holes or heights?

Rows of blue misty ridges hovering over Death Valley

It’s easy to fail.

In putting myself out there in life…inevitably I trip up and I fall flat on my face.   Sometimes I don’t even realize what I have said or done…or not said or not done, until later.

Then regret churns within me. I let my focus return again…and again to that place of failure. This leads me down the path to the door of Discouragement.  Opening the door, I trudge dutifully down, down, down the steps into the company of  Shame, Self-Doubt and Fear.

Fear is the biggie. Fear of ascending those steps…of putting myself back out there again. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, to be insensitive, to appear a fool, to try…only to fail.  It’s all too tempting to just “retreat” into the safety of not risking as much or even…not risking at all.

I can relate to that servant in Matthew 25 who received 1 talent.  How many times have people looked at him  and figured his laziness was merely just doing nothing.  That he just couldn’t figure out the math?  They scoff, cluck their tongues and move on, asserting that they could never play the part of such a fool.

But what if we all truly are vulnerable to his fate?

What if his burying his talent came out of fear that he would fail and lose it all.  His answer in Matthew 25:24&25 reveals that he was operating out of fear.  “Master…I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.”  Plain and simple, he was afraid.  He allowed his fear to lead to playing it “safe” and hiding what he had been given.

I can relate.  When I have said the wrong thing, hurt someone or looked foolish or any one of a dozen or so disappointing outcomes,  I feel like hiding… just burying what God has “entrusted” to me…and playing it safe.

Now the servant’s answer also reveals he didn’t really understand the nature of one who had given him the “talent.”.  He said that he was a hard man…one to be feared.  He was blind to the fact that the master was a “giver”…who “entrusted” his property to this servant.

That’s where the laziness comes in.  He did not turn his eyes from his fear and his own inadequacy to seeking and understanding the Giver.  He was considered lazy because he did not do such a simple thing…focus on the giver.  I, too, can operate according to this brand of laziness…to pass up the opportunity to seek God and to see what happens when I see Him for who He truly is.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

This morning I awoke to “regret”, over the way I handled a situation yesterday.  I could have turned it over and over in my mind…spinning a web of discouragement.  “See, you always _______.  You must have done that a hundred times already. You’ll never be able to get over it.  Just give up.” I could have retreated into that hole, escorted on the arm of Fear…quietly going about the rest of my day without giving myself fully and enthusiastically to the zillion opportunities God would lay before me.

But I’ve been down that road too many times. No, I really do want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  Not only at the end of this life…but at the end of every day.  So no, I will not be lazy and lay low out of fear. I choose to fight against fear.  The funny thing, is that it really isn’t that complicated…I just need to change where I am putting my focus–to lift my eyes…to seek the Giver of all good things.

When I lifted my eyes today…here’s what I found:

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”  Psalm 34:4&5

dv-sweetmarimari“As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.  For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?  It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.  He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights.”   Psalm 18:30-33

When I sought Him…He responded.  He hears me…He’s my shield…He is my strength..  He is not hard and difficult to please. He’s a generous God who offers me what I need most when my “heart trusts in Him.”

In myself, I am downright inadequate and prone to fear, but when I fix my eyes on Him…”He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;  He enables me to stand on the heights.”

The hole…or the heights?  It’s your call.

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“Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy.  The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.”  Psalm 28:6-8

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7 thoughts on “holes or heights?

  1. Hey Mari,

    I really love the blog. I love the pictures, the stories, the inspiration and the faith. I am proud that you are my sister-in-law.

  2. Mari, I received your newsletter today and then clicked to your site to read ‘holes or heights’ — again. Thanks for a word in due season!

    Lianne

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