I would be lying if I told you things have been good. Well, it’d be a half lie. Things truly ARE good. Complaining seems so embarrassing when all my needs are met each day, I am given abundance that I am not deserving of, and overall there are no worries that so much of the world carries in their clenched hearts each day. I recognize this. But things spiritual and emotionally have been under fire. It’s amazing how Satan is so quick to grab at our weakest parts when we are pursuing God whole heartedly. It seemed like such a quick transformation to contentment and peace with God’s plan to discouragement and fear.
I am not enough.
I am disgusting.
I am lazy.
I am worthless.
I am useless.
I am purposeless.
Now what I really don’t want is comments to flood in telling me the opposite or giving me Scripture affirming my worth (though encouragement is important and Scripture is truth, amen), I am trying to be transparent here. I am voicing this because I know I’m not the only one who know what is true but then hears the lies, and the lies shout louder and in some twisted way seem truer. As my week has progressed I felt the lies grip my insecurities in their grasp and squeezed me dry. In place of the peace of God I am left with the bondage of anxiety that so often holds me captive. Unfortunately, I am often a passive captive. Lies exhaust. Don’t tell me you can fully separate physical and spiritual when the spiritual attack on my being has taxed my body and mind this week.
This morning I creaked open my dusty Bible. I’m embarrassed that a college Bible student such as myself struggles to remember to read their Bible. I woke up and told myself not to think of how terrible I have been at reading my Bible. I focused on today. I showed up, today. I read in 1 Corinthians, my favorite book since my study abroad experience. What filled my spirit today was Chapter 9 verses 24-27:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (ESV)
Confession: I have struggled to read this without thinking of track meets or cheesy work-out shirts. Obviously that’s not what Paul was getting at either. I am reminded at why I am pursuing what I am. Why I am racing after what I am racing toward. Why what I am doing takes work and why it’s worth it. Because all the glory goes to God.
A dear kindred of mine recently reminded me to “keep showing up”. If I am to train like an runner in my pursuit of loving Jesus that is all I am called to do. It’s hard to run a race well when you don’t even go to practice and especially hard when you skip the event to go eat a McFlurry at McDonald’s (which I never would ever do). How wonderful to actually remember that His grace is renewed each day for us? How beautiful that He knows we skip practice sometimes, that we fake injuries, and that we don’t even show up on the track but He loves us IN SPITE of our sin? That He sent his Son to die for us WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS? I can’t surprise God, He’s the Author of it all. This grace just pushes me to train harder. I want to be obedient. I want to strive after His heart. This is my desire, let me finish the race!
This morning is the start of a lot of mornings of basking in grace. I know that the grace has been there through it all but it’s so sweet to remember that grace covers me too. I can boast of God’s grace for you but so often forget that He has some grace to cover little ol’ Sara too.
As this morning bloomed into day I walked the dog that I dog-sit three times a week (a blessing to have another living creature in the house!) and the air felt fresh. It didn’t feel like a hair dryer on blast on my face as is so common for hot summers in the desert. But we are in September now. That season of the desert is over and I think my season in that spiritual desert is over too. I breathed in the air and it felt like the very breath of God covered me in His peace. Friends, I felt again today. It’s so much easier to run the race with my chains left on the sideline and with an unclenched heart.