Pressing Through Dissapointment

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Have you ever been so overcome with stress and frustration that it has left you paralyzed? This is where I found myself a few weeks ago–utterly paralyzed and unsure of what to do. This is not like me at all. Those who know me, know I don’t do idle. I am the doer, the list-maker, and list-completer. I make the plan and execute it. I am confident. Not this puffy-eyed, ugly cried-out mess of a woman who is left raw and feeling defeated.

Whoever said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” in my opinion is a liar. That person has never owned their own business. When you do what you love, you work harder than for any other job you’ll ever do. I absolutely love what I do. However, every business has its ups and downs, and this has been a season of way down. I had racked my brain, looked at PNL’s, analytics, you name it. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why and where things had gotten off track. The thought of having to seek employment elsewhere to free up my income to keep the business out of the red has left me saddened and feeling like a failure.

One night I cried out to God asking for an answer on what to do or, at the least, some encouragement. Do you know what I got as an answer? Nothing. Just the ramblings of my own brain. I cried myself to sleep that night. When I woke up the next day, I thought surely I can figure this out. I searched through scriptures and found a few that gave some comfort, but I was still left feeling paralyzed and unsure. I left my Bible to collect dust and went through the next few weeks in a quite crabby and cynical state.

Honestly, I was mad. I was mad at God for his lack of response as I thought I had tried to seek him and was given nothing to work with. One afternoon I discovered Disappointment With God, a book by Philip Yancey I had purchased and then left forgotten on a shelf. As I began reading the book, I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I felt comforted, then puzzled, encouraged, then enraged. For a full day I refused to pick up the book and was sure I never would again, but in the end, I did. My mood wasn’t completely lifted, but I did feel a little lighter.


“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9


Tonight, I suddenly felt led to thumb back through the book to look over my highlights and notes in the margins. One section stood out to me. Yancey explained that the Israelites lived with directives and signs from God, yet both did not serve to improve their lasting faith. He posed the question, “Why pursue God when he had already revealed himself so clearly?” In my hot pursuit to get what I wanted and felt entitled to (an answer from Him), I had grown impatient. I had stopped pursuing Him with the intensity that He desires. While I was never given the word of direction or comfort I asked for, I got more. I got silence and I had to pursue him with an intensity that I hadn’t done in a long time. I also discovered he was there all along. With that in mind, by pursuing and trusting in God, I can face whatever the future may bring in both my business and in life. I love my business and I’ll keep doing it, but I may have to do something else in addition to it. And that’s ok. Though things didn’t turn out as I’d hoped for, it isn’t a failure. It could lead to something much deeper.

Not Fitting the Mold

BrokenPencilI’ve blogged off and on for years now. I’ve written commercially about fitness, how to grow your gym, and how to motivate your clients. Somehow when it came time to write this blog (my first for #ThisIsLiving) I lacked the ability to motivate myself to do it. I’d write a few sentences here and there that I’d quickly go back and delete. I’d stare at my computer screen with the cursor flashing, daring me to write something. I even got a whole paragraph in comparing the spiritual pursuit to running- something that has way more parallels than you can imagine. Yet, I still found every excuse under the sun not to write a blog entry – something I had volunteered to do. Why?

After staring at the blank page for the better part of two months, I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom. I am in no stretch of the imagination what you’d expect a Christian to be. I am tatted up with a half sleeve, live in yoga pants, I curse more than I’d like to, I’ve been divorced, and I loathe the societal stigma that has somehow attached itself to being an Christian. So, who am I to write to you about anything to do with holiness?

…I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom.

On Sunday, the message at church was on Jonah. During which it became abundantly clear that like Jonah, I had been running from doing something that I feel God has called me to do. Don’t you hate that? When people say stuff like that? “God told me.” I used to hate that, too. It sounds totally cliché, but I assure you it is also totally legit. When I say that God called me to write this, I don’t mean I audibly heard him say it. It is more like something on my mind and in my heart that I can’t quite put into words. Obviously, it wasn’t something of my own creating. I’ve fought hard against it. Where is all this leading you’re wondering? Don’t worry I’m finally getting to the main idea.

Like Jonah, I was afraid and I had taken hold of a pagan idea and pretended it was true. I was afraid to put myself out there by writing and being vulnerable. I had taken hold of the pagan idea that Christians are supposed to be perfect. Since I don’t fit that mold, I felt I had no business in writing this. Then I recalled how Hebrew literature depicted some of the best of the best: David, Abraham, Jacob. None of these men were painted to be holier-than-thou and perfect. God used them in their imperfectness, and with their many sinful blemishes, to do amazing things. They knew what I’ve come to realize in writing this and through the message I heard…what I hope you’ll explore as well: “We can keep trying our plan, or we can yield to God” and “Sometimes, the thing you feel uncomfortable doing is the thing God’s called you to do.”

Loving Him Despite It All

GuySunset

God was there in the beginning and God is Love, but I wasn’t there in the beginning…and I don’t feel that love right now. There are days when it’s hard to love others, but God says that those are the most important days to do just that. I stand with this reality in front of me on those days, and it’s difficult to say yes to a love that I do not see in action in others. I do not exist seeing the fullness of time knowing the eternal insignificance of my anger and the importance of love. I don’t want to see the fullness of time because the momentary affliction is too strong for me to wrap around my mind.

It is not easy to be the one sitting on the inside trying to look out at these issues. When the ones that I am called to love are fighting me at every opportunity they get, how can I be expected to love then? Sometimes I sit and wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier to not love at all. I wonder if I could exist in a world of solitude knowing that I don’t have to be hurt when my brother in Christ turns to me and looks me in the eye and lies. I wonder if it’s easier to exist in a world without commitment and accountability when he takes that advice I give him and spits it in my face. I wonder if it’s easier to love without covenant when my loved ones and I fight to the point where it gets too personal and too direct. When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?


