To the Other Side and Beyond

“You should totally do the program! It’s not just about working out, but about interrupting the broken cycles we carry.” Heavens, yes… that does sound like a miracle I’d like to experience… I think to myself. I sure would like to be able to build strength, get fit, and eat normal. Though at this point, my internal signals are determining how to tell her that type of thing just doesn’t work for me… I mean, surely I’d love to be a part of this new movement she’s got going on. (Seriously… what does she not ever have going on? She’s like a hurricane of Lysa Terkeurst, Martha Stewart, & Jillian Michaels, swirled up into one adorable, petite package). But the whole “working out and eating right” gig has never really worked for me. See, my short and stumpy self has, over many years, come up with an ingenious system and there’s no changing it. It’s a pretty simple process. I starve, binge, run, feel defeated, then starve, binge, run… Hey, it’s sad… But it works! (Kind of). I know it and knowing is safe. It’s my only sure route to momentary confidence and I’ll take it. For someone like me… Patterns of defeat, shame, and false triumphs are my default settings.

Oh, but there’s that tiny nudge again… That maybe the season for those settings is over. Just maybe she sees something on the other side of struggle that I don’t. Maybe she sees something bigger than shame, some joy beyond defeat. Maybe I’ll just pick up one of those little mustard seeds she has left among her assortment of veggies. Just maybe if I hold onto it long enough, I’ll get stronger as it grows bigger. Just maybe… if my true end goal is to shine as an expression of the life of Christ, shame indeed has no place. Yes, perhaps it has no place in my life and that my focus should rather be on the unspeakable joy that is mine. Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].” Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭AMP‬‬

We read here that Jesus was determined to disregard the harrowing shame of all he had to endure because he knew… He knew what his father had promised him on the other side. He stayed focused on the joy he could see before him and the place of completion prepared for him.

Ten weeks later and my view has become clearer… No, I’m not standing at the place of completion yet, but my focus is adjusted. My eyes fixed on the main prize and on every promise along the way. He promises that he is for us and not against us, that he works all things for our good, and that his blessings for us are nothing short of immeasurable. His promise for me is confidence and freedom. Freedom from the entrapment of doing things “my own way”, yet still expecting God to fulfill his end of the bargain. Freedom from the warped beliefs that shout my need to become someone else to be confident. See, freedom and confidence were always mine. But I needed someone to show me what I couldn’t see with my own understanding. Someone who’d seen joy on the other side of persistence. Proverbs clearly tells us to “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].” (Prov. ‭3:5-6‬ ‭AMP‬‬). The mind can be a tricky battlefield, but locked onto a faithful and trustworthy father waiting at the finish line, we can confidently keep running the race. And until we experience that glorious day, he will strategically place the right teammates cheering you on at each mile marker. Cheers, beautiful friends, to the next mile. We got this. 💪❤️