when I watch my daughter march forward with faith and dignity toward her goals.
I see it when my niece can confidently declare she is two months sober.
I feel it when my husband takes me in his arms, or when I pick up my precious grandson.
I experience it when I turn a corner in my life and reap the benefits of spiritual growth.
I proclaim it when my joy rushes in like a needed spring rain, flourishing all that is within me.
Time and experience have taught me one profound truth: God always, ALWAYS wins the war.
So when I’m down. When the weight of the attacks feels like so much more than I can bear, and so much more than the Lord would want me to bear. When the chips tear, wound and scar. I remember the truth that is right there at the very center of all of it:
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name: you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. Then you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:1b-2)
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no none can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-30).
All I must do is reach for it.
Through prayer. Through praise. Through groans that words cannot express. I fight to meditate on these truths day and night until they are internalized in my soul. Into the very fiber of my being.
Then my heart remembers to listen for what is true. To remember that only my Creator gets to define me. And I hear Him whisper to me, “You are valued, you are made worthy, you are loved.”
Yes and amen.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
It’s so easy to let the negativity, hurt and pain drive us to unhealthy places. I always have to remind myself there is only one person I have control over: me. And only one person I am accountable to: the Creator of my soul. Replacing the lies of this world with truth is not only a powerful practice, but a necessary one.
As we enter a new year, make space in your life for consistent connection time with God. Listen to His word. Embrace a spiritual rhythm. It will strengthen you to move forward with greater hope and peace because those words aren’t just catch phrases; they are a way of living that brings healing and power to all who practice them.
Don’t forget: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery,” (Galatians 5:1). We unburden ourselves by embracing Jesus’ truth. I’ve included some helpful tools to help you either start or expand on a current spiritual practice. And remember – Jesus isn’t calling for perfection; he is longing for relationship. With YOU.
Click here for: Tools for the Journey
Lord, you know my thoughts. You perceive when I sit and when I rise. You know me intimately, down to the very number of hairs on my head. You have declared me to be of great value and worth in your sight. You have given me great and precious promises to hold onto while I’m living in this jar of clay—my earthly body. Help me to cling to your truth in ways that are meaningful and practical in the day-to-day of my life. Help me to prioritize our relationship above all others. And thank you especially for loving me so well. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to invite her to speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.
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