The Wrestling Life

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The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. -Exodus 14:14

What a match this has been.

On one side, it’s been You and God, and on the other side, your opponents.  You know, your physical and mental illnesses that bring you to your knees.  Injustices that try to hold you down.  Doubt and Fear that threaten to do a pile driver on you.  Sin and shame that will hit you with a chair when you least suspect it.

You and God?  Totally outnumbered.  There’s an endless mob climbing up over the ropes trying to pin you. Adversaries you’re wrestled with for so long you know them as well as you know yourself.  Grabbing you by the hair, and flinging you into the ropes.

You’ve had about all you can take.

Isn’t wrestling supposed to be fake?  This doesn’t feel fake.  It feels like you’re getting your tail kicked.   Sometimes life is like that.  And no matter how hard you try to fight it, sometimes it feels like you may be going down, and you may not be getting up again.

Gasping for breath, you see it out of the corner of your eye:  God’s hand, reaching out desperately.  How could you have forgotten?  This is a tag team match!  If you can just reach out and take…God’s…hand…

Connection!  God swoops into the ring as your beaten body slumps to the side.  God says, “I will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  And so you are.  It’s all you can do.

You lie there, panting, having done everything you could do to overcome every last sin, sickness, and shortcoming.  You’ve long been accustomed to the wrestling life, one ordeal after another.  One obstacle, one battle, one endless bout, but now, you have taken God’s hand…

God is powerful. Doubt and Fear dissolve at God’s gaze.  Injustices and enemies reel at God’s signature move — a mighty blow, arms formed into the shape of the cross.

As the match continues, you just lie there, as instructed.  Your breathing slows.  Your eyes droop.  You are still.

And then God is prodding you.  You awake refreshed, energized.  God nods back to the ring, hand outstretched to you.  God has done so much on your behalf, but most importantly, God has renewed your strength, so that you’re ready to go back to the battle..

It’s your turn again.   You take God’s hand, and climb back into the fray.

Now this story may seem a little bleak to you.  Life must surely be more than a constant battle, and our relationship with God is certainly more than a “Tag, you’re it” at the edge of a wrestling ring. But the moral of the story is essentially clear:

God will fight for you when you can’t. And when life threatens to overtake you, God can give you rest.

So get out there!  Grab that lingering self-doubt by the shoulders and pin him to the mat.  And remember, you don’t have to conquer all your adversaries at once…

just the ones walking around in their underwear.

Have a great week,

Mitch

thn5ane2mc

 

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7 Ways to THANK Outside The Box

 

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Has another Thanksgiving rolled around to find you thankful of the same things as last year?  (Let me guess:  Friends, Family, God, and Good Health)

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.  Those are are some darn fine things to be thankful for.

But this year, let’s think outside the box a little.  The following list is designed to help us stretch our thankfulness a bit, in some ways we might not always think of.  Ready to THANK outside the box?

7 Ways to THANK outside the box

  1.  THANK a soldier.

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Amillionthanks.org has been responsible for sending more than 7 million letters of thanks to our soldiers.  Check out the site for information about how to put your letter in a soldier’s hands.

 

2.  THANK a teacher.

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Remember how great your 5th grade teacher Mrs. Janezik was?  Let her know!  http://www.thank-a-teacher.org/ is an easy way to let a teacher know you appreciate them.  Put in your name, pick their school, write your thanks, and this site will get the thank-you to them.

 

THANK local.

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In the mad rush of post Thanksgiving shopping, the little guys can get overlooked.  Instead, be intentional about buying at least some of your gifts from local merchants.  It’s good for the economy and can be a needed boost for smaller stores.  In 2010 American Express created Small_Business_Saturday as a yearly reminder.

 

THANK a wrestling partner

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No, not actual wrestling (although, why not!).  Think of the person or people whom you’ve wrestled with intellectually or spiritually, and thank them for how you’ve grown from it.  That friend from college you always find yourself debating religion with?  Thank them for the wrestle.  That co-worker who always keeps you on your toes?  Thank them for the wrestle.   They just might thank you back.

 

THANK God for Tuesdays

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For some reason, TGIT has never caught on as much as TGIF.  Of course, it’s easy to thank God for Fridays — it’s the end of the week, time to let your hair down.  But why not try to thank God for all the other days, even the Tuesdays.   Your deliberate gratitude for a day in the middle of the week might just alter your own appreciation of it.

 

THANK a checkout clerk

 

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It’s gonna be busy in all the stores, so as you go through the check-out line, why not take a cold drink out of the cooler at the end of the aisle, pay for it with your groceries, and then tell your checkout clerk that you got it for them as a thank you for their hard work.

 

THANK a writer

 

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In the past year, did you read something that made an impact on your life?  A devotion book, a novel, maybe a passage of scripture?  I’ll bet the author would love to hear from you.  If they’re alive, you could write to them care of the publisher, or many authors have their own websites.  And if, as in the case of the scriptures, the author is long since gone, you could say a prayer of thanksgiving, or even write out a few sentences to share on your Facebook page.

 

There are obviously lots more than 7 ways to THANK outside the box this year.  Whichever new ways you choose to show your thanks, you’ll find yourself blessed as well.  Gratitude has a habit of filling lots of hearts, including the giver’s.

May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and THANK YOU for reading!

Mitch

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