Fine Lines: Not My Thing

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I’ve shared a lot in the past about the thin lines between things – the blurry ones – the ones that once you are saddled in-between (on top of and riding the “line”) you are in danger of staying there and remaining paralyzed. Or worse yet – you find you are crossing over the line, and that you are now on the wrong side of it – in the wrong place. Or maybe you are supposed to get on the other side of the line – and some type of obstacle (usually fear based) is stopping you.

So you try to join the circus for a while.  But then you realize you were never meant to be a clown.

These are the lines upon which one feels they are playing a dangerous game with a tightrope. Even if someone seems proficient at tightrope walking, it is pretty much inevitable that taking a fall is in the near future for them. It’s part of the game – the in-between game, yo.

And I have to tell you………when it comes to me, I am definitely not cut out for it!

  • This girl has no balance.
  • This girl has no rhythm for dancing upon a tightrope.
  • This girl does not like fine lines.

I like to know my boundaries, and I like to know them well. I prefer for them to be drawn thick and clear – these are the kind of lines you can see for miles and miles. You don’t need glasses or vision enhancers to spot them.

In fact, I don’t even mind so much (most of the time) if the wrong side of the lines are even blocked off  completely. This makes it easy to see the places to which I should not venture.

That keeps me feeling safe and secure.

That makes my little world seem like there’s a semblance of control surrounding it.

That is an illusion – but one that I seem to like – a lot.

So sad.

Here are some of the blurry and fine little lines that keep showing up on a regular basis in my own little life:

  • The line between full blown obedience and just a little bit of sinning.
  • The line between real love and just….affection.
  • The line between true joy and happiness.
  • The line between dependence upon God and crossing over to dependence upon self or other people.
  • The line between chronic illness and just plain – laziness
  • The line between surrender and giving up and throwing in the towel.

I could go on and on and compile a list of blurry lines that would make your heads spin. I bet you could too!

Isn’t it funny? I love black and I love white. But I do like gray as well – when it comes to my fashion choices. And if I am honest – it seems that much of the time I choose to walk in the gray areas of life to perpetuate the illusions that are counterfeits of the real thing.

Gray is neutral. But so is black and white.

The two latter ones are much more crisp, if  you ask me.

The gray is just – comfortable, man. It fades some into the background – helps one go unnoticed. It doesn’t take your eye off the ball – all that is glitter and shiny around it stands out.

That can be dangerous. Thinking you are in a neutral space seems to make one feel like they are safe somehow. But if we aren’t careful, the gray seeps into our hearts.

  • We don’t want to neutralize our hearts.
  • We don’t want to darken our hearts.
  • We don’t want to confuse our minds.

Or do we?

Yep – I can say without question that most of the time, I recognize it when there’s a fine line, albeit a blurry one, that is taunting me. I have to ask the Lord during those times (every day) to help me see clearly. The only way to do that is to take our eyes off the lines and look up – to Him.

  • He makes all things clear.
  • He is unchanging.
  • He is the One who is safe – the Only One.

He understands the black and the white and He understands all the confusion and gray in-between.

He makes all things new! Even the gray stuff, friends.

Do you have a fine line upon which you feel you are teetering, my friend? What are the blurry lines you find yourself trying to navigate right now in your own life? Do you find that you feel safe and comfortable there – in the in-between place? Or do you find that you recognize the blurry for what it really is and you are seeking God’s face and His clarity, safety, and power to stay on the right side of the line? Is there a line over which He does want you to cross? Or is everything around you trying to force you to think you need to take just – one. more. step. ?

Ask Him.

Ask Him for wisdom and discernment, dear friends.

We all have to do it sometimes. He is here for us – just waiting. He knows fine lines really aren’t meant to be our thing.

And Jesus?

Jesus never promised it would be easy for us. But all of His promises and gifts He has in store for us are well worth it – even as we walk this crazy tightrope in life that we are dealing with daily.

We have to walk it with Him. Correction: We GET to walk it with Him!

Heaven won’t be a dangerous circus full of tightropes, dear friends. Heaven will be a place of joy and peace and beauty – never gray –  all light and bright and beautiful.

  • We won’t be confused.
  • We won’t be anxious.
  • We won’t feel crippled and perplexed.

I don’t know about you – but this girl can say with absolute certainty that THAT IS my thing.

Jesus gave it to me.

Jesus is my everything.

And He has drawn a line in the sand – it is a firm one. It is a clear one.

  • It is not blurry.
  • It is not fine.
  • It is only dangerous if we don’t pick the right side.

I’m so grateful to be on His side of that line!  Aren’t you?

