So I’ve been working on that summer checklist of mine the past several days…
I’m learning to play guitar. I’m a lefty, but for practical reasons, I’m learning to play right-handed. This made writing kind of uncomfortable for the first several days. BUT, although I don’t have those coveted callouses yet, I can now practice for thirty minutes without my fingers feeling like they’ve been dragged down Interstate by my Hyundai. Yay!
I’ve also been working on working out. I’ve gone running/jogging/walking/crawling a couple of times. At first, I mostly walked/dragged myself down the street, but now I’m able to run a little farther with a little less panting each time. It’s still a work in progress, but it feels good knowing I’m investing in my health and all that.
Although I’ve been making progress in both of those areas, it’s happening slowly. One thing I’ve noticed, is both guitar playing and running involve some pretty intense discomfort at times. Sometimes my fingers still feel like they’re being filed with a pumice stone when I play guitar. And sometimes when I run, my sides feel like they’re being barbequed and my brain is stuck on repeating the mantra, “I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die!”
But guess what: I don’t die! My fingertips don’t fall off when I play guitar, and my heart doesn’t stop beating when I run!
I didn’t realize how closely these two new hobbies of mine related until I was on my run tonight. Even though I’m physically sore, I know these things are for my benefit. Like when you’ve got a broken or bruised heart. Sometimes your hearts raw like it’s been scraped against asphalt, and sometimes it feels like you’re not going to make it. Can I be honest? Yeah, it’s my blog, so I’ll be honest. Here it is: You’re right, your broken heart’s not going to fully heal, and you will always hurt. Without Jesus.
I’ve been through the whole bruised heart recovery thing, and I know firsthand that without leaning on God, it’s easy to slip into depression, anxiety, or hopelessness. But you’ve got to remember it’s possible for God to take your horrible situation and bring something good out of it. If I’d never experienced some of the things I’ve been through, I never would’ve learned just how desperately I need God. In fact, I’d still be wallowing in self-pity and insecurity. But once I came to my lowest point, the point where life felt darkest, I realized how much I needed God’s light in my life.
Maybe you’re looking over the cliff of a scary situation. God can grab you by the shoulders and point you toward safe ground. Or maybe you’re rapidly descending into a dark valley. Ask God and He’ll pull you out. You may even be at the very bottom of a pit, where it’s dark and confusing and so very painful. God will do more than just toss you a rope: He’ll be right there with you, coaching you along and holding your hand so you won’t fall back down.
Even now, when life tosses stuff at me, sometimes I automatically give in to the pain, forgetting the end result of my journey. Like when I get frustrated with the guitar or un-toned leg muscles. Surprise: I’m wired like a human being, so those things happen. But I’ve got to remember I’ve got Someone watching out for me who knows every single bump in the road ahead. Not only does He see what’s coming, but He’s also right there with me. There is so much comfort in that, which makes it so much easier to just. keep. going!
Somehow, my guitar lessons and running trips made me ponder hurting hearts. I’ve been there, done that, and will most likely experience it again. But each time, I learn even more about how God is greater than my situation, and how if I let Him, He’ll use it to produce something beautiful in my life that points to Him: His amazing Grace, His never-ending love, His unfathomable forgiveness.
The end results for my strumming and running will lead to two things: a new way to praise God through playing songs and better physical health so I can be equipped to minister to others. However, these things can only happen if I don’t give up. If I do give up, I won’t reach my goals and I’ll probably mentally beat myself up a little. But life? I can’t afford to give up every time I’m faced with something difficult. Pain that seems unbearable can lead to unbelievable joy.
Even when you’re not in the middle of a crisis, it’s still just as important to keep exercising your faith muscles. That way, when the hard stuff comes at you, you’ll be ready. Plus, the daily walk of a Christian can lead to some pretty awesome situations; stuff that’s better than anything a dreamer like myself could ever even fathom.
In summary, I’m gonna keep working on toughening my sissy fingertips and strengthening my running muscles. I’m also going to keep striving to become closer and closer to Christ and more and more like Him. And I won’t give up. There are so, so many Scripture verses about this topic I could leave you with. But I picked three that especially resonate with me:
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” –Hebrews 12:2-3
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” –2 Corinthians 12:9
Keep running the race, reaching for God, and remembering Who is in control!
In His love,