24-Hour Energy Drink

Anymore, if you were to go and attend any “feel good seminar” the word “self” would be utilized in so many different ways. Some of those words might be self-help, self-reliance, self-esteem, and self-aware. But what about selfish? I have come to realize more than ever that not asking for help, and/or prayer, has got to be a huge example of being selfish. I know that I grow and feel blessed when I am used to help someone else in need. Well, if that is the case, why deny someone the ability to bless my family and I in some manner. Instead of “Pay It Forward”, how about “Always Do.” (Oh wait, that’s bordering on Biblical.)

The other night, I had an experience that fully represented where I feel I am at right now in my life. At about 8:30 in the evening, I left the house for a bike ride. It was a night or two after Liz had come home from the hospital. Obviously, it had been weeks since I had really been able to exercise in any way and I was feeling the stress of not sweating and not exerting myself physically. So, I had gotten the kids tucked away in bed and made sure that Liz had everything she needed. I headed down the dark alley with my helmet on and the iPod blaring. I dropped down from the sidewalk to the path along the canal. At that time of night, there was no one else around. So I stood up  and started cranking the pedals as fast as I could. At one point, I felt really silly because I caught myself just smiling from ear-to-ear. (I am trying to be honest with this story…all of this I am about to tell you is so real. It goes one step above faith for me.) At that point, speeding through the spray of sprinklers and seeing the turtles dip their heads back into the water, I realized I was being carried. How foolish of me to think that I was out there alone! Who in the world am to think that a time such as this was granted by my own doing?! No, God had seized the moment for me and helped me to realize that no matter the fight, no matter the opponent (even if it is my inner soul that I wrestling with), God is and has to be my sustainer. But wait…He wasn’t through with the night’s lesson.

As I round a corner, spraying water up the middle of my shirt from the back tire, I see another path shooting off to the right. I lean in and without much breaking, I make the turn successfully. And immediately, panic hit. All the light posts were dark. There was no light on this path. “Ah well,” I thought to myself. “I have been here before. I know it fairly well.” (Seriously, I am arrogant.) My speed decreases significantly. I am unaware of my surroundings. I can see the dark path beneath me, but if there is a hole or obstacle in the way, I wouldn’t have time to react. Now, one lesson learned here was that I could just have easily turned around and gotten back on the path where there was plenty of light. OR, I could have even bailed on a few different occasions when this new path crossed a few streets; where there was light! But oh no, Donny D and his skinny-white-boy self had to prove he could do it. But to who?! Why?! My gosh, when am I going to learn?! Anyways…I start heading down hill, towards a tunnel. The entrance to the tunnel is black. As I approach, I can see that inside the tunnel is jet-black as well. Ah, but I do see the other side. In I go…

Have you ever looked into darkness…the unknown? Have you faced the fear of “what next?” As I went through the opening of the tunnel, my immediate world around me got dangerously small, dark, and for an instant, almost paralyzing. But out the other side I emerged. I didn’t even look back. I continued to pedal hard and wanted out. Now, I wish I could tell you that I had learned my lesson and the rest of the night was a breeze. But, for me, there are times when I accomplish something great and I have the gall to think that I was able to do it on my own. I start getting this false sense of bravado and wanting to take on the world. Well, God instantly gave me my chance to show off , to no one but myself, all this new found pride.

I top the next hill and began heading down the other side; another tunnel. “Hey, I got this. I made it through the last one just fine.” I actually had the nerve to build up some speed for this one. And remember, it is super dark. The only light around was coming from a few nearby homes. About four seconds from entering this next tunnel, something caught my eye. There is something in front of the entrance!! My heart double-timed it. I didn’t know what to do first, yell or hit the brakes. As the back tire slid across the wet brick path, I realize the thing keeping me from going through the tunnel was yellow caution tape…and a pile of bricks. As I walked my bike up the steep embankment, I could almost sense God standing at the top with His arms folded across His chest and He has a smirk on face. “Oh silly Donny. I love you, but sometimes you drive me crazy with how you think you have it alllll under control. Ready to let me drive for a while?”

Liz has been home now for more than a week and half. The recovery is slow. The rest is constant. The pain is always present. And she continues to be the strongest woman I know. She doesn’t complain. She doesn’t yell at God. And Liz doesn’t even argue with the doctoral plan of rest. This is a season of rest and recovery for Liz. My attitude is not always right about God’s timing. And sadly enough, my reason for wanting her better isn’t always what it should be. (Yes, yes…another lesson learned.) Liz is ready to get back into the swing of things with the kids and the house. So many things would be so much easier if I could learn her patience, understanding, and self-control. Too often, I allow the stresses of this life to overwhelm me. Sometimes trying just isn’t good enough. Faith in a far greater plan than I can see…that’s where I am trying to get to. From right here…to way over there.

I cried the other night, while talking to my dad. The only words I could muster into the phone were “I’m tired, dad. I’m just so tired.” There is a sign hanging from the ceiling at work that reads “Focus on the things that matter.” I guess the next question is, “What matters?” Instead of telling God what matters to me and showing Him the BCS of my life, I need to shut-up and let Him lead me through the focusing and through the mattering. God always seems to be a bigger deal than I even imagine.

I am done after this thought. Medically-speaking, most of my family should not be alive tonight. Logically-speaking, my life doesn’t make much sense. Emotionally-speaking, there is not a drug combination out there to fix the daily stress. But, Godly-speaking, it all fits. When everything appears to be broken around me, He is standing at the top of the hill with His own bike…and it has pegs on the back tire. I am renewed by the prayers of many. I am strengthened by the prayers of many. I have got to start focusing on His apparent blessings in my life rather than trying to play the “I Never” game with God.

Father, I don’t say it often enough…”I love you, tonight.”

Washed By The Water

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One Response to “24-Hour Energy Drink”

  1. Read Genesis 32:22-32 a few times over, prayerfully. Of course you have to know the story of Jacob’s life and the context to even begin to get very much of what is there, out of it. You really have to “wrestle” with this passage. But it relates.

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