Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nobody likes a quitter.

Drizzle, drizzle, rain, rain.  That was my world all morning today.  I dashed out to grab a prescription for my boy (who has incidentally decided he would prefer to be called "Joe") and then I raced home to scrub my house, which hasn't been done in quite some time and let me tell you, the need was dire.  Empty, was how I felt.  Cold, lifeless... hollow.  It's amazing how emotions can feel like fact, isn't it?
I am a huge culprit of the feelings-turning into fact in my mind.  Then, sometimes I react to those "facts" and it's not long before I'm dwelling in the pit of despair. Lately I've been touching things and they've been breaking. Literally and figuratively. I wasn't going to say this until I was finished, and have only shared it with two people besides my husband, but it's part of today, so here you are; When Lent began I started doing the Daniel Fast for Lent.  I'd heard fantastic things about it from friends I hold in very high regard and I knew my soul needed a jump start of sorts, as this winter has definitely been a season of many challenges.   

I lit out of the gate running, on a high of spiritual euphoria, sinking my teeth into Daniel Fast encouragement, daily devotionals, Psalm reading, and of course the fasting plan.  I was definitely in one of the most amazing moments of my faith, grappling hard with some incredibly deep things, long buried in my heart.  Poor Adrain. He was getting millions of words spewed at him every night. Not that he'd ever complain. And not that it's very out of character for me either. I felt like I was exploding inside, and had to share all that joy with someone!  Along the way, I was blindsided by something, and I allowed it to derail me.  I didn't mean to, but I felt like I got completely knocked off the trail I'd been running on, my eyes frantically searching around me for the next blow.  I was knocked so far sideways, I couldn't seem to catch up and get back where I had just been, moments before.

So on this rainy, drizzly day, just over half way to completion of my Daniel Fast for Lent, I thought about the things I can control because I want more than anything else, to finish this thing well.  (Sadly, when you list what you can control, it's a very short list.)

I can control my responses to all things- the expected and the unexpected, the joyful and the heartbreaking.  I can control my priorities.  I can control what I set my mind on- especially when it's in neutral.  I quickly realize how often my mind slides to things that are idols for me when I don't focus on the important things.  I can control who I pray for and suddenly the list is very large.  So many of my friends are in crisis.  I can control how hard I persevere in reaching my goals.  I can control speaking thanks over everything, both good or bad.  And I can control keeping on.  

That last one.  Keeping on.  That was a big one for me today.  I had sentences like, "why try," "there is no way," and my favorite, "what does it matter anyway?" rolling around my head.  It was like I had already begun the process of quitting.  Let me tell you something about me.  I am not a quitter. Not any little part of me.  I am a tenacious perseveerer.  (I just made that word up.)  I don't have any respect for quitters.  If it's hard, that means it's important.  If you quit, you gain nothing and you learn even less.  I know this from experience.  So here I was, in the midst of possibly the most important thing I've done for my own heart in years... and I was mentally quitting!! 

I, like the randomly scattered plates I've been collecting for months that are beginning to adorn my wall, am a work in progress.  I'm far from perfect, but I mean well and I try hard.  I am not quitting.  There is an answer to my questions and there is an end to this hard season.  There is a rescue coming, and there is help waiting.  I may have to grit my teeth as I say this... but I will not quit.  I will pray harder and I will press in further and I will stay in the moment. I will not check out and numb my heart by running after shallow nonsense.  I will not throw up my hands and cry. (Okay I might actually do that sometimes.) BUT. I will not quit.

And here is my truth:
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." Romans 12:12
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”Matthew 21:22
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jeremiah 33:3
"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2
"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4



29 comments:

  1. Well, that's just what I needed to hear today. Thanks for sharing your heart once again. It's encouraging to my soul.

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  2. Love. This. DO NOT QUIT!!

    And I totally feel you on "emotions becoming 'facts'". Yes, I struggle with that too - sometimes to the point when I am feeling extremely empty/low of wondering what is wrong with me? Am I even saved? Yes, not happy to admit that, but it is true. Keep on, friend! xo

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  3. You go girl! I am trying harder too. As I was driving two kids to the doctor this morning (one visit scheduled yesterday, and another emergency visit scheduled just 1/2 hour before) I thought to myself -- I must not let these circumstances "GET ME." And so, I drove saying "my JOY is in the LORD -- and BOOM: the evil one let go. God was so good to us in this day, and held us in the palm of his hand, and I am so thankful, and IT IS GOOD. Tomorrow may have enough of it's own worries, but guess what? I'm not there yet. I'm still on today... Keeping on & grateful for your sweet words of encouragement always. xo ~Sal

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  4. I went through a particularly tough time last summer. A very dear friend encouraged me to memorize scripture. One that I chose was Deut. 31:6...Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. Every time I felt the weight of the world crashing in, I would repeat that verse. It was such a comfort to me. Thanks for sharing. Denise :)

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    1. I SO love that verse too. One of my faves.

