with permission: www.freedigitalphotos.net
My treadmill died at the worst possible time--one week before all the holiday meals, desserts, and goodies that I simply cannot say no to. I'm human. I ate more than I should have. I kept telling myself, stop. But my mouth kept eating.
It's true. We are all human. And most often no amount of human mental gymnastics will zip our mouths at the most opportune moment.
I picked up an old favorite book today to move it out of the way while reaching to my bookshelf for something else. I don't remember what I was looking for in the first place because I started thumbing the pages of Hannah Hurnards's Hinds Feet in High Places, an allagory about overcoming fears and shortcomings. In short, it's about living day by day with Christ on this imperfect journey called LIFE.
Imperfection. Yep, we all face it. Thorns and thistles of life. Inconveniences that fray our nerves and set us on edge. Joy lost amidst waiting too long, or a pain too deep, or a hope gone dark.
This week I tore my dead treadmill apart, the innards laid open in a mass of electrical wires. The kill switch had died. Hmm, ironic, I know. I found the problem and was so thrilled I had fixed it and hopped back into my routine, nearly killing myself with a workout designed to get rid of the first whole week of Christmas dinners. But when the cat wanted out in the middle of my workout and when I jumped back on--it died. AGAIN. Grrr. Thistles and thorns.
Then I hopped in my van after a shower and went to turn the key in the ignition and nothing happened. My wonderful, dear, loving husband had taken it to drive my son's girlfriend home the night before--and left the dome light on. It was dead too!
Grrr. Thistles and thorns.
It sure takes a lot of work to keep connections working, I thought.
Then I quickly rushed on with my busy after holiday schedule. I've been out of my devotional routine too.
Imperfection. Grrr. Thistles and thorns.
I think I can still fix my treadmill, but then last night I was shaking a can of Pam cooking spray to do something I really didn't feel like doing in the kitchen and I dropped it on my foot. Well, actually, with the downward shake, I basically THREW it on my foot! And not only on my foot, but on my bunion.
Yes so even if I can fix my treadmill, now I am mortally wounded, and my bunion is making me feel very old.
Grr. Thistles and thorns.
But then as I flipped to the prologue of Hannah's book, I read:
"we would give anything if only we could, in actual experience, live on the High Places of love and victory here on this earth and during this life--able always to react to evil, tribulation, sorrow, pain, and every wrong thing in such a way that they would be overcome and transformed into something to the praise and glory of God forever."
Yes, I thought, get rid of those pesky thistles and thorns of life. Grr.
I glanced further :
"But the High Places of victory and union with Christ cannot be reached by any mental reckoning of self to be dead to sin, or by seeking to devise some way or discipline by which the will can be crucified. The only way is by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by a continually repeated laying down of our own will and acceptance of his as it is presented to us in the form of the people with whom we have to live and work, and in the things which happen to us."
Well, there it is in black and white. Accept thistles and thorns? Really?
Then I hear His Spirit voice inviting me: surrender and draw near, stay connected to ME and I will take you to the High Places.