Is there something bothering you today that you cannot quite put your finger on, but is looming, hovering or threatening to consume you? Or maybe there’s something that you DO know and recognize all too well for exactly what it is and that thing seems to be a shadow you wish to shake off, or maybe even stomp upon until it’s DEAD!
Is there a memory there ~ something of a nightmare ~ that evokes fear and sadness and overwhelming desperation in your heart, mind, and soul? Something that makes you thrash and cringe as it encroaches upon your moments throughout your day? Is it creating a battle within your soul? Do you feel like you may be ambushed at any given moment?
Is that recollection of the pain, the angst, the possible enemy forces getting ready to pounce upon you, aiming arrows at your spirit? Or do you find yourself in a moment of peace today as you focus more upon the liberating and sweet feeling of having overcome ~ having come out the other side of something that felt so heavy at one time in your life? I must admit, I go back and forth between these two states sometimes. Just call me pendulum Annie.
We vacillate, friends. When we recollect those things which are very unpleasant, we can have days in which we feel such freedom now that it is not a part of our day to day anymore and then at other times we find ourselves enveloped in fear that some other form of that kind of pain we experienced will rear its ugly head once again.
What if it gets me and eats me up this time?
And it’s a part of human nature to do so…especially when it comes to things of the past that we hope to never have to experience again as long as air fills our lungs. But the enemy likes to feed off of human nature, doesn’t he? And he loves fear.
When you remember – look back to the hard of that time – how do you see that journey and how it helped your story evolve to where it is today? Was it a trek that you weren’t sure you could endure which resulted in something more beautiful, (maybe more tattered), but in some strange way, made you more whole than you were before? Is it something you hope to never have to repeat again, but that you can still stand in that same moment and realize some part of your character was strengthened from having gone through it?
And like me, do you find yourself hoping that it is finished? Once and for all, that the pain might be over? Are you succumbing to the illusion or the false sense of security that the temporal offers to you?
I do. I do it all the time.
But there’s a kind of beauty in that as well. As long as we are still growing, reaching, stretching and learning ~ there is beauty in having a hope for a bright tomorrow. There is beauty, also, to be found in basking in the goodness of today.
So, when we are in a good or better place than we used to be, we can fear returning to a bad place again, can’t we?
I fear grief. I fear more death. I fear instability, hardship, more pain, debilitation. I fear paralyzation.
I find myself at times entertaining the fear of what lies in the fringes.
When I fear, I find that I am judging good and bad based upon what the flesh tells me those things are. But the glorious – oh, the GLORIOUS work that the Lord works within us is not dependent upon our human limitations or notions of what is good or not good. Thanks be to Him. He is the truth, not my own notions. He is the constant, not what may lie ahead for me in this world. But my flesh….oh my stubborn flesh!
Is He being magnified within me even through the dark and difficult times? Are there things that are residing in the fringes of my life threatening to move front and center and replace Him?
It’s easy to have that happen if we aren’t on guard – far too easy.
And as I think about all of this, I ask myself: What about in the good times, Annie? The times I label as good (i.e. less hardship) ~ is He still front and center, or am I relegating HIM to the fringes?
In the times in which I perceive my need is not as great, do I truly press in to Him and His strength? Do I forget my need for my Savior?
Which is more to be feared ~ hardship in which I am beyond vulnerable and rely upon the Lord all the more, or self-sufficiency? I know all too well the answer to that question, and at times I need reminding. It can all be so utterly deceiving.
Who do you find yourself relating to better now that you have experienced darker times, friends? Times in which every nook and cranny of your life seemed consumed by something threatening or dark, but in which the Lord filled you with His love, His peace, His light, His comfort and yes, His joy, and lifted you up higher than you had ever been in spite of the sorrow and pain?
Do you understand others in a way you may not have been able to before? Are you able to show them the truth and love of Jesus – the truth about our Savior – in a way that seemed impossible before the nooks and crannies of your life were threatened?
Is there someone whose kind of suffering you scoffed at before you went through the hard that made you who you are today, magnified Jesus in your life, and moved Him from the fringes to the center?
I must admit, I find myself in that place at times, and with each new difficulty, I feel conviction. But then liberation ensues! Because God shows me something new about Himself and gives me an empathy and a drive and a kind of compassion for others I didn’t have before. The Jesus kind!
It’s all Him. This is one of the ways that He does his divine and beautiful will within each and every one of us. If we allow Him to work, great things will happen no matter what we go through in this life. Some of them, we will get to see come to fruition. Others? Well, that is for God to know about and we have to trust in Him that He is working. Magnificently and gloriously, He is working!
I often find myself uneasy during good times or circumstances. I find now it’s a mixture of fear to go through discomfort or pain again, (when Annie is taking over the wheels of her own mind and heart) and at other times it’s about not wanting to become complacent, desensitized, or over confident and begin living for the things I think that I can control (again).
Is it possible for us to enjoy the less challenging times without caving in to living for such things again? Can we truly rely in full upon our Savior without being greatly challenged? Do those two things actually co-exist?
Oh, Lord help us not to be sucked in – sucked in to living for anything other than You and what is near and dear to You. Oh, to live to the fullest as You intend, but not be chained to this world, it’s fears, it’s enticements, or it’s dark fringes. Oh, to enjoy life, family, friends and the blessings You bestow upon us without letting anything become more important than You. Oh, to lean into YOU, no matter what the situation or circumstance – because You are here – right in the center of it all.
To love and to laugh and to sing and to dance and to cry and to break and to moan and to sleep ~ all with Him at the center –
Not in the fringes.
Like babies – moment by moment, yet with eternity in our sights all at the same time. Is it possible?
- Blur out assumed or presumed knowledge…
- Blur out concerns, anxiety, and our busy moving and shaking…
- Blur out all but this moment – this moment that is part of the ultimate moment ~ leading us up to that blessed time in which our real lives begin.
- Blur out all that is anything other than being filled with Him His love for people.
- Stepping into the fullness of what He has in store for us and starting now.
- To put asunder notions, judgements, coveting, performance, success, failure, hurts, disappointments, fears.
- To stand strong and courageous – not our kind of strong -but HIS.
Oh how wonderful it is to know that He will never leave us! He rescues us each and every day.
From hard and from easy, he rescues us.
From pain and challenge or complacency, he rescues us.
From the gray – oh the ugly gray! He rescues us!!!
Do you hear Him? He is calling His sheep.
Let us not, oh God relegate You to the fringes. Let us keep You front and center through the good, and through the hard times, through the fear, and through the peace, through the joy and through the sorrow, through the weakness and through the confidence – through it ALL – be the center.
And if anything is to be blurred – oh Lord…let it be the enemy and all of his trappings – relegate them to the fringes forever more.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27
Friends, if you feel this way sometimes, just close your eyes for a moment. Just listen. He is calling your name. Do not fear. You are HIS.
This song reminds me so much of my need for my Savior and my own need to listen for His voice. I listen to it with my eyes closed frequently. I hope you enjoy it if you have a few moments to listen. May you be blessed as you relegate the ugly to the fringes and let the Spirit of the Lord fill you from the inside out.