So I'm just gonna be honest and tell you that this particular post has been a serious pain in my butt. First of all, this is the second time I'm writing it. The first time, I wrote the whole thing and then went to lunch and it timed out while I was gone and I lost all my work.....grrrrrr
After that, I thought about not posting it at all. And then I encountered some things and I thought maybe this post wasn't for ya'll maybe it was a lesson just for me. But this morning I woke up thinking about it and thought that maybe one of you are going through something and need to hear it.
I'm also working on a follow up post for the new year about letting some things go. But right now as we come to the end of the year, I figure some of us are probably looking back at the year and riding the roller coaster of memories that may have taken us up and down and may have thrown a few punches your way. If you're like me, you may be thinking about the bad choices you made or the things you want to do better next year, maybe even making a new years resolution or two.
As you're thinking about all of those things, and before you make any rash decisions, I want to give you some things to think about. I want to start with two very similar stories about two similar men.
The first is about a man named Eleazor who was one of King David's three mighty men:
Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighty men. He was with David at Pasdammim. Now there the Philistines were gathered for battle, and there was a piece of ground full of barley. So the people fled from the Philistines. But they stationed themselves in the middle of that field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. 1 Chronicles 11:12-14
The second (very similar story) is about Shammah who was also a warrior in the army of King David;
Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. 2 Samuel 23:11-12
Maybe as the year is ending you're thinking about the weight you didn't lose this year and you're thinking about giving up that work out plan or diet. Or maybe you're thinking about that plan you had to quit smoking that has yet to happen. Or maybe you're like me and you had swore this is the year you were gonna conquer that beast they call mornings but like me that's a battle you're still losing (mornings are my arch enemy btw). Don't give up, stand your ground!
Maybe you're battle this year has been more extreme or more literal. Maybe it's your health, or maybe your marriage. Or maybe it's that person you've been ministering to that you feel like is never gonna change. Maybe you're hanging on by a thread, but maybe your victory is right around the corner.
Eleazor was one of many soldiers who stood their ground when everyone else was fleeing. But Shammah.... Shammah was the only one. When everyone else gave up, when everyone else fled. Even his brothers, even the other soldiers and mighty men. Shammah stood his ground. I'm pleading with you to hold on. To not give up. God can heal you, God can heal that situation your in. Even when it feels doubtful.
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9
Sometimes it feels like our breakthrough is never gonna happen or it's always gonna be this way. But this is just a season. Maybe it's a good one maybe it's a bad one but regardless hold on. I love this verse in James. It's helped me hold steady in times when I was frustrated and wanting to jump ship.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who worry their prayers are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open (James 1:2-8).
One of the parts that hit me when I first read this verse was the very last sentence. ....Keeping all your options open.
That is me to a T. Some of you know my background and know that I've lived in 6 different states. What you may not know is the Why behind that. The reality is this. I hate difficult times. I know we all feel that way. But I HATE them. And when things get difficult I want to run away. In the words of Lenny Kravitz, "I want to get away, I wanna fly away." When things would heat up, I didn't know how to work through my problems. I would just leave and try to start over. 6 states later I still had the same problems and realized, I might be the biggest issue of those problems.
Unfortunately (for my husband), I hadn't quite worked all of that out before I got married. My first year and half of marriage was TERRIBLE. Every fight that took place I was ready to run away, to get the heck out of there. I found myself thinking what in the world did I get myself into. I was over here thinking I had the worst marriage ever (it wasn't btw) and he was like calm down what is wrong with you, it was just a fight. But every time something would come up, that was my response. I was living with one foot out and one foot in and that wasn't fair to any of us. I had to kill that. That's where that verse from James came into play. I had to realize that God was building me up. That He was building my character and teaching me to stand my ground when I so badly wanted to give up.
There's a song by Toby Mac called "Me without you" that I'm pretty sure was written about me. It says;
Where would I be without You (God)
I'd be packin' my bags when I need to stay I'd be chasin' every breeze that blows my way I'd be building my kingdom just to watch it fade away
Yup! All of that. I was/am so inward focused. Selfish. Me Me Me. But honestly, that's not just a was thing. Sometimes, I'm still that way. I never knew how selfish I was until I got married. My husband occasionally has to remind me to come out of my village of me.
But that's what we're doing when we want to run away from things prematurely that feel uncomfortable to us. Most of the time we're only focusing on ourselves and how we feel. Think bigger. Be more like Jesus and try to live a life where we don't focus so much on ourselves and our own feelings.
Maybe this year you've needed to be like Eleazor and lean in on the people close to you, and had to rely on your support system. If this year has been really rough, you may have felt more like Shammah alone in the field when everyone else abandoned you or gave up.
That's my challenge for you. Stand your ground when every one else is hopping ship. Whether alone like Shammah or with those you love like Eleazor, don't give up. When it feels tough and never ending, hold on and let God do His work in you. I believe whatever it is that you are thinking about giving up on that God is telling you to hold firmly. That victory is right around the corner. If he did it for them, He'll do it for you.
If you're goin' through hell keep on going Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it You might get out before the devil even knows you're there