Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:28-31
Here’s a question to ponder for today: What would it look like if we held ourselves to a higher standard while also having respect, compassion, and understanding for where we are right now? In her book See Before You Die: Costa Rica, author J.E. Leigh writes:
“We—all of us—want to feel special. We want to feel the glory that shines on us when we reach beyond our boundaries to grab at something greater, to live a heroic life, if only for a day or a week or a moment. This simple yearning is in us all, hardly recognizable, often only the merest hint that there is something more to us. This is why we seek out new places…we want to remember a somewhere that gave us the space to expand ourselves, to become a little more of who we truly are.”
Before we can achieve our true potential, we must recognize where we are now. We have to accept ourselves as we are before we can move forward. We might not like who we are or what we are going through, but we must accept ourselves before we can make the changes to improve ourselves and achieve the standard that we hold ourselves to. If we have fallen short of that standard, then we must realize why and what we can do about it. God can help us with that. God will provide the strength to persevere.
As we wait on God to give us strength, we should remember the words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” God strengthens us during times of waiting. Sometimes that strength comes from the trials we face in life. Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to a high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle soars above it. The eagle does not escape the storm; it simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.
When the storms of life hit us, we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God. The storms do not have to overcome us; God will strengthen us during our time of waiting. His power will lift us up above the dark clouds so we can ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure, and disappointment into our lives. It is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them. Things don’t always go the way we expect them to, but God is there to help us through those times.
The American author Joseph Campbell wrote, “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Campbell is known for the 1988 PBS documentary Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, which was originally broadcast as six one-hour conversations between Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. Campbell’s The Power of Myth is a book based on the documentary. In that book, Campbell quotes from the 1922 Sinclair Lewis novel Babbitt:
Campbell: Have you ever read Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt?
Moyers: Not in a long time.
Campbell: Remember the last line? “I’ve never done a thing I wanted to do in all my life.” That’s the man who never followed his bliss.
We need to learn to follow our bliss. Hopefully, that bliss includes trusting in God, because trusting in God can put our minds at ease. We can’t let fear of the unknown paralyze us. In her famous diary, the Holocaust victim Anne Frank wrote, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” (A friend of mine recently sent me that quote, and I think it is a wonderful piece of inspiration.)
We must rid ourselves of fear and loneliness because God is always with us. If we are unhappy, we need to do something about that unhappiness. Twice in the last few weeks, someone has commented on this blog that all I do is complain. This blog is very therapeutic for me because it helps me get things off my mind that are bothering me. Maybe that is complaining, but I also hope that if someone else is going through the same issues, then they know that they are not alone. I encourage anyone who is facing tough times and need someone to tell about it, to tell a friend or loved one. If you do not have someone to tell, email me (email@example.com). If I can help, I will. A sympathetic ear is sometimes all we need. When my mind is racing over a problem, it often helps to write about it or (something I am terrible at) talk about it. Once I get it on “paper” or tell someone, it doesn’t seem as daunting. I think that is why many people write diaries. Instead of keeping a diary, I write a blog. I am grateful for all those who follow me on this journey called life. I am also grateful to God for giving me the perseverance to continue going day after day, especially during those times when the weight on my shoulders seems too heavy, and I just want to withdraw from everything. Therefore, I am working on respecting, having compassion, and understanding for where I am in this life so that I can move forward to achieve standards that I have set for myself.