when the going gets tough...

Something you should know about me is that I have a deep appreciation and love for clichés. You can flip through this blog’s archive and figure that out in a quick second. This one’s a favorite of my mine. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’m not tough. I’m learning how to be tough, but I don’t think it’s a word people who know me well would use to describe me. Outsiders looking in would probably consider me very resilient and “tough”, but that’s just because they don’t get to see the weepy mess that my closest friends and family do. But I’m working on it. My skin is beginning to thicken, my resolve is growing stronger. My reaction to things is beginning to be tears less often, which is great. You can only blame allergies so many times. You see, I am an empath to the highest degree. You feel something, I feel it. Someone hurts you, they hurt me. Which makes me a pretty great friend and an overall dedicated human being, but it also makes me a bit of an emotional mess when the roller coaster starts heading down. 

 I can’t blame it all on being empathetic though. The real reason everything goes to hell when the proverbial shit hits the fan is because I freak out and completely quit trusting God with my situation. I so quickly and easily slip right into “God where are you?!?” mode and totally lose my mind. After my initial freak out I can usually regain my where abouts enough to make myself sit down and pray, but how great would it be if I could avoid that original Clark Griswold-esque meltdown? As does almost every other issue in my life, it boils down to where I’m really putting all my eggs. Are they in the me basket, or the Jesus basket? Do I think my plan’s better, or do I think God’s is? Who’s the Creator of the Universe here? Oh yeah. Not me.

I hit a bit of a “valley” in life in the last two months or so. You know when it feels like everything’s just falling down on top of you? I don’t want to go into too much detail, because as much as I love sharing life with the internet, some things are mine. But when two or three major parts of your life go to hell in a hand basket, our unfortunately human response is to just lose it. Yesterday was the first day in weeks that I didn’t get off work and bee line straight for my bed to cry it out for the next ten minutes. I’ve been tired and wired and weird. But this time around, one thing that didn’t happen was losing my faith in God and his provision. This time around, I didn’t slip into “God where are you?!?” mode. There were moments where I felt really lost and confused, but I always knew he was there. The skies haven’t necessarily cleared just yet. There are still aspects of my life that aren’t necessarily ideal just yet. Glimmers of hope are beginning to show themselves though. But the best part of it all is that my death grip on Jesus is still just as in place as it was when the roller coaster started. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ridden out the storm and not come out the other side only holding on to myself. So yes, I’m tired. And yes, I’m ready for things to start looking up, but oh man-did God show up in the last couple of months. He showed up in my quiet times, he showed up HUGELY in my friendships, he showed up every morning and every time I was in bed crying.

I think we need to stop facing the dark times geared up to face it all by ourselves. We need to quit allowing ourselves to buy into the lie that we are the only person we can depend on. We need to grab on to Jesus with the most intense death grip possible, and ride it out with him. Because as much as most people hate to have Romans 8:28 thrown in their faces when things get rough, it’s true. The valleys, when nothing’s going right and you’re convinced he’s going to keep you here forever-those are the times he uses to level you and build you up the way he intended you. God’s been leveling me everyday lately. Everyday he’s wiping out something I was sure would be a part of me forever, and replacing it with him. The ride’s not over, but we’re both in for the long haul.

This verse has been my favorite lately. My “life motto” has become anywhere but everywhere, a shorten version of something I wrote a couple of weeks ago, that I don’t want God anywhere but everywhere. And this verse really brings it home for me. The idea of continually abiding in the house of my Father brings me so much peace and hope, especially when I relate it to how much I love the weekends I get to escape to my parents’ house. So I want to leave y’all with that, and a link to the song I’ve been listening to on repeat. Spoiler alert: it’s not a Christian song. But Corinne’s voice just soothes me, and I love the intention behind it, you’re gonna find yourself someday, somehow.

“One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent, he will lift me high upon a rock.”
-Psalm 27:4

1 comment:

Stephanie Spencer said...

Hi Blake-

"Everyday he’s wiping out something I was sure would be a part of me forever, and replacing it with him." What a difficult but important and wonderful journey to be on. It is in the difficult times that we often feel our need for God most clearly.

In difficult times, I have found a few verses before Romans 8:28, Romans 8:26, to be a great comfort. Because sometimes pain means we don't understand and we question (like you did). And that's okay. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

We don’t have to know how to pray. We don’t have to understand. The Spirit is with us. The Spirit meets us. When we can hold onto nothing else, we can hold onto the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, who is in the pain with us, interceding on our behalf.

I pray that the Spirit holds you up in these days.

- Steph