How do you live a good story with your life? The premise of the short film contest I just competed in, required that a good story must involve a character who wants something bad enough, to overcome conflict to get it.
Good stories don’t all look the same.
Beyond the things that happen to us, there is another story being told– in us.
These tales may not take the spotlight, but they are the ones we live and the same ones God writes into.
Sometimes, our storylines may not be so clear, exciting or winsome.
There are seasons they can look downright common place.
This everyday life is the material of great faith writing.
It may be overlooked as ordinary, but I am learning God sees our lives through a very different set of lenses.
He sees “extraordinary”.
The Journey Is Too Much
Sometimes, the circumstances we find ourselves in don’t always turn out the way we expect them to.
Sometimes, when we dive deep into our stories, the journey is too much.
Have you ever found yourself in that place?
Have you worked hard to do what was right, only to find that it wasn’t enough? Maybe you’ve sincerely sought and waited for God to answer– yet, one obstacle after another crossed your path?
Sometimes, despite our best efforts and the earnest of prayers, we can become overwhelmed, overtired, and overstressed.
When your mind is frazzled, body worn and spirit down, what do you do?
For much of my life, I’d been running from the things that wound me, to find the good instead. As a result, I placed a lot of pressure on myself to find “God’s will” for my life. One of the greatest fears I carried was the fear of missing out on God’s plan for me.
This kind of thinking set me up for a series of falls and disappointments. Including getting burned out and depressed at times.
God saw things differently. He set out to change my line of sight.
Making Me Rest
He started first by making me rest.
He allowed the circumstances in my life to turn, in such a way that I was painted into a corner. I was stopped in my tracks.
I certainly didn’t feel restful. It was the very opposite.
I felt frantic, trying to find some peace and purpose. I needed to see a way out. And I couldn’t.
I’ve Had Enough
I’d had enough… of being in the dark about my life.
I was like the Old Testament prophet Elijah, after winning the battle of the bulls against 450 false prophets of Baal.
Elijah ran straight into the wilderness, alone– away from Jezabel, who had a contract out on his life.
It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Sometimes, we, too, draw that short straw one too many times.
Like Elijah, we end up running straight into the desert.
Elijah came to a broom tree… and prayed that he might die.“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life.” ~1 Kings 19:4
I’ve never seriously plotted out my own death. But, I have uttered these same words.
The Bible says Elijah collapsed under the tree and fell asleep.
Have you done just that– collapsed under the weight of expectations?
The Journey Is Too Much
God didn’t give Elijah a pep talk or straighten him out by should do’s or ought-t0-know’s.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.“
There by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals and a jar of water.
He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him and said,
“Get up and eat,
for the journey is too much for you.”
~ I Kings 19:5-8
If you’re finding you’re–
overstressed and tired…
overwhelmed, trying to figure everything out…
discouraged your story isn’t working out the way you expected…
You’re in good company. God’s company.
Sleep and Warm Bread
God wants us to sleep, eat some warm bread, drink and sleep some more.
Wash, rinse, and repeat.
How long do seasons like this take?
As long as it takes us to regain our strength– to make the next leg of our journey.
So Elijah got up and ate and drank.
Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
No judgment. No guilt.
God finds our stories meaningful when we stop to sleep, eat, and drink in the desert. Sometimes, it’s a short time. Other times not.
Maybe you’ve wondered how much time passed between the moment God turned me around from my point of hopelessness, to where I am today.
It has been 10 years.
If you are living this part of your story — when the journey is too much — I hope you will be encouraged to know, we can stop, catch up on sleep, eat and get rejuvenated.
God sees you. His story is being written in you– while you rest.
What do you do when the journey is too much?
We’ll be exploring the ways God writes His story into our lives and sharing how we can live those stories. These are the “faith” stories that God values as extraordinarily good.
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