On The Up And Up

“I’m tired, I’m worn
My heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes, I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world…
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left…
Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn…”

Wow. I am so worn down- emotionally, physically, spiritually. That’s what happens when you choose to take a step away from God. I hadn’t been sleeping well at night. And because I am someone who needs routine, without it, even my days were chaotic, no rhyme or reason to anything. The Bible describes this best: For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night (Psalm 51:3).

In the past month the Lord allowed me to experience a glimpse of the woman I use to be and it hasn’t been pretty.

I didn’t just take a small step away from God. He was calling me to do something specific for Him. Instead of choosing obedience, I chose to turn on my heel and walk away from His plans for my life. Like a toddler throwing tantrums or a teenager whose hurtful words are like venom, I lashed out at God. He showed me what He had in store for me and for my family, and it breaks my heart now to admit it, but I basically told Him, “No thanks. You keep Your plan. I’m going to do my own thing.”

My personal struggles with contentment, selfishness, and pride are no secret. It’s not something I am proud of, but I try to stay transparent and keep a light in those dark areas of my heart. I have seasons where life is great and everything is warm and fuzzy. And I have seasons where I am in the gutter, usually in need of serious rescue. This past month has been the latter.

The amazing thing is that even when I turned away from God, I ended up exactly where I needed to be. Completely broken and empty.

I’ve spent the last month listening to voices in my head, feelings in my heart and putting idols from my past, my personal desires before God. I am constantly battling idols in my life- that thing, that person, that feeling, a memory that I can’t let go of. (sigh) I can imagine that when I opened this door, God shook His head and lovingly whispered in my ear, “Why are you doing this to yourself again? I closed that door for you. I bound that wound for you. Why won’t you stop trying to reopen it?”

My worry? If I were to surrender my selfish dreams about where I thought my life should be, and if I laid down my dark desires, would He be able to revive me and breathe new life into me again?

So here I am. Wounded pride, tattered heart. And I’m finally done picking at old scabs and scratching at scars. This is where the Lord has been waiting to meet me- right here in the middle of my mess. He’s been patiently waiting with open arms for me to come back to Him.

Whatever you are battling now, whatever that thing, that idol is that’s come between you and the Lord, choose today to lay it down at the foot of the cross. And believe that when you do, He will refresh you and He will sustain you. The psalmist must have known a situation of physical, emotional, and spiritual struggle similar to ours, as he wrote, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26). My hope is that if you are where I was just yesterday, and you feel like you can barely breathe, that God will give you the strength to take one day at a time and that you will come to truly understand the depth of His love for you. May we choose every day: More of HIM, less of me (John 3:30)…

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