We will always grapple with this blurry stuff in life until we go home to live with Jesus for all eternity. It is part of the war between the flesh and our submission to the One who has saved us. But Jesus is here for us to guide us and to lead us. He has good things in store for us if only we follow after Him with all our heart, mind and soul!

He will pull us over to the right side if we seek after Him and ask Him.

He will save us from the dangers of tightrope walking.

We are not clowns. We are His children. We are royalty.

Just reach out your hand today if you feel yourself teetering. Ask Him to grab it and pull  you back to His loving and safe arms. Then listen – carefully.

He will do it.

You may be on a new tightrope tomorrow – but He will be there for you then as well.

If you haven’t already, won’t you make following fully after Jesus YOUR thing, dear friend?

Say Yes. Make Jesus your EVERY thing. And let Him show you the way.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8

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Annie’s Inner Warrior Woke Up Today!

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I used to be a fighter ~ a driven, serious fighter. If I wanted something or had a goal, anything that stood in my way would eventually be “removed.”

Let me actually expand upon and clarify that statement I just made: I am a peacemaker. I am an “unhealthy conflict” avoider. BUT…if pushed too far, there’s this part of me that awakens- a part that lives deep, (deeeep) down inside – and that part is a force with which to be reckoned if it is awakened from its comfortable slumber.

It’s what I like to call the fighting force ~ and it doesn’t wake up nicely sometimes.

I’d like to introduce you to the warrior that lives inside of Annie.

This is the part of me that comes out once I have been pushed and pushed and beaten and beaten for far too long.

Annie’s inner warrior.

Sometimes it comes out the wrong way  or gets up on the wrong side of the bed – just ask my husband (hee hee). I have had to (and continue to have to) ask the Lord to tame the warrior at times. Usually this happens when it is my old inner warrior friend ~ the one that relies upon its own strength and might. During these times, just like any other, I have to ask God to cut away the parts of self that  have crept inside and messed with the warrior’s head a little.

Other times, if I am prayerful as she is emerging, (and also after she has come out to play) then she is nothing that is dangerous to my walk with the Lord ~ she is but a part of who God made me to be. That is the part that is strong, but not tainted with self, powerful, but laced with His divine power and inspiration – mighty and focused, because she know that  she has already won.

This warrior sometimes looks worse for the wear, but make no mistake about it; she remains undefeated.

Because of God.

I fight in other ways all the time – ways that I like to call amicable sparring matches:

  • Fighting by putting my fists down when all I want to do is raise them up but I know that the time is not right for that yet.
  • Waging daily war by taking punches while knowing the truth inside is that the only thing I am surrendering to in reality is the Lord (even if it looks from the outside like I am being a total victim or doormat).
  • Giving up on something that I want in order to spend time waiting upon the Lord and prayerfully considering if He wants me to fight in open and tangible ways OR be quiet and still and carry out my war against the flesh in more of a meek manner while He prepares the way.

But there comes a time where you know the Lord is calling you to action- waiting was an action He had you take as well at one time- but that time is nearing its end.

And you know it.

Now it’s time to get up – No more staying down gently.

Yes. There comes a time where surrender crosses over into giving up – and then, it’s anything but true surrender – the kind that God would have us do. Then laziness seeps in. So does self.

I’ve realized for quite some time that I have been teetering on that fateful line – the line between surrender and full-blown resignation and giving up. I hate tightrope walking just as much as I hate roller coasters. Have I toldja that yet? ‘Tis the truth.

So today I woke up and realized something has clicked. Something clicked so loud down in my bones (I guess literally and figuratively today, dear friends) that it woke someone up.

That someone is filled with a major dose of healthy anger at the Fibro Monster that is living inside of me.

  • Healthy because it is being guided in the right way – it is going to be used as a motivational force – and it will become the most formidible enemy that my fibromyalgia has ever encountered. God’s hand is guiding me and literally pulling Annie’s inner warrior out of hibernation.
  • Healthy because it is well-rested, energized, and more than ready to roll (not with the punches, by the way – but I guess we shall see).

Today I declare utter and complete war. And I know that I know that I know that God has given me His blessing.

Guess what else? He is on my side!

Diplomacy is out the window – I tried and it failed. I am a gifted diplomat, dear friends, but the Fibro Beast is not reasonable.

No. With the Fibro, it is now time to fight or die.

When it comes to this beast, chances of taming it are akin to the chances of a million snowballs creating an eternal colony in hell.

  • There is no taming to be done.
  • There is no more talking and compromising to attempt.

