As I set out on my usual walk today wherever my Nike soled feet would take me, I made several observations that I thought I would pass along to anyone else who may benefit from them the way I did.
The road is my designated choice on my walks for several reasons. I enjoy the fact that I can track how many miles I have walked if I don’t have my Fitbit on. I also like that I can clearly see any possible “danger” or pitfalls on an open road. Getting lost is not a big danger when I stick to roads because I know my way around fairly decent. And, last but not least, anyone who knows me, knows I do not like to get my shoes dirty unless prepared for that — work shoes for work; nice shoes need to be kept nice…but I digress 😉
While walking I was speaking with a dear friend about all the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head and at the same time, God was giving me the perfect visual to seal truths in my heart! I love how He works! I love how the Body of Christ works!
I have recently felt as if I have fallen down a dark hole…again. Yesterday was the first time of being able to put words to my feelings. I describe it this way: It’s as if I think I am doing fine and then before I know it, I have hit a hard, cold, cement floor with a thud as if I had fallen 100 feet. As I metaphorically lay there, I feel completely paralyzed. I look up and realize I have fallen really far and I have no idea how I found the hole to begin with. It’s dark. No one seems to be around. The thud has stunned my senses. I feel like I can’t move; can’t think; can’t even call out for help. How many of us are just doing life and find ourselves emotionally in that same place.
My eyes scanned the landscape around me and I realized while talking with my dear friend, that if I was to take a different path through the soybean fields or the corn fields, my journey would look quite differently. As she was reminding me that “holes” are to be expected on the particular life journey I am on, she encouraged me to keep my eyes up and looking to Jesus. I realized as she was speaking that if I was walking through a soybean field, my natural instinct would be to look down. I would be straining to see any holes that could be hidden. I’d be scanning for any little critters that might not like me sneaking up on them. I would NOT just be running through there with my eyes up. If I were in a corn field, I’d be looking to my right and left, trying to figure out which way to go next. Looking up would not be my first instinct. And, yet, Jesus tells us to spiritually keep our eyes fixed on Him, metaphorically speaking…towards Heaven.
I also realized that I would never take those routes if I was in a hurry to get home or wanting the easy way, because the road provides a well-known and understood path back. I know what I’m getting for the most part when I stick to the road. But, what happens when by no fault of our own, we are placed in the very location we have sought to avoid? Oftentimes, I feel I have been plopped right down in the middle of a corn field, so to speak.
Very often as I find myself in an emotional cornfield instead of the road I had been on, I feel I can’t seem to avoid the “sinkholes” even when I’m trying to. So, when I find myself again at the bottom of a huge pit that I couldn’t see until I fall in, what do I normally do? I usually lay there stunned. All I can think is, “How did I get in here again? That fall really hurt…maybe worse than the last time! How do I tell someone I’m down here again? I hate feeling weak and pathetic and I don’t want to say I’m struggling…again. I don’t even have the strength to yell for help.”
I often wonder as I’m laying in my “pit” if God is big enough for all this. What if I don’t have the strength to hang on? What if the enemy knew that losing Clint would break me permanently? Does God know how bad losing him and all the other ramifications that come with this have hurt? And, maybe the worst thought of all…wondering if I may be permanently broken from this. How am I going to deal with this level of pain the rest of my life?
After a while of laying on the cold floor and regaining my thoughts, I decide to call out. “God”, I say, “do You hear me?”. “Can You see where I’m at?” “I liked the road I was on!! I did not want to be in this place!!!!” “I can do anything for a while, but all I see is a soybean field or corn stalks for as far as my eye can see! There seems to be NO end in sight! Is this forever???” I want to pray for contentment but am terrified that could mean surrendering to this place for FOREVER! What if surrender means I never get out of here? Then I remember that even though I feel far down in a pit, there are people up above. Many times God sends someone to come looking for me…like today, when my friend called and I was able to verbally spew all my thoughts and fears on her. Other times God just whispers truths to me and I am able to find the strength to call someone and say I need to talk and it is through that talking and being encouraged that a rope is thrown down in my pit and I’m able to be pulled back up to continue on my “walk” through the unknown, again. Other times, just Jesus and me figure it out. It’s as if His truths provide a trampoline for me to get myself out.
As “corny” as this all may sound (LOL!!), I am learning to trust God in this place. Trust that when I find myself at the bottom of a pit, He will provide exactly what I need. Even when I am utterly paralyzed and can’t do a thing to help myself. I love it when He just comes climbing down there with me and lifts me out of there. I love it when He sends strength to me and I am able to get myself out of there, either by way of that “trampoline” or calling out to a friend. I love it when He sends others to come find me and they help lead me out of there. And I love that I am learning to trust that no matter what, He IS with me! There is NO WHERE I can go that is too deep for His love and care to reach me!
Now, I’m just trying to learn to be content to be in the cornfield for the rest of my life if that’s where He has called me to be. I’m learning to thank Him when I’m down in the pit, because I know that no matter what my eyes can see, He IS working!! That’s what good fathers do…they are working for the good of their kids! He just wants me to trust Him when I’m down. But, I’m realizing that’s a choice. No one can do it for me! I have to choose to be thankful and trust Him when I’m down in that pit. I can’t control what happens to me in this life, but I can control my attitude! That’s empowerment! Truly!