Last fall when I ran my first half marathon, I felt GREAT until mile 11. Something weird hit me at mile 11 that I had never experienced in any of my training. A wave of emotion came over me head to toe, and I suddenly became very nervous and fearful that I wouldn’t finish. My right leg started to slightly cramp, and I knew that if I stopped moving, I would never be able to start again. The crowd was getting thicker, I could hear the noise at the finish line and as the excitement swelled, so did my anxiety. It was the most unusual sensation I’ve ever experienced, and it took every ounce of physical and mental strength within me to finish the last 2 miles. I crossed the finish line and veered for the grass, not even finishing the congratulations line to get my medal (I later went back for it – I earned that puppy, yeah!)
That same feeling has overcome me in the past couple weeks in regards to the final stretch of our move back to Michigan. It’s been a year already, and we have three more months until our home is finished and we will once again box up all the things we hold dear and necessary for daily life, load it into yet another truck, and haul it 30 miles closer to the city. We will finally start our new life together in our new community, so much closer to church and work, and well, civilization in general. As I see the progress on the house and imagine the finish product, as I see our neighbors moving into their new homes, this same overwhelming emotion consumes me, and I find this irrational fear choking me. It’s taking every ounce of mental and spiritual energy I have to stay focused and calm. It’s like I can see the finish line, I can see the prize and I’m afraid it will be yanked away in front of my very eyes, as if the whole transition has just been a tease in order to let me down.
To top things off, at the same time this crazy, foundationless emotion hit, so did real-life junk. Big junk. Like bad taxes and car engines dying. Weird stuff that is usually pretty rare. Tonight at dinner, I confessed to my husband that I’m discouraged and distracted. If I focus on the numbers, all I can see is how terribly costly this past year has been for us. I mean hello – Florida doesn’t have any state income tax! And that’s just the start of what all I could list.
Then my dear, steady husband reminded me that it’s all a matter of perspective. I can focus on the costs, or I can focus on how God has provided and met each need. One reason of many why I love that man – he knows how to keep me on track – not an easy task! I pondered his words on the way home and had to concede that God’s economy isn’t made of dollars and cents. It’s made up of faith and love and how I respond to the people and events that happen in my life – including those that cost dollars and dollars and dollars.
So, I said outloud – “Satan, you’re not gonna get me. Not this time. I know your tricks. It aint gonna work this time.” And I started to thank God for His faithfulness over the years, and give my new house back to Him, and the cars, and the finances, and ask Him to help me be faithful. I’m sure I’ll go through the process of turning everything over again tomorrow. And the next day. Crazy thing about that homestretch emotion – it likes to tag along until the finish line, creating a big drag resistance. But I’ll keep on running. I know what and Who is waiting for me.
I found this great quote the other day:
“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes–many times–my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens–and it happens every day in some measure–I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.
That’s the way I live my life every day. I hope you are with me in that battle.”
– John Piper, Finally Alive, pages 165-166
I often think of those kinds of feelings as vertigo. Your brain knows where the floor is, but your eyes are telling you it’s tilting. It’s a great struggle to go with with you KNOW, and not what’s right in front of your eyes.
Thank you so much, Topher. That is a beautiful reminder! I appreciate it.