Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fail under pressure

Proverbs 24:10 says that "If [I] fail under pressure, [my] strength is too small" (NLT).  The King James version says that "If [I] faint in the day of adversity, [my] strength is small" (emphasis mine).   The Message translation says it this way:  "If [I] fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn't much to [me] in the first place."  And the NIV translation words it, "If [I] falter in a time of trouble, how small is [my] strength!"

Confession time:  I have failed/fainted/fallen to pieces/faltered under pressure/in days of adversity/in a crisis/in times of trouble.  I fell to pieces just this past week when my vacation wasn't as perfect as I'd dreamed it would be.

It was miserable hot.  Everything cost more money than I was willing to pay.  We all wanted to do different things at different times.  It was miserable hot.  Where we went was nothing like what I expected it to be--it turned out to be nothing but a tourist trap, in spite of the fact that many people I know and love have visited the same place and LOVED it.  Personally, I didn't see at all what the fuss was about.  It was ok, but I don't feel that I would have missed out on much if I'd never been and I honestly don't care whether or not I ever go again.  (I probably will go again, but not because I want to go THERE, but because a conference I want to go to is there next year.)  And to make my failure complete, I fell even more to pieces when a family member's dog and I tried to occupy the same space and I was the one who had to move--and got hurt in the process.

Boy, oh boy did I ever fail, and faint, and fall to pieces, and falter.  Things prior to my vacation had been going so incredibly well.  I'll even go so far as to say that they were going "my way."  I was on a high and I was feeling the presence of God--of the Holy Spirit--such as I've never experienced in all of my 44 years.  I was feeling as if I was finally coming out of my deep depression and severe anxiety and that God truly did have me in the palm of His hand.  Hallelujah!

And then I go on vacation and things didn't go EXACTLY my way--the way I wanted to go or the way I expected, and I failed....I fainted....I fell to pieces....I faltered.  Lord, help me, I wish I could say that my faith/strength was so much stronger than it proved to be.

How exactly did I fail?  I complained the whole trip.  I tried not to.  I really did, but the fact of the matter is that I did.  It was too hot.  The drive is too long.  It was too hot.  I don't want to go there.  It was too hot.  Everything is too expensive.  It was too hot.  Dad won't let me drive.  It was too hot.  I don't want to eat there.  It was too hot.  I don't want to swim in the in-door pool.  It was too hot.  I don't want to get in the jacuzzi.  It was too hot.  I don't want to sleep there.  It was too hot.  (You get the idea.)

Worst of all, when the dog and I came to "fisticuffs" and I lost, I was angry--not that the dog had bitten me, but that I wasn't given the pity I felt I deserved after the "attack."  And I ended up not visiting with my family and spending quality time with everyone as a result.  I moped and pouted and told anyone who would listen at every opportunity I had how much it hurt--my bruises, that is.

My family loves this dog in the same way I love my son, yet I acted as if this dog was crap in a dung pond.  I had no more respect for her than I did for the fly I swatted dead that landed in front of me.

I wish I could say that when I leave home, my joy--my strong faith--goes with me.  But it is clear that the minute I get out of my routine, I fail.  Just as soon as I think I'm doing well, something comes along to show me that my faith is still very weak and I have a LONG way to go to become who and what God wants me to be--who and what I want to be in the Lord.

The bad news is that my faith is not as strong as I think it is...when I am home safe and sound and in my own daily, personal routine.  When my routine is interrupted, I fall to pieces and fail like the weakling I am.

The good news is that God is a God of grace and mercy.  The good news is that God loves me no
matter what.  The good news is that I can keep working on it.  I can keep growing and striving on a daily basis to grow stronger in the Lord--to grow my faith.  The Bible says that I only need faith the size of a mustered seed, so I know that staying strong under pressure is possible--through and in God.  I just can't give up.  I have to keep reading my Bible on a daily basis.  I have to keep doing devotions on a daily basis.  I have to keep showing my Gratitude to and for God in everything.  I have to keep Praising Him.  I have to keep worshiping Him.  I have to keep on keeping on.

Daily I must CHOOSE to trust in Him and to remember that when I am WEAK, He is STRONG.  I only fail--I am only a failure--if/when I give up and not longer trust in my Lord and Savior.  I will, no, I DO CHOOSE JOY.  I may have failed, fainted, fallen to pieces, but the best part is that my God makes all things new--He picks up the broken pieces and makes something BEAUTIFUL.

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