I was scrolling through Facebook a couple of days ago and saw this picture (above) in my timeline, posted by a friend, and I thought, yep that’s how I feel today. So many people I know are fighting their own battles today; whether it’s physical pain, emotional pain, or both, we all have something to overcome because we live in a fallen world where sin and suffering are very present. As I sit here typing, I just feel like I need to say that it is ok to not be ok. It’s ok to be tired, and it’s ok to be real with people about the struggles you face that at times feel overwhelming. It’s ok to not put on a show for people to make it look like everything is ok, cause sometimes it’s not.
Lately, I’ve been contemplating something in the bible. First, I’d like to say that I am by no means an expert in the bible. I struggle sometimes to even read God’s word regularly. I grew in the church and was given a great biblical foundation by my mother. She still challenges me to seek God’s truth for myself and not just blindly believe what I’ve been told. I spent a year in bible college and was surrounded by some pretty smart friends that challenged my thinking and allowed me to challenge theirs. With that said, here’s my latest contemplation.
There are several scriptures where Paul talks about running a race. I guess I’ve been thinking a lot lately about running. I have not been able to run for probably 15+ years and not even been able to walk since the end of February. I have also been thinking about the possibility that, after my amputation and possible prosthetic, I could do things like run again. I have no goal to do a marathon or anything like that, don’t get too excited Anthony (my friend who does Iron man triathlons for fun), but prospect is exciting. Anyway, back to the bible. Paul talks about running a race a lot. Here are a few verses:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith...” 2 Timothy 4:7
Oh my goodness, it’s exhausting just reading them. I’m tired. I don’t have the strength to run a race or fight a fight. There are times when I don’t feel very perseverant and I just want rest.
Wait, doesn’t Jesus talk about rest? Yes! He says in the book of Matthew:
“…Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
Ok, so when Paul says run and fight, I believe those words are not just Paul’s. They were Holy Spirit inspired and God allowed, so I believe that Jesus wants us to run the race, to fight and persevere, to not give up. But I am so thankful that Jesus calls us to lay our burdens down and let him run and fight for us. He calls us to rest.
I love the following verse from Isaiah because I think it combines these two principles of running and resting. God said through Isaiah that those who “wait for the Lord,”—some translations say “hope in the lord” or “trust in the Lord,” maybe you could even say “REST in the Lord,”—will be able to “run and not be weary.”
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
So I’m claiming this verse on days when I am tired, and on days when I am running the race and fighting the fight. Either of those days my strength and my rest comes from my HOPE and TRUST in the Lord. For those of you who are tired out there too, its ok. Tell Jesus that you’re tired. He is a big God who can handle all our frustrations, anger, hurt, confusion. Tell him you need rest. And allow yourself to be real with people, because most likely they’re tired too, and we all just want to know that we are not alone in our struggles. Thank you to my friend who was brave enough to post this picture on Facebook. Thank you for all those who are praying for me out there. Please let me know if I can pray for you too. Praying that those who are tired can find rest.
Angela and family are raising support for her upcoming journey to Boston for her above the knee amputation. Please check out her fundraise.com page.