So I’ve got a Spiritual New Years Resolution for 2019 – just show up and don’t quit! I’ve been trying to figure out what “getting back to normal” means after my cancer treatment, dealing with medications and side effects, energy slumps, killer hot flashes, brain fogs that come and go at random. Sometimes I still struggle just to manage daily life – washing my hair or changing the sheets on my bed! (Had a recent med change, so thankfully getting better!) And when I ponder my spiritual life, I don’t even want to think about the days when I can’t check off any of the things on my spiritual “should” list – morning quiet time, devotionals, bible study, and all the rest.
But I’m also thinking about my recent blog post, when I wrote about my Cloud of Witnesses Dream, and my great wonder and amazement that we are being cheered on by a great heavenly host, even though we are stumbling and falling as we struggle forward. Made me think about the Special Olympics, where all the athletes are encouraged and cheered just for making the effort.
Spiritual Special Olympics – Given all have the spiritual challenges and disabilities we each deal with as we run the spiritual race set before us – it’s like we are all running in the Spiritual Special Olympics. We are all weighted down with a lifetime of wounds and traumas, sorrows and suffering, unanswered prayers, hopes deferred.
Our Spiritual Disabilities – Who hasn’t stepped on at least one emotional IED, and been blown away by the shrapnel? Or had a spiritual concussion from one too many blows to our faith? Although these disabilities don’t show on the surface to our physical eyes, they must be glaring handicaps when seen through the eyes of the Spirit. Surely they are the spiritual equivalent of missing limbs, twisted backs, broken bones.
Tangled up with Sin – And then we have “the sin that entangles us” constantly wrapping around our ankles. We all have our weaknesses and temptations, our nagging envy, our secret rages, our hidden lusts. And we are all dragging behind us, like a heavy anchor, our great selfishness and pride. But when we keep focusing on our sins, rather than the great and amazing grace we have through Jesus, it’s like we are stuffing the pockets of our running gear with rocks, and loading up our backpacks with heavy stones!
But Jesus! – We are so ready to condemn ourselves, so quick to focus on how we fall short of that imaginary ideal Christian life. And it’s so easy for us to forget that we are completely loved and cherished by the Lord! He knows every obstacle and hinderance that we struggle to overcome, and how often we stumble and fall, but He never condemns us, He never shames us. And most importantly, He never leaves us. He is right there with us every step of the way, encouraging, coaching, cheering, clearing the path forward, pointing us to wards the goal line.
Our Victory – So with Jesus by our side, it’s a victory when we just suit up and take our place on the spiritual playing field of this life. And the great host of heaven shouts and cheers with wonder each time we take a step forward, each time we get up from a fall. We win this race by keeping our eyes on Jesus and just refusing to quit!