The New Year begins. We make lists, set goals and resolve to be better at something. Exercise more, eat healthy, drink more water or spend more time with God, family and friends. These are all fantastic goals that can lead to positive results; but at the end of the day when items have not been checked off it can be tempting to wonder if the ‘new’ is possible. Self-doubt creeps in; “I didn’t do such and such so I never will.” Compounding days with these thoughts leads to a bigger pit until you finally ask, “Does the goal really mean that much?”
Momentum stops, shame creeps in and the tunnel vision of life becomes reality. It might not be the reality that you desire, but at some point, it feels comfortable and complacency calls you to a standstill. Focus narrows as your perspective turns to your mistakes and failures from previous years; the mud of life renders you immobile.
At the age of five I had to learn to walk again after a car accident left me paralyzed, deaf, and in a fourteen-day coma. I was in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy instead of kindergarten. The functional limitations became less as I became stronger. However, the muscles in the affected limb never caught up. The different size of my legs, the varied strength of each extremity, and the embarrassment I felt trying on bathing suits or jeans…it was all a part of me that I had learned to accept. I worked myself into tunnel vision.
Shortly after I entered my fourth decade of life, I started attending a CrossFit gym. I have spoken about the benefits of this in previous blogs but there is a new chapter to this journey. I have begun to feel muscles in my leg that was affected by paralysis that I have not felt before. This muscle group is especially noticeable when doing squats. The first time I felt them, I stopped, thinking there might be something wrong. It took me a few minutes, and a few more squats under my coach’s supervision to make sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
“It feels like I’m doing something wrong,” I said. The feeling of the weakened muscle becoming stronger was awkward and I felt crooked.
“You’re not,” he said, “you are finally doing it right. Just keep on and it will eventually feel right.”
Spiritual paralysis can feel similar. After developing negative habits and/or beliefs it can feel awkward when you submit to God and accept His invitation to salvation. Your posture may feel different as He calls you to awaken in Him; reassurance comes in consulting Him (the Ultimate Coach) through prayer and scripture. We are told in Lamentations 3:22-23 that His mercies “are new every morning.” So even if your “boxes” weren’t checked the day before, it is a new day, it is time to start fresh. Forget yesterday’s mistakes and giving them to God. His shoulders are bigger than yours.
Hebrews 4:16 states “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Not only are we encouraged that God’s mercies are new every morning, we also have been advised to approach Him with confidence. We can choose to be empowered by the truth of scripture or the lies in our head. Oh, dear one, may we hold tight to the former and abolish the latter; this is my prayer.