Have you ever reached your breaking point? This is where you cry out to God, begging for the turbulence in your life to stop. Maybe you plead with God, “No more! I can’t handle this; I’m about to sink!”
In boxing, when a coach sees his fighter getting pummeled in the ring, he will throw in a towel to signal, “Stop the fight!” Have you ever wanted to “throw in the towel” to stop something that felt too big, too loud, or too much? If so, you are not alone. All of us can relate to the feeling that we cannot handle one more crisis, one more problem or one more issue. I recently felt like a grape in a winepress; perhaps you can relate.
The past few months have been a whirlwind. From ongoing back problems to visits to the ER with bronchitis and pneumonia that led to nearly 3 weeks in bed, then a 10-day trip to South Korea while recovering, then a short return home just in time to pack, load and move from our home after 18 months of trying to sell our house. Just before finalizing the deal on a house we liked in another state, it was discovered the house had severe water issues that the home inspector missed, and this could have easily cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.
Thankfully, we quickly turned our sights to another house, then closed just before our 5-day THRIVE Training started in Holland, Michigan. With so much going on, it didn’t help that I was averaging 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night from the effects of sickness, back pain and jet lag. Whew. There is more, but I’m tired just thinking about this!
In the midst of the ups and downs, there is much to be thankful for, even more to celebrate. First, I’m still alive! Second, leaders and communities in South Korea are embracing the 19 skills! Third, we sold our house! Fourth, we found a new home! Fifth, THRIVE Training was a spectacular success with nearly 150 people learning new skills! Sixth, I’m now enjoying more sleep. There is more I could share, but here is what I really want you to know.
Once the dust began to settle, I felt a quiet whisper one morning from Immanuel, “Chris, you were supposed to give up.” Confused, a series of questions flew through my mind. “What? Give up? Who? Why? Me? Give what up?”
After a few moments using the Simple Quiet skill to catch my breath, I then sensed some clarity to this thought by practicing Skill 13, See What God Sees. “You were supposed to give up serving in ministry. The enemy intended for you to give up and walk away.”
Wow. This was a sobering thought to consider. It was here I realized the gravity of the past few months. What the enemy intended for evil, God meant for good
In the past, my response to pain and problems that I couldn’t fix was to just walk away. Not this time. In fact, the thought of giving up never crossed my mind.
Praise be to God that I learned new skills to rest, stay thankful, be resilient in the face of turmoil, return to joy, stay my relational self, see some of what God sees, take a breather, persevere with solutions for pain, and suffer well by staying relationally connected with my people. This doesn’t mean I handled my distress perfectly, but it does mean I am better equipped with relational skills to navigate rocky terrain.
I have friends going through some pretty severe trials right now. Some of you are facing scary stuff as well. My prayer for each one of us is that we will pursue and find God’s peace in the midst of our distress.
I invite you to join me today and embrace the skills that make relationships work. Consider attending a THRIVE Training event. Learn more about relational skills with my book Transforming Fellowship and, let’s change the world together, one relationship at a time.
Like Job, may we endure and declare, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
This is a reference to Genesis 50:20 with Joseph talking to his brothers using Godsight.