How to Keep Loving at the End of Your Rope.

I have a confession. For the past three days I’ve been binge watching Netflix. The Gilmore Girls have been my quiet escape from any and everything.

I haven’t written anything. I’ve barely prayed. I’ve done the bare minimum with my devotional.

I’ve stayed up late and woke up late.

And I’ve let the rules of the house fall by the wayside in an effort to keep my own personal peace bubble.

I’ve found myself holding things that I thought I’d left behind long ago.

In the midst of everything, it’s the only way I felt I could survive.

Make myself small. Build up the walls. Shut myself down and everyone else out.

Each night as I’ve gotten into bed I fought the overwhelming feeling of disgust.

Why can’t I be productive? Why am I falling back into these same old patterns?

I promise myself the next day would be better and wrestle my mind to sleep.

But the next day comes and I don’t feel any better. I’m still tired. Uninspired. Anxious. Desperate.

So I spend what energy I have trying to force pieces into places they don’t fit all in an insane hope that I could feel some semblance of control.

I run dry mid-morning. And walk thirsty through the rest of my day. I think I’ll fight the temptation to hide when I get home. But a defeated sigh escapes me as I sink into the couch and search for something mind numbing.

I’ve failed in loving myself lately. And I’ve failed in loving others. I’ve failed in loving God.

Instead of trusting in Him with all these different messes, all these broken pieces I try to fix it all myself. And when I can’t I sweep them under the rug.

Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

How sweet those words are.

But what about when you’re too weary and burdened to come? What then?

When we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place what do we do?

In a time long before cell phones and Netflix. Long before over extended schedules and long work weeks. Before we felt like we were looking at the possibilities of the world through a chain link fence. He knew.

He knew and He provided. He provided the way and the encouragement.

If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? Matthew 18:12

We tend to think of astray as meaning a purposeful leaving. A rebellion.

But that’s not necessarily the case. It can mean lost. Adrift. Off course. Wandering. Vanished.

“Astray” can be intentional. But it can also be a unexpected.

And when we find ourselves lost, off course, adrift. When we find ourselves unable or even unwilling to find our ways out He comes to find us.

This time it was only three days, but there have been times in my life when I spent years “astray.”

But whether three days or thirty years, He comes. He finds us and He brings us back.

In all the huge hurricane size waves that have hit me lately I still heard Him calling. Urging me on. But when I couldn’t stand any longer and I couldn’t find my way to dry land, He came to find me. To save me.

We are but feeble humans. Weak but prideful. And we’ll find ourselves at the end of our ropes over and over again.

Sometimes we pay attention and realize that our steps are starting to falter. We can use our last bit of strength to go to Him and fall into His arms.

But sometimes we are unaware. We keep locking our knees and slipping and sliding trying to stay firm. And before we know it we have nowhere to go and no way to get there.

And in God’s good and great mercy, He comes. He comes.

Like Peter, one moment we’re sinking and the next we’re safe in the boat.

He loves us when we can’t love ourselves.

In hindsight I wish I would have spent the last few days going to bed earlier. Turning the TV off. And even though I didn’t have the energy to read His Word or pray, resting in His promises. In His goodness.

I didn’t though and I can’t change that. He’s given me back my footing even though I don’t deserve it. I can’t dwell on how I’ve failed. It’d be throwing His gift back in His face. I can only move forward. Remembering how He pulled me through.

Maybe you’re there too. Maybe you’re in that season of feeling overwhelmed and undernourished. Let me assure you. It’s OK. It really is.

Because His grace is sufficient. And His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

This season will end. You’ll find your footing. And when you do. Don’t look back. Just keep moving forward into the next thing.

He loves you. And the time you’ve spent lost hasn’t changed His plan for you.

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