I thought the whole “reframing” process was great . . . until I slammed into one of life’s unexpected, monumental mountains of hardship and lost all footing.
Shortly before launching the Reframing Ministries Department of Insight for Living Ministries, I spoke to a group on how to “reframe” their tough circumstances. I felt like a savvy little tour guide outlining the process, pleading for them to keep plodding up and through their mountain-sized suffering. I wanted them to know that the view is priceless from the mountaintop.
Hope shows up when we share our struggles and stories and find there is a way to survive . . . and even thrive. And surviving and thriving starts with Scripture. The Bible is packed with examples of people who plodded through some monumental challenges: Abraham trekking up that mountain with his son; Moses leading a company of complainers; Joshua facing the giants; David enduring years of traversing rugged roads while being hunted down by a madman. Let’s not ever forget that horrid hill Jesus climbed, lugging thick, splintered lumber across his bloody, bone-baring back.
These narratives provide us with some comfort because in their stories we are able to see past the rugged mountain of trials, around the bend to the spectacular vistas of God’s reward, vindication, and rescue. I’ve often thought . . .
Whew, I can’t begin to imagine . . . but how amazing is God!
WOW, look how God worked that out . . . who would have guessed!
From the cross to the grave, the grave to the sky, He is SO GOOD!
Isn’t it easy to praise God when we can see around the bend? Isn’t it easy to say, “God is SO GOOD” . . . until it’s our turn to plod through the unexpected and unimaginable . . . when we can’t see one step ahead, much less when the mountain top is cloaked with dark, threatening clouds.
Releasing to Reframe
Candidly, the most rugged journey I ever walk is from my head to my heart. That six inches or so feels more like a million miles of dusty, craggy, treacherous road. Just a few days after speaking on how to scale life’s “mountains,” I was forced to face a struggle so hard, so big, so bewildering, so exhausting that reframing it seemed impossible. I’m still in the process, and my soul is stinging. I want so badly to be in control rather than entrusting into God’s care that which He has called me to release.
I’m plodding along too. I get how terrifying and maddening life can be.
On one of my lowest days, a friend and fellow plodder sent me an e-mail. It read:
This is what the Lord says:
I will go before you [Colleen], and level the mountains. I will smash down gates of bronze [so you can be freed] and cut through bars of iron [of captivity]. And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—secret riches. I will do this so YOU MAY KNOW that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name. (Isaiah 45:2–3, emphasis added)
“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom;
he snapped their chains. (Psalm 107:13–14)
But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you! (2 Chronicles 20:17)
The rawest part of learning to reframe our lives is choosing to release our lives completely into the hands of God.
- To release, we must:
- Completely and thoroughly submit our human will to the Lord, believing what God has allowed leads to greater good than we can imagine
- Examine our souls exhaustively and honestly
- Let go of the greatest fears, deepest sorrows, and driving motivations we’ve constructed and used for self-protection
- Allow God to be our refuge, strength, and defense
- Learn to hear God’s voice and follow Him regardless
- Become awake and aware of our focus
- Find those nuggets—those “treasures in the dark”—which provide hope and peace as we plod along
Let Me Hear from You
Wherever you are today, I want you to know I’m right with you. I share in your doubts, your fears, your frustrations, your pain. I understand how hard it can be when you’re facing a mountainous challenge and you’ve tried everything you know, followed every bit of advice, prayed hard and long, and been left feeling empty. I get it.
Now that I’ve shared where I am plodding along, why don’t we do this together?
Where are you struggling right now? What part of letting go is hardest? Do you believe God loves you and will protect you? Are you willing to release your heart to God’s care? Let’s talk things over in the days ahead.
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