Suffering and pain. We all go through it to some degree. What happens when we endure so much of it that we feel like quitting?
I’m a quitter. I’ll be the first one to admit it. I’ve quit so many things in my life it’s ridiculous. I quit books, I quit exercise, I quit work, I quit school, I quit eating, I quit cleaning…you name it.
I’m also a carer. The caring side of me, or rather, the emotional side of me as most people like to tag it, is what keeps me from quitting the things worth doing, and changing the things that I need to change. (Some things are worth quitting…drinking, smoking, hitting, etc.)
How do you decide what to do when everything is telling you to quit, but the caring side won’t allow you to? Should you just hole up in a ditch somewhere and wait for the storm to pass? Should you go all out and fight tooth and nail with what shreds of life you have left in you? I think it’s a combination of the two.
There’s a reason God created valleys and mountains. When we are in the valley (our suffering and pain) he is giving us a refuge. It feels cold, dark, lonely and diminishing…until we are able to lift our eyes upward and understand that his love is what is surrounding us. The mountains are made to protect us from the outside struggles that we’re not strong enough to face at those times. The harsh winds, the hot sun, the depletion of oxygen that comes with being on the mountain peaks. The valley is where the ground is lush and the vegetation plentiful, Where the water comes down to us and we are supplied with the nutrition our body and soul needs in order to climb our mountain and come closer to God and peace.
Being in the valley only becomes dangerous when we become complacent and stagnant in our situation. When we take for granted this shelter that God has provided for us and refuse to reach higher and to be closer to Him.
The reverse is the same. When we climb and struggle to reach the summit we deplete our reserves and fall uncontrollably. However, when we do have strength and we have replenished our tools and we have packed our bag with the fruits of the spirit, we are called to climb. It won’t be easy and we will get cuts and bruises along the way. The rocky parts will grow calluses and the wind will toughen our skin. But what a glorious view awaits us! The warmth of the sun and the clean air.
My biggest struggle comes between my desire to quit and my caring. When I don’t feel encouraged to climb I want to hole up and dig myself deeper into the valley. When I want to climb I want to have company and so I want to share my fruits with those I want next to me on the climb. To be able to have a spotter and be a spotter, to be each other’s life line in case one of us slips. Neither of those situations work though.
If I stay in the valley, or worse I dig myself in deeper, I lose faith in God and in his goodness. If I wait until I have a climbing partner other than the Spirit, I will never reach base camp, much less my summit. I need to stay in the valley while I heal and ignore the criticism of those thinking I am not doing enough, BUT I also need to climb when I’m well enough and not be afraid of the pain and struggle and turn around at the first sign of rough weather. To go through the clouds instead of waiting for clear weather, to take a pause when needed and not allow myself to fall back to the bottom.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:1-5
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