You Have It In You!

Photo: Renae Bowman

Photo: Renae Bowman

I have to be honest with you…I had a very, very difficult time with emotions a week ago. I think a lot of us did. The tragic events that played out on live television cut to my core. The loss of our valiant protectors, the lawlessness, the vitriol comments on Social Media, the endless commentaries that seemed to celebrate bad and condemn good riled everything inside me into an emotional wreck. And when I say emotional, I mean anger. I mean disgust. I mean helplessness. I mean sadness.

I felt despair. It seeped in, sat down and stayed awhile.
For two days straight it seemed I dealt only with emotions, in-between doing life minute by minute. There were parts that were very personal; things hit home.

I would like to tell you how wonderfully and courageous I handled all those emotions, but I won’t lie.

I’m ashamed to tell you that I didn’t trust, first.
I didn’t resolve, first.
I didn’t pray, first.
…I festered first.

And it took its toll. It always takes its toll!

Some of you don’t need a national or world event to have this happen—you’re in the mix for other reasons:
Today, you’re facing a diagnosis you don’t want.
Today, you’re facing the sorrow of a marriage cracked and broken.
Today, you’re looking at the bottom-line knowing you can’t pay the bills.
Today, you’re just as distant with a child as ever.
Today, you’re facing…

You see it doesn’t have to be a national event, does it? In fact, most, if not all of life’s troubles, stay within the boundaries of our compact little life. Yet, so many times our responses remain the same. Anxiousness and anguish seep in. It all takes over and won’t leave. It swirls around and twists itself into a ball of emotions.

Listen, how can I sit here and write some great advice on this when you clearly see I struggled? I don’t feel like I can. But what I can tell you is that in those few days of my turmoil, God met me quickly. He didn’t let it linger on. He purposely quieted the noise and put me back into His word.

And perhaps, today, you need to see and hear the same words I did. Perhaps He doesn’t want you stuck either:

We are hard pressed on every side—but not crushed;
We are perplexed—but not in despair;
We are persecuted—but not abandoned;
We are struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Let me tell you, I have now read and said these words a hundred times over.
They mean something. They are guiding. They are defining.

The apostle Paul writes that we are jars of clay, filled with those God powers to overcome and endure what we face. There will be troubles, there will be heartaches, there will be stupid people doing stupid stuff that makes us scream to the heavens—yet we are jars filled to the brim with His power. Our strength is not our own, it is His gift that comes from within.

We have to remind ourselves of that! We have to know this as truth!

If there was anyone who could speak of this, it was Paul. Do we dare compare to him? This man had something happen almost daily.
People hated him, they scoffed at him, they tormented him—all because of his faith.
Yet, he understood he was that jar of clay—a simple vessel with a majestic treasure inside. He understood that although the world was against him, God’s power and majesty was inside of him.

When life is pressing in, when troubles become turmoil and peace is replaced by strife, Paul says dig inside. Dig inside your soul where God placed the endurance.

Pressed—not crushed.
Perplexed—not despaired.
Persecuted—not abandoned.
Struck down—not destroyed.

If you’re into mantras, may this one take hold!
I have to tell you, these words are rolling off the tongue these days. They have to. We know, the days are getting tough, there doesn’t seem to be a reprieve. We all face something, but…we have Christ! We have His promises. We have the endurance.
If you are facing something, if emotions are getting the best of you, dig down deep my friend–the strength is there, it’s been inside you all this time.  It is yours for the taking, let Paul’s words be your song, let them be your guide, let them take over and carry you through.

2 Replies

  1. Karen Uribe

    Oh dear Renae you sure struck a cord with me! I had joined you in the struggle these past weeks, thank you for this writing. I always love your honesty! I’m saving this one in my email to read and re-read and re-read, well you get the picture 🙂

    1. Ah Karen–thank you! I’m glad I could help, and I’m glad I’m not alone! Paul’s (God’s) words came just in time and I too will make them a go-to constantly. I’m so glad He gives us those reassurances, and to think it’s all stored up inside already? Sweet! Blessings to you Karen.

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