This flesh betrays me daily. I battle my own flesh in order to serve my creator and it weighs on me heavily. My lips claim fealty and my mind tells my lips what to say and yet my mind also turns on itself all the time. It is frustrating and I demand to know why I must wage this war on a daily basis. I know from the book of Romans that Paul dealt with this exact same thing and yet he seemed to move beyond it to a place I can only seem to dream about.
Struggling with doubt is no fun, let me tell you. Sometimes, I feel like I’m putting the right foot in front of the other at the correct time. Other times, I have two clubbed left feet. Please accept my apologies if you have two clubbed left feet. Simply stated, I want what I cannot have and that is to claim my love for Jesus and then simply hang on for the ride. As it turns out, there are some hazards along the way and if I turn away for too long, assuming the auto pilot is doing its job, I am surely doomed.
Lately, the toughest things to deal with are emotions and I am certain the enemy is throwing road blocks in my way to trick me into thinking that I am incapable of working through them. To some degree, that assessment is fair; which is to say that I am incapable of working through them. Fortunately, God is faithful and I am thankful for His provision in all things, especially in dealing with something as tricky as emotions. The toughest of these is the feeling of inadequacy. Oddly, I have never experienced this to any great degree until recently. Sure, there have been a few moments when I questioned myself for a split second, but somehow I have always managed to rise above when necessary. Lately, it has been a battle and I have found myself questioning my abilities, even with God’s help. It’s not that I question God’s abilities, as I am fully aware that He can and does do great things through His people. It simply comes down to falling short.
As I am discovering, my greatest weakness is indeed His greatest strength. I fall apart and He shines. I slip and He stands firm, ready to catch me when I fall. He never falters and that’s the part that is so hard to comprehend! Even during times when I feel strong and able to run on my own, He is right there, ready for whatever this life throws at me and ready for whatever bonehead move I make that causes me to stumble. I used to question what it looked like to praise Him in the midst of my trials and now I know He is faithfully waiting for me to acknowledge Him as the one whose strength carries me through those tough times.
More than my savior who rescues me; more than the rock that I lean upon; more than the foundation I build my life on; He is the breath in my lungs. And while that thought makes me smile, it doesn’t end all my doubts. Sometimes, I wish God would just grant me superhero status so I could fly above all of this. But I’m no superhero and every time I attempt to fly I rediscover I wasn’t born with wings. Being made aware of my inability to fly isn’t so terrible, it’s the forgetting how to walk that ultimately brings me to my knees. I suppose that being down there is a good place to be but after having spent the first 40 years being more than capable of walking on my own, I’m realizing I’m not strong enough for the next 40 if I try it alone.
I am convinced that God is refining me right now. He is pruning and shearing and shaping me for His purposes. For that, I live in a constant state of joy because I know that He is working on me and as I change I see His handiwork displayed in the reflections of the people that He continues to bring into my life. The trick is to let Him make His changes before attempting to branch out too far on my own. I get so ahead of myself all the time that I become unplugged. And when that happens I lose sight of what I’m supposed to be doing in the first place. It feels like I’m trying to follow Him in a driving snow storm and I keep winding up in the ditch. So naturally I accept responsibility for driving off course and I begin to doubt whether or not I can keep up. And this is exactly what weighs me down.
However, I am determined not to fall away. I have something in me that cries out for more and I know what it is. No one can take it away from me either, it will live in me for all time and I am thankful for it. God has given me hope. It is a gift and I cherish it until my final breath, knowing full well that the hope within me will live on long after I am gone. Regardless of my doubts, inadequacies, inabilities or imperfections, God declares His love for me by writing that hope deep within me, on the lining of my heart.
“I’m not saying that I have this altogether, or that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: by no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back”.