I once had a dream years ago that I was in a marathon.
Stop laughing. *wink*
I remember it all clear as day. I was in the right running gear. I had a number assigned to me. I was jogging on the spot near the front of the pack waiting for the starting cannon….
Yes, I said cannon. It was, after all, a dream. I have odd dreams, okay? And for the record, it shot out giant balls of blue cotton candy…
So anyway, the cannon sounds and everyone starts jogging and I notice I’m not moving. And when I look down, the street is actually smooth hard glass that we’re running on.
And I watch, helpless, as everyone gets farther ahead without issue but no matter how hard or fast I run, I’m still back at the starting line.
I couldn’t seem to get any traction.
I have no recollection of how the rest of the dream goes, sorry, but what I do know is that I often start feeling like this in real life.
Can a girl get an ‘amen’?
I want to declutter my house or garage. But no matter where I start I can’t seem to sort through things in one spot before they pile up in another. I get one area tidied and decorated and then turn to see all the stuff from the first area now in a useless pile in the next corner!
I want to start planning meals better or revamp the budget better. Get ahead of things. And then I have a chronic D week, or we get thrown a financial curveball, or something comes up we forgot about and wham! Our plans are out the window before they’re even started.
And lately, my personal fave is my attempt to blog less on-the-fly, or less ‘organically’ as all the young folks call it these days, and to actually use a blogging planner and have posts written weeks in advance, and when that still hasn’t happened, I try to at least have themes planned out, and when that fails, I settle for just the day before so I can use that magical little button called the scheduler for a change.
But no dice. Weeks go by and I’m still barely caught up and feeling like my brain is just barely treading water.
Zip, zero, zilch, nada, niente, nope, nuthin’… NO traction.
And I’d be okay with that if at least there were cannonballs of yummy blue cotton candy every time I tried but let’s face it, that ain’t happening either.
Here’s the kicker.
Sometimes this exactly describes my faith.
And I know we’re human. I know life isn’t simple and we can’t get down on ourselves. That we can only do what we can with the best that we have. And I know sometimes it’s my choices and habits. And sometimes it’s that pesky mood disorder flaring up once again. Sometimes it’s my approach. But there are days where I feel like I’m on the glass surface, and everyone else is seeing results spiritually speaking, and me….?
I’m reading but not gleaning anything deep.
I’m praying but not getting answers.
I’m worshipping but not making the connection.
There are days I’m spiritually running and not getting anywhere.
So what do we do? How do we continue on? How do we get any kind of grip?
God’s begun working out some things that have been “slipping me up” so to speak, and there’s three I definitely think He’s zeroing in on as I keep going in my own personal race to the finish line.
1) Doubt. It stops you in your tracks.
I know there are days when the glassy slippery path is simply doubt. And doubt never has power to move us forward. Doubt keeps us guessing what will go wrong, instead of what God can accomplish. Doubt swells in the heart, and tries to eat up faith. Jesus asks in Luke 24:38 “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?” It is not just a matter of the mind anymore, it’s purely a matter of the heart.
Our faith needs to cling to His faithfulness, living out Hebrews 10:23 boldly, and suddenly we have traction once more. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Time to make the choice to believe. A matter of the heart. I have to admit, I have days my head interferes with my heart and it’s choices. And the slipping and sliding starts and I get nowhere. I have to hold, cling to hope that He is greater even than the greatest doubt.
2) Fear. It always paralyzes.
This is the biggie for most of us. Fear that we’re missing out, fear that we’ll never have enough faith, fear that maybe He’s forgotten us, fear that we’re not going to be able to keep going, or find shelter, or… fear tries to wipe out trust.
You name it, fear likes to interfere with it. We even know fear doesn’t come from God, that it’s based on the manipulations of the enemy. Fear has to go! We have assurances from the King of Kings and it doesn’t get much better than that. So the panic that maybe we’re not christian enough, the anxiety that we’re not on God’s radar as much, and the worry that we’re never going to reach His potential while life throws everything at us, will stop when we take that first shaky yet bold step of faith.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”, is this mega promise from God to us in Isaiah 41:10 and He has yet to ever renege on a promise issued from His heart to ours.
3)Lies. Lies will keep us distracted from the truth.
The big lies that do the most damage sound like; “I’m never going to be as together as those other believers.” “I’ll never have every scripture memorized, I’ll always be struggling.” “All those believers have figured out the perfect faith… I’m still trying to remember where the book of Jude is located, and don’t like saying prayers in front of people, everyone has the perfect words to say!”
We know none of this is true. None of this is the way we measure faith, because the story He’s weaving looks different and is at different stages for every believer. We all have struggles, hurdles, and moments of feeling insignificant. But He has come so that we may have… lies? fear? doubt? No.
He has come so that we may have Life. Abundantly.
And when my faith feels like it’s treading glass and getting no where, I will trust that He is working something out beneath the layers of my life, that He is restoring, sorting out, and replacing the old me with the new me founded on Him.
No more fears, and lies, and doubts as my compass for whether my faith is progressing.
Only my relationship exclusively with Him.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6
No more dreams or nightmares about being left behind. Instead, true assurance that He will provide a better road to travel.
We take our first step, and move beyond the start, and with each step we become a little closer… to Him.
Don’t look now, but we’ve got traction.
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