Push forward; engage your core; exhale & break the surface; inhale; put your head down; push forward...
In the silence created by my earplugs, I try to use the time spent slicing through the water talking to God; listening for the still & small. These days, I try to get a handle on my wrung out emotions.
Every time I look in the mirror, I find myself face to face with insecurity and the downward spiral of the thoughts that fuel it. There are other triggers...tiredness, spikes in progesterone, circumstantial events...but the end result is the same: I am pressed under a weight of doubt, fear, hurt, bitterness.
Kick off; glide forward; exhale; stroke; breathe; engage your core; push forward.
There is Truth. There are Words. There is a Command. And it's so easy to say them and it's cold comfort, sometimes when they don't pierce through the callous parts of my heart; those parts made callous by doubt, fear, hurt, & bitterness unchecked.
Exhale; face up; breathe in; stroke...
Those thoughts that unsteady me--those thoughts that destroy--they rip at the fabric of my identity; the part that I haven't brought under His authority. The prince of the power of the air, he whispers seductive lies into my ear. And I trade the Truth of who I really am for falsehoods. My imagination, made weak by that unbalanced exchange, is all too willing to create garish, gratuitous scenarios.
And grossly, like some dead thing, I crave these, the lies & the pictures; they intoxicate me; make me feel powerful and utterly vulnerable all at once. They consume my attention and my ability to focus and it is, in the moment of consumption, a deadly sweet indulgence. But in their wake, they carve deep paths of chaotic damage. I feel as Paul did; he wasn't merely playing with words when he called himself a wretched man.
Reach; push forward; breath; engage your core...
I am learning what it means to take my thoughts captive; to put on the full armor of God; to pray without ceasing; to rebuke. These are my battle tools. And I feel His Spirit moving to change me. And I get the impression that the Deceiver is trying to lay waste to His efforts. Pressing on is crucial. I must forgive the wrong at the root of all this ugliness. And I must do it again and again and again. Not in my power but in His. Daily, if necessary. It must be the foundation of my battle because without it, I will know no peace.
Face down, exhale; face up, inhale...
Is it too much to call this a cross I bear? Or is it more accurate to call this a thorn in my side? In either circumstance, His power is made perfect in my weakness. And I can bear it only if He will lavish me with his strength, His grace, His peace.
Engage your core...who is at my core? Is it not the Prince of Peace? Face down, exhale; face up, inhale...shouldn't new thoughts and a new way begin with me face down, exhaling myself? And then facing up, inhaling more of Him? Am I not to be reaching always for His way, His guidance? Should I not be breathing His Word, inhaling & exhaling His promises as I walk through the day-to-day in my life? Is it so easy to forget who I am? Note to self: I am HIS. I am loved. I am chosen. All the rest? Well, all the rest is deception.
In the end, the hard work makes us stronger. The discomfort & irritation of pressing on grows muscles...physical and spiritual. Denying ourselves the indulgence of self-medication and learning to feast on proper means of coping, furthers our efforts and allows those muscles to flourish.
And it is only because of who Christ is and what He has done and what He offers us that these things become possible.
And this is what I think on as I move forward in the weightlessness of the water. This is what I pray about. And I will keep on. Greater things have yet to come and greater things have still to be done...