And I have known this for a few months now. Problem is, that I laid down and just took punch after punch upon realizing it. Maybe I was supposed to though.

The great news is that in spite of not moving into action for a few months after knowing that this season of rest is over, I am stronger now. I am wiser now. And yes, there’s a bit of anger in there too.

And righteous anger is stronger than Fibro is.

GOD is stronger than Fibro is!

I’m not going to go down without a fight.

I am ready.

I got on the elliptical and treadmill today friends and punched the picture I have of the Fibro beast in front of me the whole time. I prayed that the Lord would equip me with a spirit of perseverance like I have never seen before. I prayed that the Lord would fight this battle with and for me through my inner warrior. The one that He created to live inside of me for such times as these. The one that I have asked that He fill with His Spirit, His wisdom, His love and His truth.

That one.

So the battle is changing now – the wind has turned. It has begun.

Fibro? I have news for you:

My name is Annie Birkelo, Child of God and Daughter of the One True King.

You tried to kill my inner warrior. You tried to steal my peace.

Prepare to die.

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31

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When an Inch Takes You Further than a Mile

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Inching my way through so many days in 2015 taught me some things, the first of which is that this gal has so very much more to learn. I suppose I will until the day that I go home to live in heaven for all eternity. Thanks be to God that I have a love of learning!

Some days, I had to literally crawl out of bed and inch my way to the bathroom – slowly, but surely – like a little snail making its way to an important destination. I would find myself stopping and stretching along the way to loosen the Fibromyalgia-ridden muscles that had frozen up even more over the night of restless sleep I had just experienced.

But I kept inching and moving to where I needed to be.

I was able to get up. I was able to make it through another day in this new, but very old and unhealthy body.

Inching. Crawling. Stretching. Hoping.

Hoping that eventually I would be able to stand. Upon standing, I would then be able to walk. And after walking for a little while, the aching muscles would finally warm up and begin to melt enough to walk throughout my day. My entire day.

Then it would be time to do it all over again.

Yes, in 2015 inching my way through things became a part of my new normal. But the learning that the Lord brought into my life through this new form of “suffering” went on for miles and miles.

It always worked you know- the morning ritual of inching my way along -the heat from within my awakened body would begin to melt the pain enough to make it through. Some days I would be able to walk in a more sprightly manner than others. While other days ~ well ~ inching along would become my mantra on those swell little 24 hour periods of time.

  • I learned to appreciate how far I could still go even when I had to inch my way toward my next destination…Thank GOD that He is on my side.
  • I learned that inching along rather than running from place to place gives one time to ponder, appreciate, mull things over, and reflect….as long as we remain in His divine presence every “step” of the way.
  • I learned to celebrate – celebrate like there’s no tomorrow – each individual accomplishment along the way! Each inch was a mountain that I had just climbed – and it was all because He carried me along the way.

And now, this new year has ensued, and I have desires that I find myself striving for, and the Lord is helping me along the way. He is helping me to make sure that my own desires are in line with  His for me. And, as always, He is ever-so faithful.

He takes me on journeys that seem to last for miles and miles with each  and every inch that goes by.

We got an elliptical trainer for our family for Christmas, friends. Along with our treadmill, we hope it will serve our little clan well as we all try to make movement and good health part of our daily habit.

Two years ago, an elliptical trainer was “too easy” for me.

Two years ago, our treadmill was a back-up tool only for me for when it was too cold to go running outside.

But today – today, I am able to get on that elliptical trainer. I couldn’t fathom the thought a few months ago.

Today, I am able to inch my way toward exercise again, friends. And those inches seem to last for miles and miles.

My first day, I was barely able to do five minutes on the elliptical, with NO incline, and on the LOWEST setting.

Today, I did eight minutes.

I am inching my way toward my goal. But I am far richer today than I was two years ago when I could run for miles and miles.

Maybe once I am able (if?) to run again, I will remember – I will remember what it is to only be able to move one inch at a time.

I will remember what it is to move forward with Christ at my side, knowing fully that I am totally dependent upon Him and Him alone, and that I will move at the pace He has set out for me, as long as it is on HIS path and His alone.

Maybe I will have a new season of health again. If I do, maybe I will remember that I am just as dependent upon my Savior in good health as I am when it isn’t so good.

 I pray that I will.

Let us press on toward the true things that Christ has laid out before us, friends. Whether we are able to run for miles and miles or can only move forward one inch at a time, He will guide us and lead us to where He would have us go – if only we trust in Him.

It’s not about us anyway, right? It’s about Him and His story. We are all only here to do His will. And His will is just as powerful in the inches as it is in the miles.

 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

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