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  5. Thanks for sharing those verses! I have 1 Thes. 5:18 posted on my computer at work as a reminder to give thanks no matter what happens. He is still God and in control :)

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  6. Totally where I'm at this week! Thank you for your honesty!!

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  7. Amen, sister.
    Fight the good fight.
    Anything WORTH fighting for these days is so under heavy attack...the devil is so sneaky to slip in doubts and happenings in our lives to derail the work of God.
    I see VICTORY here.
    And it looks really, really good.
    Praise Him!!!

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  8. Love how you think friend. How you see yourself slipping and you pull up by the boots straps and make lists and dog deep. Love that. Love you!

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    1. I love you for saying, "bootstraps." LOL that is so my language.

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  9. You can only get to the finish line if you keep on going...

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    1. I absolutely love that. I feel like I need to write that on my forehead!!

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  10. Here is a song from Hillsong that is a great encourangement.
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WL67YLNX

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  11. thanks for the encouragement to keep on keeping on, no matter how hard it gets. I needed a "gentle" encouraging kick in the butt to keep perservering myself and this post did it for me.
    Thank you.

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  12. I am so happy that Heavenly Father understood us well and gave us the atonement for when we get off track! Thank you for your beautiful words and for being so real!

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  13. You have just given me my mantra: "If it's hard, that means it's important." Thank you...from the bottom of my heart.

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  14. I hope this isn't too bold for a comment but I do believe that little voice telling you to quite is the devil. It just so happens yesterday over lunch my 5 year old started asking me about that "little voice" and I told him any time he hears it, just to say a little prayer and it will go away. Sometimes you have to keep saying little prayers but it works. Blessings. :)

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    1. Oh, and I LOVE your scattered plates! They look great!

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  15. You and Anjalene were on the same track yesterday. I became frustrated when I was volunteering in her class because as they worked on a directed drawing, all I could see on her face was defeat. When I went to talk to her she muttered, "I'm so lost," and "I can't" several times. When she came home from school a nice little letter was waiting for her from my heart. We came up with fifty things she can do--gifts God has blessed her with, talents that are uniquely hers. On days like this, focus on the blessings and let that distracting quitter voice get pushed to the sidelines: )

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  16. i left a comment but i think something went wrong... huh?
    love your plate wall, friend...

    it is tempting to quit sometimes, right?
    If there was a time that I wanted to, it's now.
    we just never know what the Lord will bring about in our lives to teach us to trust him more...to rely on him in a deeper way. He wants all of us. everyday. all day. all of us.

    and, so we continue moving closer to him....acknowledging what feels impossible without him.

    praying we both move closer to him...giving thanks in ALL things. I'm not there yet, so you can continue to pray as we wait out my health issues this week....

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    1. Moving closer to Him indeed. We sure are, aren't we? Praying for you today my friend! And your ear. Man!

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  17. ok...for the second time today my mascara is running...what is the deal? our father is at work. i am crying reading this. girl -- we are so kindred like fingers grasped tight together and i am thankful for a glimpse of another work in progress like me
    i am going to risk being vulnerable here but i AM a quitter..boy does that taste like gravel and i have been sooo open to the work of God in my heart in this area and we are progressing...humbly i say that
    i continue to think of you and when i do .. i pray
    i hear you..i have your back..i want to always be an encouragement to you
    i really really do hear you. you are being grown into an oak of righteousness...love you

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  18. You know when we aren't living for the Lord the devil doesn't want to knock us down but when we are putting our faith (or trying!) in God then he's all over the place trying to put seeds of doubt in our minds and making us feel guilty about the wrong things or make us feel we're not good enough, etc. I try and try and I am not a quitter either (although I have had moments I thought I would). I keep praying and asking the Lord to continue to make me want to love Him more and to make me feel guilty when I'm not faithful to Him (in prayer, reading my Bible, my trust in Him, etc). The thing we have going for us is that God made us and He knows our weaknesses, He knows our strengths so He'll continue to forgive (and forget, praise God!) and no matter how much we mess up, He'll continue to LOVE us! We serve an awesome God!!

    By the way, I am over here looking for your ice cream cake recipe but was blessed by this post first. Thank you! :)

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  19. I know this post was a few days back, but I still wanted to comment. One of my most favorite talks is by Jeffrey R. Holland, called "Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence." It explains how Satan will ALWAYS try to make us give up, especially right before or right after a spiritual experience. It's an amazing read, I highly recommend it. Here's the link:

    http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=795

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