Choosing Hope Over Self-Pity…
God really has a way of reaching us right where we are. Have you ever noticed that? Whether it’s through the word of a friend, or the Word of God Himself, He knows what we need to hear and when we need to hear it, and He is always faithful to provide. Through the course of my life, I have felt these moments with Him, but each and every time it happens, it never ceases to amaze me.
I’m struggling still, with my back and my body. The pain and discomfort is not all the time, thankfully, but I’m aware of it and its limitations with nearly every move I make each and every day. Some days I feel the progress, while still others, I feel like I am closer to the start again. Some days I feel triumphant while on others, I am full of self-pity.
While I am so grateful for the change in me spiritually, sometimes I get so frustrated with the physical end of things that I become overwhelmed with disappointment. I have always been an athlete, from the time I was a small child clear on through to adulthood, and now that I’m here, unable to do the things I once have, I sometimes feel lost and trapped and wishing I had appreciated what I had when I had it.
…and true to our loving God, this was not a place He was going to let me stay in for long without Him speaking to me in some way.
My oldest and I were going over a devotional last night…It was about this monkey who had reached his hand inside of a cage to get a banana. When he went to pull his hand back out, he found he was trapped because the hole was too small for the banana, and he wasn’t willing to let go of it. Therefore, because of his own choice, this monkey had limited himself and became completely unable to move due to his unwillingness to let go.
God has this freedom that is mine for the taking, even amidst my current situation, but in order to receive it, I need to let go.
I need to accept my current physical state.
Yet, that’s what I’m saying with my reactions: “Here, God, have all of me, but wait…no, not that…or that…and You can’t have that…”
I mean, seriously…do I really think that my plans could ever dare to compete with even a fraction of one of His?
Jeremiah 29:11 states clearly that “[He] knows the plans [He] has for [us]. Plans to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], plans to give [us] hope and a future.”
Romans 8:28 goes on to say that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him”.
So what was I worrying about again? Why am I so bummed out about this and not excited by the hope that He brings through these encouraging words alone?!
It’s so easy to get lost when your eyes aren’t on Christ. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of self-pity and bitterness and depression when you only look at your plans and don’t leave yourself open to the plans of the Almighty One.
The Lord really moved in me through this whole monkey story last night, but He drove the point home even further this morning through my husband and this verse:
His power is resting on my injuries…
As difficult as this journey with my injuries has been, it has really been a gift in disguise. I may not have what I initially wanted, but I am realizing that I have something far greater than I ever could have imagined. The Lord has blessed my marriage through this experience, He has prioritized my life, shown me where my faith is weak and has made it far stronger than it ever was before.
I have always had my identity so deeply engraved in my own athleticism. When my healing didn’t come as quickly as I wanted, I admit, I became lost for a while, but now my identity is in Christ far more greatly than it ever was before. If God knows this was the best and most effective route, why would I ever want to choose another way?!
Yes, I may be limited physically right now, but the Lord has blown away all of the walls of my self-made spiritual limitations, leaving me with a freedom that stretches farther than the eye can see.
My only choice is to hang on to the One who holds the mightiest plan of all, and for that, this monkey has become more than willing to let go of that once-coveted banana.
What are you holding onto today? What’s your banana?
Praise You, Jesus, for knowing what was best for me…for not giving me what I was longing for because You had something far far greater planned. Please help me to keep my eyes on You and Your Word…help me to choose You over self-pity…to remember that You have a plan and a purpose for my life, far greater than any I could ever choose for myself, if I will only open my arms to receive it. Help me to be an example for my kids…help me to be transparent for them so that they can bare witness to the struggle and see how faith in You triumphs over all. Help them to remember these days and times with me in this season (in a positive light), and I pray that they will use it to Your glory for their own lives when they find themselves in their own valleys. Lord, I pray for healing, but more than that, I pray for a complete adherence to Your Will and contentedness no matter the circumstances. Your will be done, Father. Praise and glory to Your Name for the lessons, even when, in my humanness, I don’t want to experience them. Your Will always be done. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.