Last fall, right before my open house I shared a post with you guys about how each year I do something more to prepare for the holiday season. Each year I try to be better prepared, try to make it easier on Scotty, on my family, on me, on my emotions, on my body. You know the saying, “work smarter not harder”.
Except in fact by trying to work smarter, I am expecting more of myself. I began expecting this tip top shape, perfection that is unattainable. I am so disappointed when it still ends up being hard.
This year the night before the holiday open house, after setting it all up, I told Scotty, “I am still so tired. I did all I could think of to prepare in advance and I still hurt all over and it still took so long .”
Dumbfounded, he looks at me and said. “You ever think that maybe it’s just plain hard Bethany?!? That maybe this is as easy as it’s going to get. Maybe you did all you could and it turns out it is just a lot of work. Look around you and see what you’ve accomplished.”
Me- “Ok. Alright then. I mean fine. Ok yeah, I get that. UGH, you’re right.”
Scotty – “Bethany. You are doing enough.”
You ever find yourself here? Disappointed by how hard it still is. After all this work, all this learning, all these lessons.
What am I supposed to do then? Like just let it be hard? Sit down?
FYI -We’re not still just talking about setting up Christmas decor at the shop. LOL.
What are we supposed to do when we’ve exhausted our options? Pray for a rescue from the hard times? Pray to have those hard times taken away?
Pray remove me from this. Protect me from this. I didn’t expect that and I don’t know what to do with it. Take it away.
Have I prayed all these prayers? You betcha baby.
Do I believe that God is our rescuer? HE IS OUR GREATEST RESCUER! He is OUR SALVATION.
Is God also our provider? Our Jehovah Jireh? Does He have a surefire plan, knowing what we need and when we’ll need it? Is he all knowing, loving, and supreme?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
So what happens when we begin to trust God as our PROVIDER when we are in the heat of hard times, and not only as our RESCUER?
I’ll tell you what happens. A shift in our perspective. An opportunity to grow. A pivot.
We crush the victim mentality and step into the fire and over our fears.
When we participate in the hard times and we don’t lose hope, it’s like we choose to partner up with God and His plans for us. We grant ourselves opportunity, when we surrender to God in the hard times to provide us.
I can’t think of a better time for God to show up than in times when I am not whacking out asking for a rescue, but waiting on His provision? The tools HE is just waiting to gift us in those times that are otherwise missed.
You want to know what is the prime breeding ground for a victim mentality to settle right on in?
The idea that if we always have a rescue coming, it means we don’t have to make decisions. Or be honest with our own junk that got us here. It’s suddenly, maybe conveniently now also not our responsibility. It’s not our fault when things go wrong, because we didn’t choose it. It’s easy for it to become a cop out. And let’s be honest we’ve all done this. It’s a kind of passive way to be.
It goes something like, God I “trust” you in this situation. Situation blows up. God why did you let that happen? Run away. Rescue me from this. It’s too hard.
Listen, I get it. I told you I do all I can to prevent hard. To stay outta the heat.
Nobody wants fire!
Nobody wants to face their fears!
Nobody really wants to rely on someone else.
Nobody wants to face themselves and be honest.
If you been around Found in You for a while you know, I’ve been on this journey for the past 6 years or so- a journey of learning to know and rediscover myself. Getting to know myself as God’s creation. A creation He decided on, He made for a reason and with purpose unique to me. For a long time, I couldn’t quite understand why or what He was thinking when He made me. It took a serious reckoning in 2013, a rendering and eventually an absolute surrender to start this journey with new foundations. That story I am sure you have heard, and if not you can find it here.
This latest reckoning called 2020 and the worldwide pandemic has for me swung from one end of being full of silver linings to threatening the very new foundations I am clinging to. It feels in some ways like a trial run, like a “how you gonna hold up when the actual rubber meets the road?” kind of thing.
Can you picture a gutsy Jersey mob boss, taunting me, gesturing to me with his cigar…
“New foundations huh?
How long you think you’ll hold up?
You think you’re tough?
All those words you say?
All those posts you write?
You believe all that? Really? Oh yea? Well we’ll see about that.”
Please tell me you did your best “my cousin Vinny” voice. LOL.
In all seriousness, this is what every turn felt like and still feels like, every action and decision I took and have to make. While difficult, I can see how this has propelled me forward. What would have once decimated me, put me out of commission, had me begging for a rescue, has in turn solidified those new foundations. Strengthened them. It was like the fissures that were threatening to crack got some new cement smoothed over them. In the hard times, He is providing the tools I’ll need for the future.
I have come to realize given the choice of Fight or Flight, I ain’t the running type. Be prepared for the fists. And He’s saying to me “Pay attention to this. There is something to this”.
Something to the way that God has created me that He is using to strengthen my relationship with Him, to build my holy confidence in Him and confidence in myself, and to encourage others. This stand your ground business. This trust yourself business.
For so many years I have berated myself, wished I could change, wished I could not be so “take charge”. Wanted to wait on the Lord, trust God more, not take control so often, not go off on my own, not always be crawling back and asking for His forgiveness and needing His redemption.
Recently, while talking with God about my fears, about how frightening it was not to know who is telling the truth, how terrifying it can be to not be sure there even is truth anymore, HE reminded me that He is TRUTH. And that He has given me the power to discern truth for myself. The thing that I wished to rid myself of for years is an actual gift from God. My ability to discern and trust myself to make a decision based off of what I know is best right now for me, for my family, for my kids, is a good thing. I can trust myself, because Christ is in me, guiding me. I can be thankful I am created this way, because the alternative? Not being able to trust others to give me truth AND not being sure I can make a good decision on my own is scary. When HE revealed this to me, I cried with relief. A small crack threatening, that HE shored up for me when He met me in the heat, in this hard place I find myself.
SO. When faced with the Cousin Vinny’s of our lives and thoughts in our minds. When we’ve hit the point and are like “I’ve exhausted all the options and this is just plain HARD”, just know it’s a real game changer to say, I don’t like this. I don’t really know what this is all about. I do know I have a Provider. I do know He has a plan. I can trust myself to wait for Him in this hard place.
I know I will walk with HIM out of the fire, refined, with a heavy tool belt, ready to do business baby!