Years ago when I was a single mom with a twenty year old home – my garbage disposal broke. I didn’t have a lot of extra money so I made my way to Home Depot and spoke to a couple of people who worked there about how to install it myself. My kids were with their father for the weekend and so I decided to tackle this project with all the gusto I could muster. I painstakingly followed all the instructions. Mentally, I HAD THIS. Physically though I was challenged. My strength was not quite up to the task. A critical point came when I lay under my sink with the unit above my chest. I had to attach it properly to a ring and then twist it just-so that it would stay attached. Each time I tried I missed the mark. My arms were exhausted. I let out groans and grunts and a possible cuss word here and there. I popped out from under the sink and paced the floor wondering if this was BEYOND ME. What made me think I could do this? Discouragement started to set in. Thoughts raced through my head about why I was failing and how I should give up. My mental breakdown was attributed to the reality that my physical being was inept to the task. I was merely acknowledging REALITY. (stick with me on this because all of this will be relevant to this post.) But…
Instead of giving up I decided to try one more time. Think of a tennis player grunt as they hit the ball as hard as they can. I tried one more time with all my strength and it worked. I got it on the ring! I DID IT. But doing it took ALL my strength and all my mental fortitude and I had to be determined. It was NOT EASY.
What does using all your strength look like? How hard is it really? I think many of us living in America today are too soft. We expect things to be easy. We take the easy route. Don’t we? Why wouldn’t we? In most cases I’d agree. But when it really counts…maybe we shouldn’t give up so easy.
Believers are called to do this: Luke 10: 25-28 ”
25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.””
That is it in a nutshell. ALL your heart. ALL your soul. ALL your strength. All your mind. That’s pretty much everything you got.
We can’t possibly do this?! It’s unattainable! But we must REACH FOR IT because that is our GOAL.
And I didn’t know what “all my strength” felt like until I tried that one last time. I thought all my strength was depleted. I thought I had given it all and I had failed. But it is the process of realizing that we have come to the END of ourselves that we then see our need for Jesus.
Jesus came to forgive our sins (when we fall short of the law) the law is perfection. The only way we can attain perfection is to be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus. In and of ourselves we will never be perfect. Through grace we are given what we don’t deserve and in return our grateful hearts REACH to be the kind of people Jesus already sees in us. Why even try if we’ve already been forgiven? Because we want to please the God who saved us from ourselves.
But even still acknowledging this is one thing. How do you live it out? How do you keep going when you’ve come to the end of yourself? While the world would say use sheer will power and determination. We all know that when we try to trick our brains into believing something we truly don’t believe…we end up falling flat on our faces.
The key is to actually believe it. That is where faith comes in. And that is where the Bible is wise beyond science.
I think the answer is to REACH. But not an empty reach as if grasping at straws. Instead we must reach for something true and real.
I’ve found a book that is very helpful with this process from a practical point of view. It’s free on Amazon Prime and it is helping me to keep my brain in the state it should be in order for me to have peace instead of chaos. I read it in one day. It was a fantastic read and had helpful summaries at the end of the each chapter. The first half is the science and theory behind the approach and the second half is a step-by-step action plan. I’ve used it this past week and I have to admit its been very successful for me. Dr. Caroline Leaf is a Christian and a neuroscientist.
It’s the concept of reaching that I find particularly helpful. It’s the last step and it must go along with the four steps that come before it – but it is a powerful step. It’s where your brain takes action on what it knows to be true and chooses to believe the truth instead of a lie. CHOOSING to REACH for the truth in your behavior which in turn over time creates a new set of pathways in the brain that reinforces that truth and replaces toxic, chaotic thoughts with harmonious, helpful, peaceful thoughts that allow the brain to grow healthy again.
I had to share. Please download it and read it today. If you are struggling with self-sabotaging behavior of any kind, believing things you KNOW are untrue (especially that involved FEAR). This book will help you. If you say I CAN’T. This book will help you shut that line of thinking down.
In the past I was very good at giving good godly advice and very bad about following it. I’ve been a Christian for decades. I KNOW what the Bible says. I KNOW what I should be doing. This book helps me to do it each and every day.
I’ve been doing it for 4 days now. I’ll give you an update when I’m done with my 21 days. What I know so far is this. I won’t do anything unless I believe it for real that it can be done. I’ll give myself a pass otherwise. And I’m ready to start feeling healthy, and strong-minded again. I’m tired of making excuses and feeling weak. I want to live out my faith and know I’m a VICTOR in Christ and not a VICTIM of my circumstances. Life did not go according to plan. It never does. What am I gonna do about it? THAT my friends I have control over…my reaction is my own. And that is what I’m going to work on for a while. NO MATTER what the circumstance. I’m going to do this:
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
If you feel like you’re at the end of your strength and don’t think you can keep going. If you are failing at quitting something that you know is harmful to you. PLEASE give this a chance. No matter what it is. Give it a chance.
Here is more information about the author. Keep in mind this book on Amazon Prime is free.