Monday, June 20, 2011

When All Else Fails

One time I wrote an article for Campus Crusade for Christ's online Christian Women Today's Magazine. It was titled, if I remember correctly: What we think = What we do (Can it be true?)

God's Word clearly instructs us to take our thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ.

I used to feel pretty confident in my ability to do this. I was quick to share the amazing results I was experiencing by simply filling my mind with God's Word, allowing His truths to combat the many lies I'd embraced over those "before Christ" years. As Princess Warriors it is critical to our well being that we keep our thoughts on our King. For if we allow our thoughts to wander, we can end up straying in both word and deed.

I should know.

I've experienced what feels like an endless barrage of difficult situations in my life over the past year. Health issues, financial challenges, family problems, major changes at work, a big move and downsizing, and the list goes on. I am well aware that I'm not the only one facing tough times, but I had, for years, prided myself on my ability to rise above and face my future with my sword drawn and shield in place. I'd managed to keep my helmet of salvation secured, my feet shod in the Gospel of Peace, and the belt of truth buckled around my expanding waistline. We'll talk about that expanding waistline in a minute. 

Anyway, as more new hardships were hurled my direction, I began to struggle. My Shield of Faith grew incredibly heavy. Lifting the Sword of the Spirit seemed like too much of an effort. In fact, many days went by when I didn't bother putting on the armor at all. I listened to the raging voices of negativity filling my head, even agreeing outloud with the life-crushing words. "This is too hard." "I can't handle this." "It's never going to get better." "Life's too much." "How could I be so stupid?" "What's wrong with me anyway?" Fighting started to seem fruitless, and I've been feeling more like a failure than a leader.

I'm sad (embarrassed even) to say that this Princess Warrior has become weary of fighting. I've been trying to fight alone, something I know doesn't work. It's time for me to come clean and say that I've been depressed. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have been eating, reading, and playing computer search and find games to numb my feelings. I'm here to remind myself, and maybe you too, that anything short of God Himself, doesn't work. Nothing fills our aching hearts but Him. And sometimes, life is hard and we are going to feel down in the dumps. But the truth remains, no matter how discouraged, disgusted, or discarded we feel, our King still loves us. And when all else fails, His arms are open.

Maybe you too have used mind-numbing techniques to cover your pain. Perhaps you've eaten far more than your body needs in an attempt to stuff the fear and frustration down ... or played too many computer games, or spent hours on Facebook rather than spending time in God's presence.

It's hard to admit when you've been putting everything but God first. Sure, we can mutter the right words at the right times, but are we really believing them? Living them?

I believe I am not the only one feeling weighed down by life right now, discouraged by negative thoughts and emotions. But no matter what lies the enemy tries to isolate us with, we are not alone. God is still with us. He is still waiting. He is still loving. He is still on His Throne.

If you've isolated yourself, maybe it's time for you to run into your Heavenly Father's arms, make a phone call to a friend, go forward to the alter at church ... for certain it is time for us to take action, the type of action we know comes from God. Anything else will  eventually fail. Only God can lift the weight from our shoulders and remove the hardness from our hearts.

Sharing that I've been struggling is never fun. But in order to be victorious warriors we have to be honest, open, transparent, and willing to admit we need help. After all, we're in an army. We're not fighting alone. Let us lift those fallen fighters to their feet rather than judging how they landed on the ground.

And let us remember: When all else fails, God's forgiveness frees us to fly on the current of His love once more.

I'm ready to fly again. Are you?