Chin Up, Buttercup!

I was struck with a moment of truth recently.

After dealing with some disappointment, I found myself purposefully preoccupying myself in this space of self-pity.

You know how when things don’t go our way we tend to revisit all those songs, verses, and quotes that offer condolence and make us feel better or more hopeful about our cruddy circumstances?

Stuff like –

    ‘Let it go.’

    ‘Be at rest once more, O’ my soul, for the Lord has been good to you’ (Psalm 116:7)

    ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God…’ (Matthew 6:33)

    ‘For I know who holds tomorrow.’

    ‘Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.’

    ‘Put one foot in front of the other.’

In the past, when faced with moments of drought that often felt like a thousand years, I would dwell in this mess of doubt, disappointment, and an assortment of screenshotted quotes and verses for a number of days, allowing time to do its best work and mend my bruised heart once again.

Can you relate to this?

Have you ever found yourself in a place where the ground beneath your feet feels unsteady and unfamiliar?

Where God’s voice seems so obscure that it’s easier to just listen to the voices running wild in your head?

Where walking on water seems impossible because you can’t even manage to keep your head above water, much less your tired feet?

I’ve been there.

Life can throw some pretty mean punches, leaving us beat up and miserable.

Yet, I realized that sometimes I do this to myself.

I keep feeling as if I’m getting kicked while still down not because life is just that cruel (though sometimes it certainly can be), but rather because of my own unwillingness to simply get up and walk away.

The thought ran through my head one morning as I listened to the song Matter by For King & Country – what if instead of just listening to this song and allowing it to make me feel better…what if I actually lived today as if it were true; entirely true!?

What if we actually approached each day as if we mattered to ‘the one who spoke and set the sun ablaze?’

What if we held our heads a little higher, knowing that ‘the one who stopped the storm and walked on waves’ actually cared about our hurting hearts?

What if we actually saw ourselves as the ‘treasured possessions’ (Exodus 19:5) that God says we are?

What if we actually lived as sons and daughters of the Lord Most High?

What if it was actually, truly, deeply ‘well with my soul?’

Too often I think we like to dwell in this place of self-pity; like ‘I know I’m treasured by God; I know I matter to Him; I know…I know…I know…’

But we never move past this point.

We remain in the knowledge but never actually translate that knowledge into action.

We allow our emotions and feelings to dictate our behaviors when instead we should allow what we know to be true to determine how we act.

I’m not saying that we aren’t going to hurt and I’m certainly not saying that we aren’t allowed to feel disappointed and worn thin. What I am saying though is that we need to stop allowing that disappointment to keep us down.

We can still move forward while hurting, it might just require a little more concentrated effort, extra time, and the help of others coming alongside us.

After some extensive introspection, I had to ask myself why I like to dwell in my disappointment and hurt. The answer I came up with was tough to accept, but it has done wonders in adjusting my attitude towards the drought seasons in life.

I found that I would relish the times of uncertainty because it seemed to justify my doubting God.

No one ever said that trusting God was going to be easy, and it isn’t. So when it seemed like my circumstances ‘justified’ my questioning Him in the eyes of the world, I would take full advantage.

Has this ever happened to you?

I discovered that we have a lot in common with the Israelites in the beginning chapters of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 1:26-27 describes the emotional and mental state of our newly delivered Israelites from their slavery in Egypt – But they were unwilling to go up; they rebelled against the command of the Lord their God. They grumbled in their tents and said, “The Lord hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us.”

Are you unwilling to ‘go up’ today?

Are you allowing your feelings and emotions to dictate and contaminate that which you know to be true?

Do you find yourself grumbling about your circumstances and the manner in which God is working through them?

The Israelites were unwilling to move forward because they were so preoccupied with their self-pity and the memories of their past (Egypt) that they rebelled against the command of the Lord – Do not be terrified; do not be afraid…(vs. 29-31).

How many times do we find condolence in verses like this – Deuteronomy 1:29-31; John 14:27; Isaiah 35:4; Joshua 1:9 (to name a few) – yet don’t actually believe them or practice them?

Do we ever take steps to confront our fears and hurt with truth in action or just spiritual sounding quotes and Scriptures?

In our unwillingness to ‘go up’ as the Lord commands, we may be missing our opportunity to see the ‘promised land’ He has for us; God’s dream and intent for our lives.

In spite of this truth that we have nothing to fear, just like the Israelites we do not trust in the Lord our God, who has gone before us on our journey to show us the way we should go (vs. 32-33).

What a sad reality it is that many of us might actually miss the best intent for our lives because we’re holding onto disappointment and uncertainty.

Yet, there are some who have overcome.

We can strive to be like Caleb, who even through his pain of past slavery and uncertainty of what lied ahead, was the only one of that generation to actually see the promised land because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly (vs. 36).

I am not saying that after bouts of disappointment and drought we should be able to bounce back immediately. That would dehumanize us and leave us with no compassion or understanding for the pain others feel.

However, if we follow God wholeheartedly, even after coming through seasons of drought, disappointment, and uncertainty, we will come to realize that it is because of that time that we can come out stronger; that we can come out even more prepared and even more equipped to carry out God’s dream for our lives.

We might actually…

    ‘Let it go.’

    ‘Be at rest once more, knowing that the Lord has been good to us’ (Psalm 116:7)

    ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God…’ (Matthew 6:33)

    ‘Know who holds tomorrow.’

    ‘Believe that earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.’

    ‘Put one foot in front of the other.’

So chin up, buttercup!

You’re going to be just fine.

One thought on “Chin Up, Buttercup!”

  1. You were right, this was a very good essay. Its right where I am, I feel guilty for not feeling guilty at tanking my job. I’ll miss someone there, but oh well…i’m in forward motion now (thanks Relient K)——->

    -d

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