My God

Ever hit bottom and find yourself recognizing the extreme depth of the pit that seems inescapable, all while life continues to demand more and more of you and the pit seems to get deeper and deeper? I think all of us have experienced being overwhelmed in some "pit" at one time or another. The impact of the "pit" is determined by the perception we maintain while we are IN the pit. We can continue to look down - seeing only the darkness of the lowest point. We can look outward - seeing only the closeness of the walls surrounding us, seemingly holding us in a position of bondage. Or...we can (and should) look up, taking notice of the glimmer of light breaking in the distance, and take hope!

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God. (Psalm 43:5)

While David penned these words a long time ago, they continue to have awesome value for us today. In the midst of the pit, he questions himself, as most of us also do. The searching questions he poses reveal much about how he sees the pit, how it has affected him, and what he desires more than anything else while inside that pit. First, he asks his "soul" (mind, will and emotions) why it is "down in the dumps". There are times when we need to examine our thoughts in the "pit" of despair - simply because all action begins with thoughts. Our mind is the key to our perspective - not that it is as simple as mind over matter - all the power of positive thinking really won't eliminate the pit! Yet, the way we view the pit and how it is allowed to affect our emotions will impact how much 'control' the pit has over us.

If we recount only the darkness of the bottom of the pit, or the closeness of the encompassing walls, we see no way out!  The will of man plays a part in determining how we perceive the "pit" - without determination, we never change our focus - the pit remains an encompassing trap of sorts.  The emotions just serve to overwhelm us when our 'mind' and 'will' have chosen to focus on the depth of the pit and the limits of those four walls. Before we can move out of the pit, we have to recognize we are in it and how it has come to affect us. He asks himself why he is "crying the blues" - the tendency we all have to "rehearse" the darkness of the pit over-and-over again. We ruminate - chew the cud, so to speak.  In doing so, we tell ourselves the story again and again until the story become the "reality" by which we make all our decisions - 'pit decisions' are rarely good ones.  In the end, we wonder why the walls are closing in and the floor seems to be getting darker!

He seems to recognize the futility of the position he is allowing himself to remain in. The pit is a choice.  We determine our response to the pit - the pit has no influence over us until we give it that influence!  We need to turn quickly from the futility of our "pit-dwelling" emotional upheaval and begin to speak to our soul with the words our soul most needs to hear - God isn't going to leave us in the pit! Did you ever consider the meaning of "pitiful"?  It is a word that describes being so consumed by the "pit" that we cannot be filled up with anything other than the pit!  As we begin to turn our focus upward, we will finally begin to see the "light" at the opening of the pit.  As we fix our eyes on the light, our heart is lifted in hopeful praise.  We begin to see the way out - determining to focus on the opening rather than the closeness of the despair which has become our object of focus for a while! I am not a "pit-dweller".  When I stumble into the pits of life, I soon begin to recognize the absolute hopelessness of staying there too long.  In fact, I have come to recognize the way out is often the opposite of the way I got into the pit!  No one gets into the pit from the bottom first!  We all get there.  The choice to remain, or escape, is made in the moment we determine our focus! Just sayin!

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