Today I will be perfectly candid with you. If you are looking for a feel-good, inspirational blog post, you may want to just stop reading now. This is not it. This is the real truth, probably one that more people identify with than even I could imagine.
In all honesty, when I was reading everyone’s “Thanks for a great 2014” post on Facebook, I wanted to post “2014 sucked (a word I intensely dislike yet found myself using) and I will be glad when it is over.”
It was certainly a year with financial challenges–too many bills and not enough paycheck to cover them. It was a year filled with health issues–increasing respiratory issues, and unexplained nodules on my lungs. plus worsening arthritis, that had certainly taken its toll during 2014. Health issues limited my ability to do things I had always done before and quite frankly, that is depressing.
The death of my beloved Mom in late October was the last straw in a bad year. I was ready for it to be over.
Quite frankly, I was tired. Tired of trying to stay strong and upbeat. Tired of pretending that everything was okay–or would be okay in a while, when it wasn’t. Tired of dealing with health issues and tired of, well, just feeling tired.
When I took a hard look at why I had such intense feelings about 2014 being a bad year, and when I was truly honest with myself, I realized a lot of the blame rested squarely with me. I let my spiritual life coast downhill like a wagon with no brakes. I just kept going faster and faster into apathy and depression. I found myself reading my Bible less, praying less, thinking about God less and spending less time at church.
Have you been there? Have you been so tired that you would rather hide your head under a pillow than face another morning? Have you been so discouraged with your circumstances that you have shoved them to the back of your mind and refused to deal with them? Have you been so far from God that you wonder if He is even there? That was my last year.
I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and make it all better. I don’t. But what I do have is a realization that I must start working to make a difference in my circumstances. Doing nothing will net the same results. Frustration, anxiety, depression . . . all of it from inaction and inertia.
So I have determined that 2015 is going to be a better year, despite my circumstances. For me, it starts with spending more time in God’s presence, letting His Word soak into my heart and soul, spending time talking with Him, and seeking out His presence. I realize that despite all the pessimism and negativity of the past year, God was still God. He had not changed or moved. I had. He still loves me, but I haven’t nourished my love for Him. So I have asked some friends to hold me accountable for my spiritual life–to ask me hard questions and challenge me to get out of my comfort zone in my service to God.
I decided to quit moaning about my health issues and become more pro-active. I started a Get Fit/Weight Loss Challenge at work so that I am not in this journey alone. I decided to get my finances under control and cut my cable (a very painful decision for me since I really enjoy HGTV and the History Channel.) I am in the process of getting my house ready to sell so I can be debt free and live within my income. These are things I have control over.
Will everything be better right away? No, I suspect not. I imagine I will still have days where I am tired and do not want to face the day. I think I will still have health challenges. But I am determined to face them with a better attitude this year. All I know is I don’t want a year this year like I had last year, and as much as in my power, I won’t.
How about you? What challenges surround you? How can you become proactive in overcoming them? Maybe the first place to start is with God. His throne of grace is just waiting for us.
Hebrews 4:16: “ Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – ESV
One thought on “The Throne of Grace”
Amen. I had the worst start of year ever. Four letters of rejection in my inbox from publishers, one on new year, another a week later and two yesterday. I am a graduate student with only one year left, my experiment collapsed due technical fault (something beyond my control). Bills hit the roof. To top the situation, get a call from my sister she was thinking of suicide, deserted by a husband and rejected by her own brother. As I sober up, I realize, God has set me up for His favor. 2015 ultimately exposed my weakness, I do but have enough to supply my family, I am not a very good writer, I do not have what it takes to be published author, I do not have enough to help my siblings or anyone else in need, I am not a very good researcher, in three words, “I am weak.” It is in these weaknesses made obvious by unceremonious events, I realize my deep need for God. Will I be able to stand and declare, “When I am weak, then I am strong?” Is it because God has set my life on fire, but to burn me, but to burn all the straws I have been holding on for quite long? Or God is positioning me to a place where I would clearly hear his voice when he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, and my strength is made perfect in your weakness.”