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Always a Way to Start Again

Getting back to moving forward

 

Ever found yourself off the paved road and your tires stuck in the mud? Having lived most of my life in the southeastern states where rain and humidity prevail, along with the gnats and mosquitoes, I am no stranger to hitting some mud holes. The grass is green and you are cruising along. Swoosh! The ground goes soft and the red-clay of North Georgia envelopes the Goodyears. Pressing with all your might onto the gas pedal will do no more than sling mud behind you and onto the poor, sweet soul that was willing to get out and "give 'er a push". Digging in deeper to this new foe and getting no where fast...or slow. Nowhere but more stuck.



Not only am I familiar with getting stuck in the mud when driving in the South, I am also all too familiar with being on the smooth road of faith and trusting in God, letting Him be my guide then...SWOOSH! Going nowhere. Stuck in sin, shame, guilt, and losing faith by the second. Digging in deeper and deeper into what has me stuck.


Is your spiritual journey in a muddy rut?


The numbers are staggering how many people, once the pandemic's locks were unhinged from our places of worship and fellowship chose to not return to their roles as ministry participants, church volunteers, or even return to the pews as spectators. Many became quite cozy in front of the screens in their pajamas and slippers. Roll out of bed, grab some coffee and turn on the livestream message. I will admit I caught myself still cooking up breakfast or folding a load of laundry while the service began, vowing I would get still and be ready to take notes as soon as the preacher was on stage. I am not a statistician (I can barely pronounce the word) but a quick Google search or a visit to your familiar church will give evidence enough. Attendance is down everywhere.


Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25


Rachael Branson of Abundant Life describes three dangers of not assembling:

  1. Discouragement, doubt, and depression set in. (Ref. Ecc. 4:9-12)

  2. Purposes are missed. (Ref. Esther 4:14)

  3. Power of prayer is hindered. (Ref. Acts 1:13-14)

Quite possibly, the biggest reason we are not to forsake assembling is this is God’s instruction for divine protection.

First Peter 5:8 reminds us to be vigilant because the adversary walks about like a lion, seeking to devour. What does a lion do when he is seeking someone to devour? He looks for the prey in isolation. The Word gives us a warning—do not forsake assembling because the enemy seeks to devour those who are in isolation.


How to get out of the rut?

While "assembling" with my husband in front of the screen in my yoga pants and t-shirt, coffee and breakfast in hand, I indeed lost the importance of worship and praise. I checked the box that I got my preaching in for the day and could now get to doing some chores. Depression set-in. I stopped writing, which was my "call to purpose". I wasn't meeting with other believers or encouraging them. I fell under attack.


So, what does any of this have to do with starting over or getting out of a muddy rut? Ever tried to admit defeat, get up, knocking the dirt off your knees and elbows, and limping to wherever you were headed in the first place? Ever had to get unstuck from the mud, whether walking ankle deep into this enveloping enemy or driving rim-deep in?

  1. Not by your will, but by God's will: Stop trying to will the car to move forward in the same way. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the very definition of insanity. What makes you or I think we can fight depression or spiritual attacks on our own? The enemy does! Stop listening to his sinking lies and turn to the Truth.

  2. You were not created to walk alone: Phone a friend - or roadside assistance. You need someone who has the ability and the wisdom in your particular situation. Not ready to be in a crowd? Get with a small group of believers and begin sharing your story. You will be amazed how many people have had the same struggles. They don't always wear the smiles you see on Facebook.

  3. Lean on a firm foundation: Get something solid to hold onto. Putting a board or other firm object under the tire can give the traction needed to propel the car forward. Jesus is the cornerstone to our faith! Take shelter in the enemy's lies no more!

therefore thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,

a stone, a tested stone,

a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:

‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’

And I will make justice the line,

and righteousness the plumb line;

and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,

and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”

Isaiah 28:16-17, ESV

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Watch for my first book, Broken and Blessed, coming in 2023!

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