So, I feel like the feelings of doubt, fear, worry, panic, and feelings of inadequacy are like this tree. They are blocking my path and until I figure out how to accept what God wants from me, I cannot continue. I am going to write this out as I sort it out, because I still don't know the answer. Well, I know what the answer is, I just don't know how to be brave enough to do it. I long to do what God wants, yet I fear what people will say (or think) when I do. I fear speaking about my past, present and future, because I do not want to feel the hurt or pain of the past any longer. Thinking about the past I have gone through, and not just the marriage part of my past, but my past church, losing babies, longing for miracles that never happened, as well as so many different types of abuse. Lately, I find myself comparing everything to running. No, running isn't my life, but it is so easy to compare life's struggles with running. If I were out running on this trail, what would I do? Would I allow the downed tree to stop that perfect run? Would I admit defeat and turn around? Honestly, that is what I feel like doing today. I feel like telling God I can't do this and quit. Every fiber of my being says just quit while you are ahead. My brain keeps reminding me that no one knows my complete story, except for me. A large part of me really wants to keep it that way, and quit now. Except I am not a quitter. I refuse to give up on pretty much anything. It is who I am. I know I can easily avoid this tree (which pretty much represents the emotions I feel when I think about where I have been) by simply going around it. I can hold back parts of who I am, and avoid these feelings completely. I can avoid telling what God has really called me to do, and simply skip over my past. I can use the plans God has given me, without having to turn around or deal with this silly tree in my way.
Options B & C include crawling under it, never touching it, never worrying about the obstacle. I can pretend it isn't in my way, pretend it doesn't exist. Except, in avoiding it, I haven't truly overcome it. As I don't normally run with a chainsaw (that would probably seriously frighten other runners, huh?), cutting the tree up isn't really an option either. That is probably good, as taking a chainsaw to my heart and the feelings it holds doesn't sound very promising, either.
I was reading a blog a little bit ago that had a post titled, "What is Your Anything?" The post talked about things that hold you back spiritually, that leave you feeling less than competent, or that are roadblocks in your path today. Today, my anything is fear. Fear of opening up and not being loved in spite of my past. I fear sharing my hurt, pain, shame, and emotion, for fear of having my words and feelings used against me. I realized this morning while reading another blog that the abuse I suffered for years will shadow parts of me for a really long time. But those fears must be laid aside, so that I can move on. I have been praying specifically for certain things to happen in my life. How do I know that this isn't part of the answer to those prayers? What if I ignore what God is telling me to do? If I choose to ignore his plans today, what plans will that decision ruin for tomorrow? I absolutely must rest in the fact that as soon as I admit my fears to God, he can wipe them away. He can and will give me the strength I need to do this. God is bigger than each of these things, and when I turn to him, in obedience and faith, those fears will wither into nothing. I pray that when the time comes for me to share what God has asked me to, I can do it in full obedience and hold nothing back. I want to see what the path looks like from the other side of that tree.
I know that God has placed these obstacles in my path for a reason. He intends to make me fully dependent on him for strength, comfort and courage. He knows I cannot do this alone, and He doesn't intend to leave me abandoned. I am going to have to let those comforting scriptures go around and around in my head today, instead of allowing the fears to take hold.
Flipping through my Bible just now, I came across Isaiah (seriously, my go to book...), chapter 40. I was looking for the run and not faint part, but instead got something slightly different. Apparently, I have never read this chapter in the Message. It goes like this:
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me." Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts. He's creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don't get tired. They walk and don't lag behind. ~Isaiah 40:27-31
This afternoon, I will focus on the fact that God placed that tree specifically in my path today, not for my harm, but for my good. So that I would know what it is like to run over obstacles without stumbling, without fear of doing it alone. He isn't going to leave me stranded at the base of this tree. He is going to pick me up and carry me over it.