If The Pain Is Real, Why Do I Like It?

I’m down.  I’m lost. I’m broken.  I’m low. I’m stuck. I’m hopeless.  

I’m up!  I’m found!  I’m whole! I’m high!  I’m free! I’m hopeful!

Which group are you currently finding yourself in right now?  It’s amazing to read each line and feel the weight of the words on one line and the freedom felt on the second.

Are you there?  On this first line?   It’s these days that feel so real, so purposeless, so stinging.  A bee sting. You see the bee coming and watch it land and you can’t look away.  You feel frozen as you watch. You know it’s there but what’s the point of swatting it away.  Then the sting. You feel it but you don’t react, you don’t swat or turn away, it’s the pain you feel, going in deeper, spreading, a pain that seeps and burns and you just stare.  It’s felt, it’s there and you somehow like it, in a weird way. This is actually something you can feel and somehow that brings you comfort. Someone comes outside to see a bee stinging you on the arm and they react and swat it away and you tell them you are fine, it’s no big deal.  You really don’t feel it anyway. Even though you do. And they walk away, content that you said you are fine. It’s a little addicting and you hate how you find yourself going outside looking for another bee to come find you. To feel again. Even though you tell yourself you are just going outside to enjoy the day, you secretly know you are on a hunt for the bee.  And it actually makes you sick.

Are you there?  On the second line?  You are on track, you are happy, the rainy days cause you contentment and the sunny ones have you smiling with your window down.  You step outside with a grin and you see him making a beeline for you, the nasty yellow jacket. You immediately stand guard and swat him away without a second thought.  Nothing will take you down or get in your way because life is good. The girlfriend or boyfriend, the job, your family unit, the spouse, your teens right now, a vacation that’s planned, the bills that are caught up…..did I mention that beautiful day on the horizon?  Oh if you could only pause time right here, where you feel just, darn, good.  

I am up and I am down.  We are up and we are down.  All are up and all are down.  This roller coaster is so hard to fight at times.  Why does this happen? Why do I get in these slumps on some days and then be so happy and content the next? How do I get off the first line?  I’m stuck there. How do I stay on the second line? And not leave?

“My life is not defined by the struggle that tortures me but by a Father who loves me in spite of the struggle.”

Can I ask you some hard questions?  What are you putting your faith in today?  Your circumstances and whether things are going the way you want?  Oh, I get it…..you have a girl or guy showing you some affection, a friend includes you on the group text or asks you for coffee, your job is going well and the people you work with are ok, the family struggles are coasting along just the way they need to be, you’ve helped someone by encouraging them or sharing a verse from the Bible and it felt really good, you just planned a vacation for alone time with your honey, your kid just had an awesome game and you felt great pride because they did everything “right”, you just met your quota at work, your new baby is adjusting so perfectly, and on and on it goes.

But wait.  What happens if this isn’t happening today?  What if the circumstances on this list aren’t up to par, in your mind?  What if you are feeling lost and hopeless and not good enough for your significant other, your friends, for those in your family, for yourself?

Here is the amazing truth that I was confronted with one morning while doing a devotional by Oswald Chambers:

Our FAITH and HOPE is in the wrong thing.  We are placing our faith in the experiences, in the Stuff, in the WORLD! The world will fail us and leave us hungry for more. When life is going well, I am so happy and joyful.  When it isn’t, I am discouraged, down, and feel deserted. Not only from everyone around me, but from God Himself. I felt He had abandoned me. Why would He be so silent? I felt alone.  I felt as though my heart was starting to turn bitter. BITTER. And it tasted so sour. The definition of bitter is “causing a piercing or stinging pain”. Wow, this is how I felt God was treating me.  ME!  Who do I think I am?!   Is this who I know God to be?  I can’t believe how selfish and frankly, awful, that sounds.  

Two truths for all of us to stand on today:

  1. NOTHING can EVER change God.
  2. NOTHING can EVER change the reality of redemption (accepting His offer to be able to be delivered from my sin).  In a nutshell, I can NEVER lose my salvation.

It’s this simple!  If we can root ourselves in these two promises, all else can fade away.  If these two truths can be our faith (and not have it be in the experiences that will upset our faith) then we can have that internal peace we are craving.  

My faith has been wavering because I’ve been putting it into all the experiences, the emotions and the feelings of the journey, rather than in these two simple truths above.  Our faith needs to be rooted in something much deeper than the superficial highs and lows of life.

  1. When I feel like I am losing control and a panic attack is looming, I can stop and know “wow, nothing can ever change God and I can never lose my salvation.”  Bring on the loss of control, because I am not God!
  2. When I face the emotional ups and downs of selling a home, I can put my faith in the truths from above, knowing God has a plan for my family, that He is good, and He will take care of us!  He is not deserting us, He is not abandoning us because it’s not selling….that seems so silly! These truths = JOY.
  3. When I don’t know what direction to take with my life, when I feel lost and alone and without hope, I can stop and look at the two truths above and refocus my mind.  The rest is just the overflow.

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26: 3-4

If we can base our faith on these two truths, then we are as eternally secure as God Himself.  And honestly, everything else pales in comparison to this #truth.

Go out today and “Refocus with Complete Abandon”!