DayBreaks for 1/26/16: Hitting the Wall
From our Sunday worship bulletin:
“It has happened in my life. Maybe it has happened in yours. I have had relationships in which I have had a struggle. I have had relationships that are hard. It does not matter if it was “me” or “them” in terms of the cause of the struggle or the “hardness”. I can say that because we are human, “struggle” can happen in a variety of ways. But if I am honest, it has mostly been me. And sometimes when struggle has come, by me or them, I have “hit a wall” and think I cannot go on. I want to walk away. Ugh.
“So, I need help. The reminder of “help” recently arrived when my good friend (name omitted for privacy) sent this to me from Mike Mason’s book, Practicing the Presence of People:
“Marathon runners speak of ‘hitting the wall.’ Often encountered around the twenty mile mark, the wall is a phase of excruciating pain during which the runner feels sorely tempted to give up. By pushing through the wall, runners learn to expand their pain threshold and so overcome all obstacles. They choose their pain in the form of running, but the effect of making hard choices in this discipline carries over into other areas. ‘Everything I know about life,’ observed one marathoner, ‘I learned at the wall.’ Sooner or later every human relationship comes to the wall. To choose the pain of involvement with others, rather than merely enduring it, is empowering. To choose the difficult people in one’s life is the beginning of love.”
“As I reflected on the quote, I realized that deep down, I really do want to love. That is the goal. In order to do that, I need to choose the pain of involvement with others and that is a good thing. Note that Mason says the pain of involvement, rather than enduring. Enduring people is like détente. It is like tolerance. It smells like indifference. On the other hand the pain of involvement, through the gospel, is empowering. Bringing the gospel to bear with people at the wall is where we learn to love.
“That is what Jesus did and does. He came to make relationship with us through excruciating pain. He came by choice. Would you take an inventory today and highlight relationships that you have that are a struggle? Then would you decide to go on a journey to the wall? As you do, ask yourself, ‘Do I want to love?’ and commit, by His power to do so.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, see what God will do. I believe He can and will do a great work because He went through the pain of involvement for the sake of relationship with you.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Help us to bear the pain of involvement, even with those we don’t like, we don’t think will respond with kindness, who might even seek our harm…because You went to the wall for relationship with us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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