Angry and Discontent
Today it is time to pull myself up by the bootstraps, plant my feet on the solid rock, turn a new direction, and move forward. I recognize it has been a long time since I have posted a blog and much has changed in that time. I could go back and recap all that has taken place in my life but it would probably be a different version of what you yourself have been through in 2020. I rarely have gone into a new year expecting it to be smooth sailing through calm and peaceful waters but I certainly didn't see the storms of 2020 coming.
Let me jump right into the reality of my journey through this insane Covid and political mess we all find ourselves in. I would like to say I am proud of how I have navigated my way through these times but I am not. I can't think of another time in my life I have felt so overwhelmed and out of control personally. I don't consider myself a control freak but as a business owner for my entire life and head of my household, I have always strived to establish a firm footing for my family to stand on and hopefully be the lead by my own actions. That has all been thrown out the window since March of this year. Since March my firm footing has felt more like my recent experience visiting friends in Oregon who live on the North Umpqua River. As the sun warmed most days during our visit we would venture to the river with our water shoes on and wade to a small island in the middle of the river. Doing so was an adventure in itself because as we crossed the river you had to take care with every step because you never knew when you would step on a rock that was covered in moss and no firm footing was to be found. Somehow through this year firm footing doesn't seem to exist any longer.
Looking back on this year I begin to see where the cracks and fissures began to appear. By nature, my identity is one of a "protector" especially as it comes to those around me. My default mode is always to fall back and cover and protect those nearest me. By itself being a protector is not a bad trait but what I have found during these trying times my personal identity began to overshadow my dependence on the God I serve and was substituted with personal effort which turned into striving which turned into discouragement, anger, and frustration. I hope none of you can relate to this but I suspect I may not be alone in this battle.
A simple illustration of my plummet to new lows this year occurred last week as I was about to leave for my office and several issues arose around the house that taken one at a time were of no real consequence but they all came at my at the same time and my internal pressure relief valve failed and I went to the over reactionary extreme in each circumstance. Unfortunately going back a year or two I experienced some tremendous victory in overcoming my tendency to overreact to the events of life that seemingly come out of the left field. The triggering mechanism may be different for all of us so I won't dwell on the causal issue because the main point is the sad truth that my footing has slipped and I have lost my strategic edge in the daily battle I now find myself in.
Fortunately, last evening my wife knew I needed a "little corrective guidance" and suggested I watch a recent message by Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA. Early in his message, Bill broached the topic of strongholds and how they can affect us. I will paraphrase what he communicated but he described strongholds as "those things in our life that we put our trust in that are not God." It was as though he flipped the switch in my head, I immediately recognized through the challenges of this year where I have put my trust and it has been in my own abilities and less upon the lord of our lives. Being tired and angry is an understatement of where I ended up. Honestly, I bought into the lie of the enemy of our souls that the world we live in can provide all of our fulfillment, joy, and contentment, and when that got shaken to the core this year my footing was lost. For months I have felt as if each day was like trying to cross Umpqua River and looking for something solid to plant my feet on only to find myself slipping on another mossy rock of this world.
In his message, Bill referred to the verse Proverbs 21:22 "One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty and pull down the stronghold in which they trust." sad but true I have found that I have lost my footing this year and bought into the lie.....but not today, today is a new day and I plant my feet once again upon the Rock our Lord Jesus Christ. I plant my feet where the ground is not mossy and pivot in a new direction. Lamentations 3;23 reminds us "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. ... they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness"
I was amazed this morning as I woke, my perspective has changed as if the fog has lifted and it is the start of a new day. Hopefully, you can't relate to what I have just discussed and you have been unshakable through this season.........but, "but" has become one of my favorite words in the book of Proverbs because it usually serves as a pivot point from where we as vulnerable creations of God are prone to fail "BUT" if we turn and pivot there are newness and victories to be had. It is my prayer that you are all standing on the solid foundation of the god we serve and are unwavering warriors in this season of battle.