Hi there! If you missed a week or two, no worries! I extended an invitation a few weeks ago to join me in walking through Proverbs. Jump in ANY time. You can read the chapter we’re looking at before reading on (optional but definitely good for you if you can swing it!) I also recommend asking a friend to join you on the journey. (Click this link to take you to the introduction to this series if you want to know more.)
When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you… (Prov. 2:10-11)
You know one thing that can really be hard about running the race of faith?
It’s definitely not a sprint.
And Jesus made this one promise that I think of often: “It’s impossible that no offenses will come.”
Gosh, that’s a tough part about being human. I recently experienced one of those internal wrestling matches with being offended. I asked for help with an upcoming event, and received an immediate “Yes! I can help!” followed by a different response a couple of days later, when something better came up.
I wanted to say, “Oh man, I’m so disappointed! Are you sure you can’t keep your word?”
But I sensed that quiet, gentle, you-have-to-calm-down-to-hear-it voice saying, “Trust Me.”
I knew God to be an Author and an Orchestrator, and I trusted everything was going to be okay. (And it ended up working out for my good!!)
That was a tiny little disappointment in the grand scheme of things, but the big truth is, life is going to happen. It’s a funny thing — we never say anyone gives offense, we just say we take it. Surely we can choose not to take it, right?
And sometimes, let’s just go ahead and put this truth out there, too — we are going to be the offender.
The question isn’t if — rather when — and more importantly, what are we going to do on the other side?
Do me a favor and picture yourself swimming your race of faith for Jesus. Now, picture yourself in one of those super cool Olympic swimsuits that’s incredibly well designed to be efficient like sharkskin and streamlined and produce almost zero drag. You jump off the starting blocks and dive in and you’re slicing through the water like a sharp knife in soft butter.
Suddenly, something happens. Maybe a mistake you made you can’t shake the shame of. A mistake someone else made you can’t shake the hurt of.
And you suddenly discover something is tied to that hydrodynamic swimsuit of yours. Maybe it’s just a thin little slip, a small scarf. Maybe it’s thick like a strip cut from a bath towel, and there it is, tied right at your shoulder, creating a bunch of what swimmers call “drag” and man… it is a drag.
Sure you can keep swimming, but this is going to slow you down. And if you keep picking up thick slices of bath towel as you go? It might get so tough you decide to stop swimming altogether.
Where do we go to figure out what is weighing us down? It’d be great if you could hop out of the pool, look in a mirror, see what was hanging off your suit, and stand there and untie one thing after the other, right?
Well I’ve got some good news. This Word we’re reading through? It’s like a mirror for your soul.
If you put on your literary hat while reading Proverbs 2, you’ll notice words like Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, and Discretion are personified. The Message version really brings it out if you want to see it clearly. The Word is explaining this principle: Lady Wisdom and her posse, like people, can be your BFFs. They can come alongside you and point things out that you wouldn’t see otherwise. They can whisper to your soul, help you avoid the dangers and snares of bad choices and bad relationships.
The more you read the Word, the more you can hear their voices. Dig in deep, and they’ll show you good things, help you ask hard questions. Like these:
Jesus, are there things in my life that are dragging me down?
Is there something I need to let go of so that I can move forward with freedom?
Is there a slice of bath towel I need to untie to keep swimming?
Sometimes these questions can bring up simple moments from weeks ago, complex and deep hurts from years ago, or habits that are taking you places you don’t want to go. (We’ll talk more on that later.) Either way, I highly recommend asking those questions, and turning to that friend that you are turning to to talk most honestly — and/or possibly even looking for the guidance of a trusted Pastor or Christian Counselor if complex and deep hurts start coming to the surface and you need help moving forward.
This is One Step Deeper for this week: Ask God for the wisdom to see what past hurts or experiences might be dragging you down, and for the wisdom to figure out how to let God untie that drag so you can move forward. Remember that verse I started out with? When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul? Discretion will preserve you and understanding will keep you.
Starting the journey of dealing with past hurts can be so daunting you’d rather just keep limping along — but when you find that understanding that helps put the past into perspective and breathes fresh hope into your future? It’s like the pain of getting a big splinter removed from your foot — yes, it will hurt at first, but on the other side?
What blessed relief.
Go Deeper this week, friends!
Extra Credit: Can you write down a thought for your soul today? Maybe a specific verse from Proverbs 2 you’d like to mull over for a while? Ask Jesus if you’ve got drag on your swimsuit and pray for His help to move forward. Jump onto the With Love, From Here Facebook Page if you’d like to respond to this post, share something God has said, or even ask for help finding counsel… Let’s run the race together, friends!
I hope you’re encouraged today, friend.
If so, I’d love to welcome you to subscribe here for a weekly dose of encouragement.