I really really really really really wanted and planned on writing a “lite and fluffy” blog. Sun is shining, flowers blooming, happy people, all is right with the worlds, unicorns and rainbows. Really.
But life just doesn’t cooperate.
Life is hard right now. Last week, in my sermon, I said that I felt like every day was like walking through chest-deep mud. This week? It feels like the mud’s 3 feet above my head and I’m using a snorkel just to breathe while I try to push through it.
It’s not just about me. I’m doing all right, slogging along. Further along than I was last week. But my family is hurting. I have friends that are hurting. I learned things Saturday, yesterday, last night that tear at me. There are people close to me, intimate friends, acquaintances, even people who aren’t as close but who are still very important to me who are just dealing with a lot of pain and loss in life right now. And the more you know about the pain of others, the more you tend to carry.
I’m in this season in my life that is not fun but in which God is working. In the midst of it all, I’m re-visiting and re-learning some important lessons. I’ll just share a couple with you this morning as food for thought.
- I can’t control anything and I can’t fix anything. As Danny Silk says, on a good day, I can control myself. But beyond that? Nothing. I can’t control how others respond, I can’t control what people do with sound, biblical advice, I can’t control the choices other make with their lives, I can’t control the circumstances or the suffering of other people, I can’t control the level of anyone’s pain, I can’t control the hard times that some people are facing, I can’t control debilitating illnesses that people are facing. None of it. I want to. I want to take their pain away, remove their obstacles, fix things, heal illnesses. But I can’t do any of that. Only Jesus can. All I can do is trust Him and pray for them.
- “You will never rise above your level of self-awareness. It is the lid on your life.” Dr. Rob Reimer taught me this in one of the first Soul Care conferences I ever attended. The older I get, the more I realize it is true. There is stuff in my life with which I will never deal, address, or change until I am aware of it. I am thankful for a loving family and close, intimate allies (as John Eldredge calls them) who are courageous enough to point out my blind spots. I am thankful for the voice of the Father and for journaling as tools of self-discovery. But this truth affects us in other ways. You see, the people in my life will never rise above their level of self-awareness. And when you’re in a situation where you’re dealing with someone and trying to help them but they either can’t or aren’t willing to see, you can’t help them. They will never rise above their level of self-awareness, and they will never receive help or encouragement or strengthening because they won’t see their need for it. (That was exactly what Jesus experienced with the Pharisees – they were blind to their own hypocrisy and sinfulness and couldn’t hear or receive what He tried to speak into them.)
- This is a season. It may not be the best season or the worst season. It may be a season that I hate. But it’s a season. It won’t last forever. And I can choose to let God refine me through, or I can fight Him. I can recognize I can’t control anything and do everything I can to love and care for people in this season, or I can withdraw and hide. But it’s only a season.
- And finally, I will continue to rest on God’s promises, like Psalm 46:1 – 5 (NIV) God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.