My thoughts and emotions have been extremely loud lately. It’s hard for me to quiet them enough to think straight to write this post. Ah, that’s why I love my 4-mile runs on the KT (Katy Trail). I get my thoughts and heart mostly unsnarled and back in focus.
To be honest, I started out my run tonight feeling very fretful. Fret and self-doubt have been trying to devour me the past few weeks. There are times I’ve felt beaten down to the ground – both at work and in my spiritual living. I feel bloodied, dragging myself onward with an unawareness of where I’m going – living, because I must. Perhaps to look at me, you’d never know. But I that’s the case with a lot of people, but we’ve been taught to conceal pain well. Ah, but not only to conceal it – to smother it and have not been taught to attack and address it with the right heart and perspective. You don’t have to look hard to find pain. I am always so moved by the lyrics in the song, “A Place Only You Can Go,” by NEEDTOBREATHE:
Pain is alive in a broken heart. The past never does go away. We were born to love and we’re born to pay the price for our mistakes. Grace, she comes with a heavy load. Memories, they can’t be erased. Like a pill I swallow, he makes me well. But leaves an awful taste.
Tonight, on my run, I re-realized about myself three things: 1) Worst things are happening to people all around me and my situation can always be worse (such a “Pollyanna” moment, I know), 2) I’m the greatest enemy to my joy and 3) God withholds nothing good from me.
God withholds NOTHING good from me. WHAM. As that thought and truth came to my mind towards the end of my run, it nearly stopped me dead in my tracks with the weighty yet lightness of it. Why then am I fretful? Why then am I anxious? Why then am I acting like a whiny 5-year-old who needs a nap (well sleep probably would help me)? The Lord delights in me and I’m fighting against Him and His love – His desire for GOOD for me. I threw back my head at the glory of it, of Him — and repented of my stupid pride, my desire for wanting my cheap version of good and glory for myself. My dad once told me a truth I’ll never forget: “Rachel, God has a good plan for you because He is a good God.” He is incapable of evil. (James 1:13)
To rewind a bit, in the middle of my run tonight, listening to and getting lost in the lyrics of the NEEDTOBREATHE album “The Reckoning,” (why yes, I’m on a NEEDTOBREATHE binge right now – moving on) I thought about how much I love the constants in my life and was praising the Lord for them. Then I stopped myself — if God gives me the constants, surely He gives me the inconstants (the painful, inconvenient and good ones) as well. Each are there for a reason. For instance, the inconstants cause me to appreciate so much more the constants – and the constants are a place of rest, refreshment and comfort. BUT the inconstants are there to grow me, cause me to see more of my heart, to wrestle. So, instead of despising them, I praised the Lord for them. I can’t but help think of the line from The Princess Bride, when Westley tells Buttercup, “Life IS pain, Highness. Anyone telling you differently is selling something.” But pain is what the Lord uses to MAKE us. I can list numerous examples of it. Perhaps you’d like to share with me the instances you see it manifested throughout Scripture and even in your own life. Twould be great comfort food for your soul to think on those things, as Philippians 4:8-9 tells us: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things….practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.”
So, I started out my run fretful. Ended my run hopeful. “…and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5).
Rachel B. Duke