|Image by Joshua Noom|
It is painful. I feel like I am getting worked over. Just recently, it clearly dawned on me why I have been struggling with physical and emotional pain.
I am resisting. I keep absorbing the full impact of the various blows of life.
I once had a person tell me I didn't know how to roll with the punches. That little snarky comment stuck with me for many years. Although the person shared painful words with me in a not-so-kind way, I actually gleaned some truths from the simple statement.
Now I am not saying God is punching me. But He is sovereign and He does allow various situations and circumstances to sift, test, and refine. During the closing out of 2014, I felt like our family was going toe-to-toe with the old adversary himself. I came pretty close to feeling defeat. Thankfully, my immediate family and friends constantly reminded us of the goodness of God. By God's incredible, merciful, all-encompassing grace, His presence was always near to us.
Even so, I have needed to reflect and ask myself a few questions.
Why do I get knocked down so easily?
Why do the difficult circumstances in life wipe me out?
Lately, I have been pondering how boxers roll with the punches. I ran across this statement on a boxing blog:
"There are times when blocking a hook or straight punches when you have to simply provide resistance and meet the impact head to head, but the more you can make your opponent miss, roll with his shots and ride with the impact, you in turn, make him work harder. You also take less punishment by being a more fluid target."
I figured there is a spiritual nugget truth that can be learned here.
Honestly, I tend to be a bawler or a brawler. I cry or get angry when life delivers various blows. I am learning. God is growing and stretching me. Pain is good when it brings you closer to Christ.
I have been reflecting upon how I can be more fluid and less resistant to the difficulties that life inevitably throws our way. I get tired of getting beat up. I need a better strategy. I know in the depths of my soul that I need to gain a greater level of spiritual resilience, strength, and endurance.
After many tears and much prayer, the Lord brought me right back to the very basics of my faith journey with Him. By His grace, and through His Spirit, He is helping me work out my spiritual muscles to strengthen my core. I went back to the drawing board of cutting out distractions that crowded my time and attention away from His purposes. I had to get honest with how I allowed myself to grow weak physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I had to begin anew with a commitment to daily prayer, devotion, worship, and study. I had to let go of things I held tightly in order to learn how to abide and rest in God's presence in a deeper way.
I am learning. The Lord is stretching me yet again. By His grace, He is helping me develop the courage to live as a fighter, resting securely as an overcomer in Christ, rather than a quitter.
One day, in that Glorious Day, I want to be able to stand before the Lord and say by His Spirit and marvelous grace, I did not give up, give in, or quit.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. -2 Timothy 4:7 ESV
Friends, how is the Lord working through His Spirit to transform your life for His glory?