When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?


What exactly am I expected to do? I turn to the books and I re-read them, but what I’m reading has lost its meaning long ago. I flip through the pages of my bible looking for the answer but the Spirit sends me back only with the commandment to, “love as I loved first.” These words sting in my ears because they are the very reality I am fighting against. Love. What a word to come from someone I have cursed out in my prayers and yet He stays there. Am I expected to understand the depths of love from Someone who knew my every action while sitting on the outside of time and said yes? How can I stand in between the pain of my brother and the ones I love with this knowledge in my brain and say nothing?

I come back to the depths of my mind and ask, “Where am I to go?” God sends me back to the beginning and asks me where I am. I look into the depths of Him and see myself there. In the beginning of time. When God was love, and I was on His mind. He loved me first, and I chose to fight Him every opportunity I got. He loved me first, and I looked Him in His all-seeing eyes and I lied. He loved me first when I cursed His Spirit as He called my life and made it personal and direct. He loved me first when the resistance got so strong and I said no to the forgiveness of His Son, and yet He still called me back with those three words. Love Me first.

Going Through Deep Waters

Isaiah43

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” – Isaiah 43:2

This verse has resonated with me a great deal recently. I feel like the Lord just kept saying it to me over and over again this past week as my anxiety crept up in the way it usually does. This anxiety is not necessarily due to any one certain thing, but everything–the small and the big. I like to be in control of all aspects of my life, and when I realize I’m not, it can feel so immensely halting. The unknown can feel truly crippling at times. I’ve struggled to give this control over to God for so long. For too long I’ve fought this battle by myself, not letting anyone else take control. Especially not the One who wants to take it all from me. I am only so strong.

And as I let this verse from Isaiah settle in my mind and in my heart, I realized I don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve struggled with this burden for as long as I can remember and I don’t want to fight this battle alone. I don’t need to fight this alone. I can keep trying my plan…or I can yield to God. His grace abounds in deepest waters and I feel God’s grace most when He settles the storms inside me. I know He can use these struggles to draw us closer to Him and this includes the anxiety we may feel in life.

Admitting I struggle with anxiety has been such a rough battle in itself. Anxiety at it’s depths is ugly, and I didn’t want to burden others with my struggles. But that’s where I’m learning about community as well. I’m slowly growing a community around myself that encourages me to draw closer to God when I feel weak. He will never abandon me when I’m afraid. He knows my struggles and fears, and He holds me anyway.

An Honest Moment

ScaredGirl

Sca­redy cat. What no little girl wants to be labeled. Not only because of the reality that I hated cats, but also because I wanted people to see me as brave. Bold. Courageous. Fearless.

First it was dogs, then it became most animals at the zoo. Don’t forget the Chick-fil-A cow, clowns and the surprising fear of gloves with hands in them. As a young girl, many seemingly silly things scared me very much. I was not timid or shy around people, but I had this desperate need to feel safe and comfortable in each situation. As I got older, the little fears were conquered, but bigger fear came into play like rejection, failure and vulnerability. Continue reading “An Honest Moment”

No Guarantees But Jesus

NoGuaranteesButJesus

There I was. Faced with a significant decision to make. One of those life-altering decisions.

Of the two options on the table, only one didn’t look foolish. The “smart” option involved minimal risk. It required zero hard work. There was no chance of failure, embarrassment or heartache. It would be comfortable and safe, and best of all, easy.

I knew which one was the “smart” choice, and I knew which one Jesus was calling me to.

The “smart” choice wasn’t the one Jesus was calling me to.

And I knew I wasn’t being called to make a decision. I was being asked to obey.

Continue reading “No Guarantees But Jesus”

You Are Here

YouAreHere_paintNo one asks for a map when they know where they are going. In fact, maps are pulled out, dusted off and unfolded only when the user has no idea where they are or where they are going.

Maps are for the helpless.

Maps bring order and definition to the unknown. They give the user a picture of all surroundings and succinctly and precisely say, “You are here.” With a few glances, one can figure out where they are, where they need to be and the quickest way to get there without much effort or thought. There is no question about the authority of the map. What the map says, goes.

I treat God like a map. I intend on using God to show me where I am at, where I need to go and how I need to get there. And when I find myself in times of the unknown, when I do not understand where I am going, I cry out asking for clarity. In the moments of uncertainty, I believe that God has abandoned me or I am listening improperly to the map.

I thought that God’s intention was to reveal my entire life plan to me. I assumed God would show me exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. God has a plan and if I just listen close enough I can make all the right choices that will lead me to the perfect life. Or so I believed. Continue reading “You Are Here”

The Pursuit of Green Pastures

greenpastureI’ve had Psalm 23 memorized for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those Sunday school staples that just seems to nestle itself in your long-term memory.

You know it:


The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not be in want
He makes me lie down in green pastures

Even though I walk through the darkest valley
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me


I have a vivid memory of a family trip to Durango, Colorado when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. We  had been hiking all day long in search of a lake at which we would finally bust out our brand new fishing rods. The day ended up being a real bummer because the lake was nowhere to be found and exactly zero fish were caught. On the final stretch when just about all hope was lost, we peaked over a cliff edge to find not the elusive lake but a huge field in the valley of two mountains. It was one of those Sound of Music scenes where the wind is whistling through the grass and if you closed your eyes just right, the sun glares would peak through your eyelashes. Bliss. The feeling of laying down in that field after a day of disappointment is up there on my list of favorite things.

When I think of a green pasture, this is what I think of. However, I’m learning that in our walk with the Lord, laying down in a green pasture doesn’t mean that everything in our life makes sense, and it doesn’t mean that everything is easy. Continue reading “The Pursuit of Green Pastures”