Thursday, February 5, 2009

Keep On Keeping On.

Lately, it seems that everywhere I look, there are people who are hurting. Crying. Desperate for a touch, a "word," for anything that will give them a glimmer of hope. I see people who are on their knees not out of reverance or adoration, but in order to cry out for help. And my heart hurts for them. But the ones that really, truly "get to me" are the ones who feel so alone.

Because I can relate to that. This battle my husband and I are fighting right now, is one that tends to isolate. It's one that seems so... unique. We don't actually know of anybody else who is fighting this same battle right now. And there are emotions that come up that reinforce our choice to keep it "under wraps" from the general public. That's a dangerous line to walk - the line that stands somewhere between isolation and secrecy, and being a "blabber mouth" or constantly complaining.

I'm going to talk about what we learned in church last night (but I do promise to tie it all back together at the end of this post).

We'll start by reading from 1 Corinthians Chapter 9, verses 24-26

Do you not know that those running in a stadium indeed all run, but one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain. But everyone striving controls himself in all things. Then those truly that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. So I run accordingly, as not uncertainly; so I fight, as not beating air; but I buffet my body and lead it captive, lest proclaiming to others I myself might be disapproved.

Okay. Some background here. When this was written, they didn't run races the same way we do now. The people who ran in these races would start preparing as tiny children, three years old or so. They trained their entire life for the chance to qualify. If they did indeed qualify for a chance to run, they spent an entire year doing nothing but training for this race. Everything they ate was chosen for its ability to help them win. They carefully monitored how much they slept. They pushed their bodies daily.

One of the things they did to train for this, was to run with weights on their arms and legs. They'd start by running their absolute best, and make note of how long it took. Then they'd add weights - maybe just a few pounds at first. They'd train and push until they could run, with the weights, as fast as they could before. Then they'd add more. Some of these people would run with thirty pounds strapped to each ankle. And they'd train and push until they could run their race at the same speed as before, even with all the extra weight. And then, on race day, they'd take off their weights. They'd be free. They'd run with everything in them.

This relates to us today. As our Pastor was teaching us, I was thinking, "What does this mean for me?" Here's my thoughts. I'm not a teacher. Most certainly not a Pastor. And I have absolutely no authority in your life. I'm just sharing what I've learned, in the hopes that maybe it will help you. And trusting God to stop me if I'm wrong.

Weights. Weights can so easily drag us down. What kind of things are weights? We talked a little about those - had people call out the things that weighed them down. The ones I heard the most were as follows: Financial Pressure. Death. Tragedy. Physical Affliction. Relationships. Worry. Fear. This list is pathetically incomplete, I know. The point I'm making has very little to do with what the weights are, though. It's got to do with what you do with them.

Right now, do you have things weighing you down? Making it hard to breathe, never mind keep running? I know I do. But here's the thing... I am going to keep on keeping on. My forward progress right now feels so very slow. But I am moving forward. I'm not giving up. These weights are on me. They make everything so much harder to do. But here's the thing: these weights, are temporary. God did not put them on me. But He's helping me to keep going. And when I am able to cast them down, I will be able to run. Oh, how I'll run. I will be stronger than I ever could have been without them. I will be faster. I will be able to revel in the wonder of weightlessness.

And so, for now, I will keep on keeping on. I will put one foot in front of the other. Even though the weight makes it hard to even move, I know I can do it. I'll keep pushing toward that finish line.

Now... what about the loneliness I mentioned earlier?

Hebrews 12:1

Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.

We are not alone. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. People who are cheering for us. Wanting us to "make it." People who have understand the weights. God will help us get rid of the weights. The witnesses keep us from being alone.

And somehow, I don't think I've made myself clear. I'll come back later and re-visit this.

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