Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: His promises

Gaining Traction

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!

No traction.

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.

No traction.

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.

Zero traction.

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.

No traction.

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.

3 Reasons we can't gain any traction in our walk with God.

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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Linking up today with the lovely and inspiring bloggers at the #RaRaLinkup with Kelly Balarie and the #TellHisStory linkup with Jennifer Dukes Lee!

Saying Goodbye To Logic

After owning our dog for almost 11 years now, I can honestly say there is many a time that there’s no logic to be seen, and no rhyme or reason to some of her behavior.

For instance, I know the black lab part of her likes to eat, and the border collie part of her is a scavenger, so it would not be surprising that anything edible she finds on our walks is scarfed down immediately.

But cigarette butts?

She knows every bus stop in the city, that’s where the cigarette butts are, and if I’m not paying attention, she eats every last one.

No logic.

She’s the only dog I know whose vet comes back from an exam and has to ask her to quit smoking, for her health.

Rally also goes nuts over anything you point in her direction. Show her a book, the phone, your winter gloves, anything while you crouch down low while talking in a low voice and she backs up, gets low, runs away, runs back, talks and barks, runs again, goes in circles, the whites of her eyes everywhere.

For example, just getting a photo of her for this post was impossible because if she even thinks I’m getting the big camera out for a picture or two of her, she immediately hides, she runs off, she hates me pointing the camera at her! I do it often enough that I have honed a thousand different tactics for her hide and seek efforts, and she has a thousand tactics for her tactics.

Just yesterday this tweet went out…

Can’t get the dog with the camera. I’m like a Nikon torpedo and she’s the doggie version of the Red October. #SheJustPulledACrazyIvan

And all the Hunt For Red October fans just nodded their heads. Yes, my dog has perfected the Crazy Ivan.

If you don’t know what that is, you need a serious dosage of a certain Tom Clancy submarine filmage. (I know, I know, filmage is not a word. But it sounded emphatic.)

Crazy.

But you can hold anything in your hand to walk through the house with, not giving her a second thought, and Rally needs to stop you to thoroughly check it over, tail wagging, and leaving with a sneeze and snuff of contentment.

No logic.

And finally, tiny dings. Yes, you read correctly. Anything that emits a single ding, tick, pop, ring, bloop, drip,  tock, or jingle. She’s fine if it’s continual. But only one, quietly in the background noise of the house, sends her scurrying away frantically to practically sit on top of the first human body she finds.

She easily weighs 75 lbs.

Enough said.

Here’s this big tall, long dog, running like Harrison Ford in the Fugitive at the bzzzzz from my cell on vibrate.

No logic.

And all these things make me laugh, not to mention wonder why I’m using so many movie references today, but they also get me thinking.

As hilarious as her antics are, there’s also something deeper there for us to dig through on another level.

I wouldn’t be very honest if I said I’ve never had something simple and small and, in the grand scheme, non-threatening, throw me into a panic. Send me running for the hills. Cause me to play life’s version of the fugitive.

Unreasonable fears. Uncontrollable avoidance. Inconsolable defeat.

All due to something that for anyone else would be easy, would be nothing. But not for you.

It may not be a logical struggle, or fear, but none the less it feels exceptionally real.

And because of it we kind of say goodbye to all logic, and we allow our momentary dings, our temporary surprises, to send us into a tailspin.

At 11 years old, I’m not going to make much headway reconditioning Rally’s logic now.

But we have the chance today to give our running scared moments over to the Master, and nothing is too big or too inconsequential for Him who loves with an all-encompassing love, and tender devotion to your well-being and your soul.

And there is never any shame or condemnation in running to Him. There is only promise. Promise that He can do the impossible when you can’t. Promise that His gift of sacrifice brings constant victory. Promise that you are His delight, His reason for rescue, His landing place for all the grace He has for you. And then some.

And sometimes we tragically say goodbye to logic the exact moment we need to be reasonable, but other times, that’s exactly what we need to do.

For the believer, stepping back from the logic that cautions you not to live too freely, is called faith.

Saying goodbye to logic and instead using your faith in those instances truly defines a life unfettered by fear.

I really like the sound of that today.

Run at the tiny dings if you must, but run to the Rock. Hide in the wing of the Almighty. Let Him shepherd you to still waters. Rest there while He reveals that what was meant for evil He can redeem for good.

Then stand without fear, without hang-ups, without doubts.

And let Him lead you through the eye of the scary things.

His undeniable promises for each and every of His beloved, defy logic and enable faith.

© 2019 Christine Duncan

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