We sat in the back of church yesterday, mainly because we arrived after the service started. As we sang, I considered the stories of various people my eyes fell upon – stories of pain, betrayal, abandonment . . . And I wrote the following in my journal:
I am struck by the fact that no matter how bad my life seems, how great my struggles and difficulties feel . . . someone is struggling, experiencing, walking through experiences far more difficult. Not to diminish my own pain or invalidate it, but simply a reminder that my story is not the only story going on out there. Sometimes our pain hangs like an anchor around our necks, keeping our head bowed with eyes focused on ourselves and our pain.
Lately God has been revealing his sovereignty to me. In little bits and pieces. A glimpse here and there. But continual redirection to the fact that He IS sovereign. At our Women’s Retreat (yes, more on that Jesus picture to come!), Jeanne talked about the concept that pain can drive us to be so introspective that we can’t see past ourselves.
I get caught in the trap of asking why: why me? why this? why this way? why now? . . . And all of those why questions are focused on yours truly. Me. I need to shift my focus from myself, remembering that God is revealing himself in every situation. All I have to do is look around to see what he is doing. He has orchestrated every moment in time to point us back to him. The opportunity to know him in a new way is right in front of me.
The phrase floating around in my mind is “Lift your head.” I can’t wear my pain like an albatross. Or a scarlet letter. I can’t let it bow my head like an anchor. My pain should drive me to look upward. And outward.
Lift your head. I’m trying to lift mine.
As always, would love to hear your thoughts about this or what God’s been teaching you personally.