Sometimes a song sings through a season of life. It resonates with our circumstances and situations, echoing our emotions, drawing us into a dance of hope or fear or pain or distress, daring us to feel all the feels we sometimes push down or push away. And as we enter into the song, the lyrics sing through us, over us, with us, taking us from where we are to where we want to be.
One such song has been swimming around my head and heart of late. It’s a simple one, by Will Reagan and United Pursuit called “Nothing I hold onto”. I play it (very!) loudly and on loop while I wash the dishes or tidy up my toddler’s messes, drowning out the noise of my everyday with someone else’s sound and story.
And as the music ebbs and flows and swells and sings and stills my soul, with the same simple lines repeated over and over and over, I find myself settling into a simple truth:
I am in the middle of a marathon.
Not a sprint. Not for me the quick respite that follows a flailing burst of limbs and legs spinning at full pelt. No, I have opted for the longer, narrow road, and to endure to the end. To run a race that can feel all consuming, all encompassing, and overwhelming.
The finish line eludes me, the mundane envelopes me in a groundhog day cycle of same-ness. I wake, serve, learn, and love. I teach, clothe, wash and feed my tribe. I plan, prepare, execute, fail, try again. And the next day I wake up to it all again.
I have set my sights on high goals, tall orders, heavenly things. I have big plans for my little people. I want them to learn to love, to love to learn, and to lean into God. And these things don’t come easily. There are no quick fixes, no short cuts. Just lots of little and often, small investments and tiny drops that I hope will merge into bigger movements, and significant steps in the right, eternal direction.
My heart grows weary sometimes, my vision blurs. My feelings scream – I cannot do this. I am not enough.
In those moments I have to remind myself – I am all I need to be for all I need to do right now. I cannot do it all, but I know the One who can, and who carries me through.
And I ask myself, in my moments of overwhelm, as the lyrics of the song strain through my own concerns and questions, who will I lean the whole entirety of my being on – myself, or God?
I am little.
But my God is big.
Bigger than my pile of laundry, the never ending list of things that taunt me in their incompletion, my unrealised expectations, my disappointments when things do not go to plan.God has not asked me to be perfect. He requires my faithfulness. My choosing to show up and give it my all in ways big and small, in the hope that all of my 1% choices will snowball into a wonderful symphony for His glory.
My God is faithful. He remains my ever present help in times of trouble. He leads. Will I follow? Sometimes all I want to do is hide. Hide in my phone, TV, books, beauty in nature, in other people’s pictures and stories, the nonsense and irrelevance of the noise my screens provide. But what good will come of hiding in anything other than the shadow of His wings?
My God is honest. He never promised me a rose garden. He did promise me he would be with me, always, unto the ends of the earth. And that I have every resource in Christ Jesus to accomplish every task he has assigned me.
My God is here. Sometimes I forget when the troubles get too loud, fears and failures drowning out the still, calm voice of my beloved. “Quiet”, He speaks. “Storms, be still”.
My God has big shoulders. Come to me, He says, all who are weary and heavy laden. And I will give you rest. Rest – that elusive state of peaceful progress. That place where I do my bit and trust God to turn my fish and loves into a miracle of abundance. Rest – that place that sits comfortably between healthy hard work and regular, slow sabbaths. Sometimes I think rest is a cruel word, one that taunts me in it’s elusiveness as the swirling of my everyday demands and duties dance around me. But the question is not whether rest is available. It is whether I will be brave enough to slow down and take hold of it.
For Christ came not to relieve me of my troubles, but to run the race with me, that I might endure faithfully to the end. It is not his job to magic the mundane away. For in the mundane, monumental lessons can be learned. About character and integrity. About loving and being loved, faithfullness and being faithful, perserverance and pressing in when every once of you feels sqeezed on every side.
And so I run. Onwards and upwards, one step at a time.
And so I lean. Not on my own capacity to comprehend, but on the One who sees all and comprehends all, and holds all in the palm of his hand.
I run. I breathe. I keep going.
Because sometimes keeping on keeping on and on is all I can do.
This is my worship. My leaning into Truth Himself in the face of all the unseens and unknowns. And trusting that all will be well, one step at a time.
I lean not on my own understanding. My life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven. I give it all to you God, trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me.Will Reagan and United Pursuit.