I just got back from another hot and sticky run. It’s not been pleasant all summer. The heat is bad and with the humidity, it’s almost unbearable. I have asthma, and for the most part, have always managed it. The smoggy conditions make me remember that I still have a lung condition. I drive up to my mom’s so I can run it. It’s two and a half miles and the first half is uphill. My desire is to run the course up and down at least twice, in other words, about 5 miles. I’ve been doing it all summer. Usually only twice a week because it is the only time I have and the only time I have a baby sitter. It seems as of lately that instead of improvement, it’s getting harder. Harder to stand the heat and harder to breathe. It’s been frustrating. First I blame myself. I am not being disciplined enough. If I really pushed, I could run farther, faster. Then, I feel sorry for myself. I don’t have what I need, the resources to help me achieve my goal. I blame God. I question why I am stuck with all of these hindrances, i.e. asthma, knee issues, childcare issues that make it so challenging.
In other aspects of my life, it’s been no different. I have these hills that I’m pushing to go up. I have a desire to go farther and to push further than I’ve ever pushed before. I set forth and not without several circumstances making it feeling like it’s sometimes impossible. First of all, I have my feelings of inadequacy. The underlying fear that I really can’t do this. I have my practical circumstances of being provider, protector, nurturer, and disciplinarian all in one that I feel sapped at times. Car troubles, sicknesses, coffee-stained shirts, stubbed toes all pile up making me feeling discouraged and wanting to give up.
I’m not alone when I say that, sometimes, my circumstances are the only thing that I see. When my eyes are only on my circumstances, my eyes are off of God. This is a no-brainer, or should be anyway. This past week, my eyes have been on my circumstances. It felt like the more I pushed through, the harder my week got. By the time this past Thursday came around, I found myself driving to work with thoughts of quitting my new job. I felt like I just couldn’t do all of this anymore. I felt like I didn’t have the resources to. I didn’t have the focus to wrap around the responsibilities of what I was about to do. I was getting very little sleep. I had very little time with my son. Deep down, I’ve been worried how I was going to pay this bill or that one. I was feeling bitter and hurt that God hadn’t provided for me the resources that I needed. Yet, come Monday, the homeless, the down-and-out, and the outcasts would be coming through my door to be taught. Where I used to have a natural drive to help, I didn’t have any more. Where I used to have an ambition and a desire to have approval from people, I didn’t have any more. How would I be able to do this? I have to provide, but even that, wasn’t motivation enough anymore.
As the sun was rising over the downtown horizon, I gave the entirety over to God. I asked Him,” Give me a love for these people because I don’t have it. Give me the focus for this job because I don’t have it. Give me the energy to be all of my roles, because I don’t have it. Give me the wisdom and strength to raise my son in the way he should go, because I don’t have it. Be all that You are, through me, because I can’t.”
The summer is my least favorite season. It is hot and humid making it unpleasant in so many ways. I even had to stop today because my chest was so tight I had to take a moment to catch my breath. Instead of complaining about my circumstances, I looked at the long hill ahead of me and prayed, “God, help me get up THAT.” I did. I finished my run. Yes, I had to stop and walk long enough to get control of my breathing, but I continued to move forward instead of feeling defeated and turning back. I continued and finished not because everything got better, but because of the ability that I have to rely on God. This is an ability only formed through hardships. If our circumstances were perfect, we would not feel the need to rely on Him as much as we should.
As my classroom next Monday is filled with people, who many of them the world has determined as unteachable, I believe that I will be that vessel for God to fill and to pour onto them. Not because there is anything special in me, but because I understand enough to know that it is impossible without Him. He just wants a willing heart. I believe that I will be successful at my job. I believe that I will achieve my 5 mile goal. Not because I have the earthly resources or the better conditions that I would like to have to help me along, but because I have THE Resource to make up for all that I’m not. Just like the summer, I hope that some of the unfavorable circumstances are just a season. I believe that if circumstances improve, it will only mean that I will be able to run twice as far. Even if I don’t, I haven’t failed. Failure only comes with quitting.
Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. ~John 16:23-24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.~ Acts 20:24
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven~ Matthew 5:3