Top to Bottom, Bottom to Top

I originally wrote this as a devo for the Creative Arts Team at my church, and I’m so excited to share an updated version of it with you. I hope it encourages you just as much as it encouraged me to write it. Enjoy!

This isn’t what I had planned for devo today but I’ve learned to listen when God speaks and move according to His Words. These words are for someone in this room (now, reading this blog). So, if it’s you, He’s calling you out. It’s your choice whether or not to hear and respond.

My sister text me on a Friday night asking if she could call me. We don’t talk often so when I saw her name and picture popup, I knew one of two things – something was wrong or she needed to vent. More than likely, the latter since she didn’t call with news of an emergency. You see, although she is a licensed clinical counselor and knows the ins snd outs of destressing from her day, sometimes it’s hard to remove your emotions from the moment, but she knows she can count on me to add a Spiritual perspective. While she can’t share details of her clients, we can talk about general events and how they impact everyone. What I know about her job is that her office sees a lot of substance abuse cases. My sister has a special compassion for veterans, so I assume a lot of her clients are veterans. When I called her that night, she told me she had just finished a session and was walking the client out when he/she became verbally abusive toward another client. The argument was over missing airpods. My cool, calm, collected sister, in the confidence of our phone call, was losing her mind over this verbal assault by her client. She was too close to the situation and couldn’t see why a material possession could cause so much hate and drama. I told her the airpods may have been the trigger, but they weren’t the cause of what happened. The outburst was a symptom of what’s going on much deeper. My thoughts, and our conversation, immediately shifted from the behavior being unnecessary to how a tidal wave can be triggered by an underwater volcano. This wave came from a deeper pit. A pit, I’m afraid, we all know fairly well. 

Truth is, this pit looks different for everyone. Likewise, everyone’s last straw looks different. For the drug addict, it might look like another empty syringe. For the abandoned kid, it might look like a failed adoption or abusive foster parents. It could be a miscarriage after years of infertility, a slap across the face after decades of verbal abuse, a divorce after your spouse’s 3rd infidelity, a runaway teenager that you’ve been struggling to discipline and teach respect, an unexpected pregnancy after a one night stand, grieving another loss after already suffering through so many, PTSD flashbacks from caring for a loved one during their last moments on earth, while doing the same for another loved one, knowing you’ll eventually lose them too. Is it getting personal? God IS personal. He sees you on an individual level.

Whatever it looks like for you, the pits are always filled with hopelessness. It’s a never-ending darkness above you that screams “You’ll never get out. You’re too far gone.”

I’ve been there and I know you have too. Every season of life has ruts and divets. Some deeper than others. Sometimes it feels like the pit gets deeper and deeper with each passing season. But the thing we so easily forget is that Jesus is always with us, He’s there at the ledge, He’s there on your way down and He’s there at the bottom with you. He doesn’t stay at the top to lower a bucket and yell, “hop in.” He doesn’t drop a ladder and tell us to climb out on our own. No, He climbs down through the mud and muck to be with us at the bottom!

But  while He will bring light to the darkness, He won’t force us to open our eyes. We have to make that movement on our own. He won’t stand in front of you and physically force your eyes open. I mean, He’s God so He could, but that’s the beauty of free will. We have to want to open our eyes to His Light. Getting out of the pit of despair requires movement from us too. It takes courage, sacrifice and determination on OUR part. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is always there, but WE have to make a move toward Him. He won’t force you but He will encourage you every step of the way. He says, “Lets go! Grab a fistful of dirt, dig your heals in and let’s climb out TOGETHER.” He never leaves our side. He’s with us, every step, every inch, all the way out. Do you hear Him? “Hold on. Don’t give up. You’re almost there. Keep giving it your very best. HOLD ON! DONT GIVE UP! YOU’RE ALMOST THERE! KEEP GIVING IT YOUR VERY, VERY BEST!

Please take a couple minutes to watch this video from Facing the Giants. It will put the rest of this message in perspective. Be sure to come back because God’s not done speaking to you.

In this video, I imagine Jesus as the coach and me as the player. But then, I have to ask, if Jesus is like this coach, providing encouragement with every step, saying, “don’t quit on me” then why aren’t we like that with others? After we conquer a pit of dispair, we should share what we learned with others. Isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do? So, I have to ask, is your best effort a side hug and I’ll be praying for you? No! Is it saying “how’s it going” as you quickly pass? No! We should be cheering just like the video. Giving our very best! When we give our very best effort, He’ll give His and most of the time, that means by using us. We should be asking the hard questions, the ones we may already know the answer to but someone needs to verbalize for their eyes to be opened. Sometimes we have to be up close and personal with people. Give it you’re very best!  If it means getting down on the ground, in the ruts with people. Give them your very best! Jesus did the same for you.

Because when you believe Jesus works through you, you can speak in the Spirit. When you receive His Words, you can and should share them. And guess what! The deeper your pit, the higher the victory! When Jesus heals wounds and breaks chains, it’s done, finished. We, then have the authority to say, “Jesus declared my victory over you! There’s no prisoner here!” Have you been encouraging others to claim the same authority or just letting them slip back into their comfortable darkness?

I challenge you to venture into the darkness so others can see just how bright the Light within you shines. Give it your very best!

Walking By Faith & Finding The Blessings, ❤️ Renee

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