Thursday, January 21, 2010

Plugged In

I'm pretty open about the fact that I love Jesus. Yep, I'm a Christian. But . . . I'm usually not very good at it.

You see, I have the best intentions. I want to let Him have every moment of my life, every breath, for His purposes. The craziness of life happens, though, and I forget that He is it and try to do things in my own strength. This kind of living is less than ideal on good days, but when the road gets rough, it's downright bad.

And silly. Because I can't fix myself. I can't make myself not be depressed, or be content in whatever I happen to be doing, or fight back the darkness of fear and insecurity. That doesn't mean I don't try . . . but, more often than not, I fail to patch things up.

God never fails, though. When I'm plugged into Him, even the most horrible situations are infused with hope. Life might not get more comfortable -- in fact, Jesus promises that it won't -- but it definitely becomes do-able, and even a source of joy and praise.

I learned this first-hand. God took my eating disorder, which should have ended in my death, and turned it around into an opportunity to mature, to become a woman, and to engage with people where before I cut myself off and refused to grow up. Now, He is walking me through adventure after adventure through my job, through hooping, through writing and blogging, and through the people in my life. While these adventures might not always be cushy and fun, they are worthwhile and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

This has been a rough week, and I can't quite figure out why. Work has been more stressful than usual. Part of that is due to the fact that I decide how to fit my sweet new table into my [very tiny] room, and the result is that my desk (and the whole room) are a big mess, and make me feel the same way emotionally. Also, I have about a bajillion things to do, but no time to do them in, I feel like. Plus, I'm running a family lunch in one of the second grades today, and that's always stressful.

Not least on the list of stressors is hooping. Both personally hooping (at home, at the gym -- wherever) and the after school hooping club that I'm starting. Our first meeting is this afternoon (eep!) and I have tons of kids signed up. I honestly have no idea what we're going to do, how I'm going to keep order (especially as we have to share the gym with another group for the first half-hour), or what the parents will think. In a word, I'm terrified.

Part of the issue here is that I don't really feel qualified to teach hooping, whatever that might mean. I've been dealing with some pretty intense depression and feelings of inadequacy in this area. I watch videos of other hoopers who are amazing and I think -- "Who am I to teach this stuff??" I feel inferior, and I feel attacked.

And then I realized -- I feel attacked. Maybe this isn't just me. The Bible says that we have an enemy who wants to stop us from getting close to God, from experiencing joy and peace. The devil wants to eat up our happiness and our faith, the stinker. And I have found healing, hope, purpose, joy, beauty, connection, and -- oh, so many things I can't even name -- all inside the hoop. Now I want to share it with my students. Should I be surprised that there's some spiritual resistance? Part of today's selection from the devotional I'm reading, Streams in the Desert, says this:

"The moment we receive anything from the Lord worth fighting for, the Devil comes seeking to destroy us."

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it's not the devil. I don't know. But I do know that I feel awful, and that nothing I've been trying has fixed it. Until last night. It was as I was making dinner that the realization came that I might be under attack, be it from some spiritual enemy or the world or simply myself. So instead of trying to patch the hurt and barraged feelings up with some temporary fix, I prayed as I chopped up veggies. I told God about it. I plugged in.

Did it help? You bet. I also got a feeling that I should tell the Best Husband Ever about it. I didn't know what that would accomplish but I figured that if I was trusting God a little by praying, I might as well trust whatever message He might be sending. So I told my husband, feeling kind of silly. The Best Husband Ever asked what he could do, and I shrugged and told him he could pray. "Now?" he replied.

Before I knew it, he was holding me up, both in his arms and up to God. And after that, I felt better. I could smile, where before I wanted to cry. I could talk with my wonderful husband, where only moments before I had wanted to be left alone to sulk.

Does prayer work? Does God exist? I can't answer that for you. I can only answer for myself, and my answer is a thankful and whole-hearted yes. When I remember to plug myself in and look for Him, I always find Him, and more than I ever expected to receive. In my opinion, God rocks.


  1. My sister, I'm so glad you found your way through the attack! Here's another verse about what you've been going through: John 16:33 (AMP): "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]"Keep praying, keep smiling, keep hooping - and have a blessed day!

  2. Beth, I love you. Just wanted you to know that. You are so right about the devil's attacks. So often we do not even realize we are under attack, until we are desperate. Just this past week I have made changes to myself in how I treat others, and how I treat myself. I can already see God doing great things in my life and the devil fading away. I didn't even realize he was hanging out nagging me, but he was putting thoughts in my head that were slowly bringing me away from God. Thank God for church family and Jesus!! :DGood luck with all you have going on in your life this week, and I'll be praying for you.

  3. oh beth! thank goodness this ended in the arms of God and your husband! im sorry youve had a rough week, but the recognition to surrender brought some real sweetness. im reading streams in the desert too! lots of love for your weekend. you are going to be great in your hooping class.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King