Romans 15:13 (NKJV)
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
When you look off to the distance and contemplate your future how far can you see? A hundred feet, a quarter mile, maybe as far as horizon will let you see? What would you do if it’s only three feet because there’s a wall in front of you and it was there every day?
Most of us may not know it but in many ways we are master carpenters and masons who have spent portions of our lifetime building walls around us that prevent us from seeing a hopeful future. It is never good to have anything block you from moving forward, but the serious energy that is put into these elaborate blockades can boggle the mind. Far to often we do not even know that we are doing it till it is too late and we end up sitting amongst the shadows of despair.
I know for myself that I have done this several times throughout my life. From the flimsy thin room dividers to one of those multi-material monuments decorated with every excuse and negative emotion I collected for years. I would run my fingers over the rough finish of the wood or the bricks to feel every detail that was like touching a bump, a bruise, a scar, or that wound that never completely healed.
There may have also been times where portions of the wall were not actually built by us and others have added a few feet along the top, maybe a little paint, or that tiny little peephole to tease us with the possibilities that we might catch a glimpse of. We can all pick out times where these obstacles we encountered were from some of the decisions we have made or which way we turned when we came to that intersection, but no matter the shape, size, or the construction we all still must decide what we do next. It’s far too easy to just complain about it, blame somebody for it, or even just curl up in the corner and not even fight.
Sure, you may feel worn out, dejected, not sure if you can go on, or just unsure what you should do next, but let’s get started anyway. Take a minute to examine what you see, look closely to find the writing that is there. I have seen words like fear, worry, pain, anger, loss, betrayal, and so many others. Some were written as big as a Broadway marquee, some in that neat block lettering you saw on the restroom wall, or even in tiny print hidden under five layers of paint. This is important because these are the things that are holding you back from where you can be in life. So, tell me what is on your wall.
Now no matter what was found we have to do something about it. I spent too much time over the years beating my fists or even my forehead on the words anger and frustration rather than taking a moment to find a better way. After years of living in denial or being stubborn I finally learned that I needed that moment to focus my energy in a new direction, but it wasn’t just inward, it was upward as well. Much of the strength I needed and the answers that I sought could be found in the Lord. If I used that pause to pray for guidance it made that obstacle less scary and the Lord soon showed me a different way to look at those words.
The simple lesson came in the form of “If you don’t like what it says, change it.” It felt like the curtains were pulled back to let the warmth and the light of the Son shine back into my life. I could see new possibilities as I searched for a scraper, some sandpaper, and whatever paint that I may have on hand. I smiled when I did this imagining the brightest colors I could think of. As I went about my new task I realized that I was no longer paralyzed by the obstacles I was facing.
During the time I was preparing the wall for a makeover I also spent time in God’s word because I knew everything I needed to offset all those negative connotations that I was confronted with would be within its pages. I found scriptures such as Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” This was a good start because the majority of people you talk to will list either fear or apprehension in some form as the largest writing they are presented with.
I soon discovered that the word fear itself can be found over 350 times in the Bible so I had plenty of inspiration to draw from. Then, reading about worry and anxiety I came across Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” With this renewed energy from God’s love that was coursing through me I began painting my own words.
I grabbed a brush in one hand and a spray can in the other and covered fear with confidence, pain with relief, betrayal with forgiveness, and my worry with the peace that washed over me. At that moment I remembered John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I could see the cracks forming in the wall as it became unstable to the point where an opening was forming in the center. The new possibilities came into focus as I wrote my last word, HOPE. I was able to overcome this impressive structure and I can look back to see the remnants of this one and other walls that remain as a reminder of how far I have come. Each one also represented a unique experience that I had to go through for myself to prepare me for the next part of my journey.
I still try to build walls these days, but they are less sturdy much shorter versions that still provide me something to learn. So join with me and ask the Lord to show you the new words to paint on those obstacles in front of us. Then use His strength, love, and mercy to move forward into a hopeful future while you enjoy, “Begin Your Life Anew.”
BEGIN YOUR LIFE ANEW
As morning dawns I awaken from a dream I cannot recall,
I try to start my day off right but soon find the same old wall.
I know every crack and crevice because I built it brick by brick,
Especially the parts where it’s taken years to make it three feet thick.
I spent so much time collecting these bricks then kept them like a prize,
They fit together to form the words that are a monument to the lies.
FEAR of failure with WORRY of things that have not happened yet,
The PAIN of loss just feeds the ANGER that fuels a sense of REGRET.
As I slowly sink back into the corner and hang my head in doubt,
Lord I am just so tired to still be here please show me a way to get out.
My child reach out and use my strength to change those words you see,
You can repaint the walls in brilliant colors with ones that come from me.
Let my spirit fill you with the COURAGE to overcome those fears inside,
As you do you will soon find PEACE from the worry you are trying to hide.
My word can provide RELIEF from the pain that serves no useful purpose,
Then CALM all the ripples of the anger that have made it to the surface.
You will see cracks form around the word regret that reveal to you a door,
Now in big letters paint it with HOPE of the life you are striving for.
I am waiting with my loving arms open for whenever you walk through,
As you accept my mercy and forgiveness you can Begin Your Life Anew.
Simple Faith Christian