struggle

Posted: October 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

There is a spot in my heart that is hard – a place where my feelings and thoughts don’t line up with who I am to be in Christ. This hardness derails me daily, even while so much else is going right.

It’s not keeping me from noticing God’s nearness, nor from hearing His voice.  It’s not (at this point, at least) pushing across boundaries and darkening other areas.  I am walking in deep joy almost always.  Life is good, though not perfect (which is also good…I have lived long enough to know not to believe anything that seems “perfect” this side of heaven – so “not perfect” tells me that I’m not just hiding inside of denial).  I am thriving in many ways.  I know and enjoy my purpose and I see and experience my mission.  Gratitude orders my thoughts, in basically all areas except this one hard spot.  The work I’m given to do is pleasant – it gets overwhelming from time to time, but not so much that it makes me desperate.

It would be easy enough, I suppose, to ignore the hard spot in my heart.  Certainly in my past I have used that coping strategy.  But I’ve walked with God long enough to understand that a hard spot in my heart can operate like a cancer, if ignored – it can spread, corrupting and darkening other parts of my life.  Furthermore, God didn’t design me to have a hard heart – not even partially, not even a little bit.  So as long as that spot is there, part of me is not lined up with who He designed me to be.  I know for sure that I don’t want to settle for being less than that design.

So every day I turn to examine that spot, over and over.  To puzzle how it got there, and more importantly, how to give it to God so it can be softened and made right.

Every day I stop (most days, many times) to note its presence and tell God that I see it, that I know it is there, that I don’t know how to fix it.

Every day I work to the best of my ability on reordering my thoughts about it.  Every day I tell God that I agree with Him about this hardness.  Every day I look to Him for the solution.

I don’t see it yet.

Meanwhile, I know things to do.  I know not to act the way that hardness tries to dictate, and I almost always manage to stick to that plan.  When I fail, I stop and say so, ALOUD, to myself, to God, and to G, who walks with me so patiently and lovingly through it (the spot is not related to him at all, other than his role in observing it, praying for me, and listening as I struggle on through).

Though I don’t yet have a grasp on the answer, God is not silent.  I get little pieces to chew on all the time.  There was something in last week’s message at church, and then another something in the podcasts of sermons by my son-in-law.  There was a good bit in a presentation we had at a meeting at work.  There have been several solid sentences in various morning readings that have caught my attention in that, “Listen, God is talking here” way over the past couple of weeks.  Holy Spirit has grabbed me amidst things I was saying, more than once, and asked me to hear how I might apply the principle of which I was speaking to this particular bit of hardness.  He is talking and talking.  God is not silent.  I am listening with all my might, and He is faithful to keep feeding me bits.

Of course I want it all in a big giant revelation, all in a moment. I long for that delicious instant that comes when He brings conviction but at the same time striking clarity – that is always such a freeing moment.  I want the full answer NOW so that I can get on with the business of moving past it.

It’s not coming in that manner.  I don’t know if something in me is preventing it, or if God is just teaching me patience and perseverance along the way.  I can’t force a revelation, so I just keep seeking Him and repenting as hard as I can figure out how to repent along the way.  The answer will come.  When we seek Him, He wants to be found.  Addressing the problem of a hard heart is FOR SURE seeking His will in my life, so I do have 100% confidence that there is an answer somewhere on the path ahead of me.  Probably there is a reason for why I’m getting it in microbites.  I just don’t want the reason to be that I’m too damned stubborn to listen, you know?

Along the way, there have been temptations to overreact to some of those microbites.  I’ve had flashes of insight that have made me want to just push and shove my way forward through them – to rush headlong into a solution that I know for sure I’ve just made up in my head.  Having done that before and suffered the consequences – or, much worse, having watched OTHERS suffer the consequences for my rash decisions – I know enough not to listen when the compulsion tries to push me in that direction.  So there is the listening and seeking, but also the work of steadying myself to not just make it all worse in my desire to have it behind me.

There is a hard spot in my heart, and it is persistent, a puzzle that I just cannot solve without His help.

Today, I am grateful to know it is there – to not be so self-deceived that I call it wisdom.

Today, I am grateful that God is not silent – that He is willing to keep feeding me microbites as I continue to seek Him.

Today, I am grateful for certainty that there IS a solution, and that I’m working my way toward it.  That I may well be doing it imperfectly, I may be my own worst impediment (I usually don’t see that truth until a struggle is behind me)…but that I am doing the best I know how to do in the moment.

Today, I am grateful for everything I’ve ever experienced that has taught me how to walk through this with a degree of steadiness.

Today, I am grateful that the hardness does not define me as a person.  It is a struggle, it is not evidence to be used to condemn myself.

Today, I am grateful for awareness that I most likely backed myself into this particular corner – and I am more than grateful that He’s the one holding my hand to walk me out of it, regardless of how long that walk might take.

There’s a hard spot in my heart, but it doesn’t get to stay there forever.  I get to decide that, one moment at a time.

There’s a hard spot in my heart, but sooner or later, it will be gone.

O praise the LORD, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever.

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