Pressing Toward

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

~Phillipians 3:12-14

I’ve heard this particular passage of scripture several times; taught from several angles, but in this post, I want to focus on the “pressing toward the mark” portion. When you make the decision to FORGET those things that are behind you and press TOWARD the mark, you can’t continue to walk forward yet have your hand behind you pulling the rolling luggage of the past. I believe it’s easier for some folk to dwell on “those things behind” because those things are certain and to move forward means to abandon something you knew to be true and TRUST that what’s coming is better. It means you have to walk an unknown path filled with uncertainty and that makes us all VERY uncomfortable. Can’t we just perpetually stay in the “things that are behind us?” It’s very simple; we cannot. I mean you could, but the prize isn’t back there.

So about this pressing. Some of us bench press weights. Some of us just press buttons. Some of us press down on food items to make patties or mix well. The weight lifter can’t look at the weights and expect them to rise. We don’t just plop a glob of meat for a burger on the grill and never mixed the seasonings in; that’s not a taste that will be welcomed. When you press a button on the phone, you expect an app to open or the phone to perform a specific task. The point here is any type of press requires work – low or high impact, so pressing toward a prize is not going to be something that will come easily to you. You must put forth an effort to press. It takes nothing to recall, but it takes everything to press forward.

Your “things behind you” maybe failed attempts at making a relationship work. It could be bad experiences at the hands of “church folk.” It could be trouble with the law that resulted in prison time or other consequences. It could be health treatments that didn’t work. Maybe, it’s alcoholism or drug abuse. Whatever your “things behind you” is, I’m here to encourage you to PRESS TOWARD. Let go of the rolling luggage; loose the weight and PRESS!

Yes – pressing is painful at times, but even a broken arm will heal. An athlete doesn’t quit playing the sport because they were hurt in the past. Yes – pressing may mean old habits get left behind, but get free anyway. Yes – pressing may mean against all you want to hold on to that didn’t work and makes you believe moving forward won’t work, you give it one more shot – DO IT! Pressing may mean a new career path into the unfamiliar – take the job, promotion or business plan and make it happen! Staying settled in the “things that are behind you” closes the door on so much that God has prepared for you.

Your reality is one thing. Your PROMISE is another. Pressing toward the mark goes beyond the realm of what you know to be true because you see and feel it. Pressing toward the mark says, “God, I don’t know but you do and I’m going to trust you.” Thewpid-wp-1418915602340 one time you make up in your mind to forget those things which are behind you and press toward the mark will be when God’s promises manifest in your life. Relationships, jobs, business opportunities, healing, and more is yours, but it’s not behind you. Are you ready to press?

2016 – There are No Words, But I’ll Write a Few

Ok, so here’s a moment of more transparency. Judging by the title, one might think here comes all the reasons I hated 2016. Well, read on because you tumblr_mhclt3xx1m1ruv2gqo1_500may be surprised at the turn it will take. While this year had glimpses of hope, happiness and even joy, it also had tough growing PAINS.
I spent the majority of the year teetering between thinking God wasn’t listening to a word I’m saying to I KNOW He wasn’t listening to well maybe He was cause He allowed things to happen to show I wasn’t forgotten. Then back to, “But God? Why give me this but not fix the situation?”
This year, anxiety attacks, chronic pain, depression, doubt, fear, insecurity all came thundering down a steep mountain, ran me over at times and brought me to my knees – literally. I laughed a little and cried a LOT. I had some fun but then couldn’t sleep. I was blessed with a new job after several months of unemployment and no income, but still no peace. My business had a few great moments, but still no joy. I was BROKEN. I felt like I was reading a book of me wishing I could revise the outcomes, words, characters. I was trapped outside of my own life wanting to desperately bang on the window to say, “NO! Don’t do that! Don’t say that! Don’t go there! SHUT UP! Are you paying attention at all, girl?!” 365 days of never feeling like I could woosah. 365 days of holding my breath thinking, “what next?”.when-you-find-yourself-in-the-desert-place
Now, please, believe me, there was much going on that was much more catastrophic, so I should have felt blessed beyond measure for those things there were NOT happening to me cause it could have been worse. Yes, I know that’s the attitude you should have, but sorry. This blog post is my truth.
I felt like most tears fell in vain. I wanted to scream at God, “Why won’t you do anything?!” But I submit that God WAS doing something. Not outside of me but INSIDE of me. The bible says, “greater is HE that’s in ME…” Problem is I wasn’t allowing the HE in me to be great. Sometimes, we don’t recognize when God IS working out exactly what you prayed for because while we prayed for it and so called “left it with God,” what we REALLY did was have in our mind how it would look to us when God has accomplished the task of answering our prayer. You’re your own blessing event planner. God, it should be done this day at this time with these people invited to the unveiling of how good you are – insert praise break! When it doesn’t look that way, we question, cry, throw tantrums, get angry or depressed. No…just stop!
I have always been very spoiled and self-centered; not in a mean girl, obnoxious sort of way but simply used to getting what I wanted and having my way. I have always wanted the approval and love of others because my love for me was based on their love for me. I had no strength of my own. I had no faith of my own. I was tied to a lifeline to someone or something – my parents, my relatives, my husband, my job, and more. I had to get a wake-up call, and God tried to drop things in my spirit to let me know I wasn’t heading in a direction He was going to bless. I felt it; was convicted by it, but was just dumb, for lack of a better term. Some of us will never truly understand who God is unless He breaks us, and that’s what I meant by growing PAINS. When God sent that wake-up call, I FINALLY took a look at ME, and I didn’t like all there was to see. I’m not a complete and utter lost cause, but I was thrust into finding my worth, strength, true faith, and love for ME outside of anything going on around me. It’s an extremely hard journey and it feels very lonely at times.
One thing I’m coming to terms with is I make mistakes, and I used to be unapologetic about it or try to justify it away. Apologizing isn’t a sign of weakness. It shows you care enough about the other person to make things right. Next, while I’m talented and gifted at certain things, I didn’t love myself and was insecure. I loved myself enough to know I didn’t want to hurt me or leave this world but not enough to believe I’m good enough. Selfish – I lived my life without much regard to those connected to me. I missed most of my son’s infancy doing everything in “busy”ness. And being a wife…refer to my previous blog post, Entering Lightly. All of this was in my mirror. Now, what was I supposed to do? I’m 39. Change is a marathon and not a sprint. I started this journey in 2015, actually, and continued on all year to a better, stronger, more faith-filled me. I fight through anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, selfishness daily. I miss the mark a lot. I try too hard a lot. BUT, I contend that I’m not the same person I’ve been. Believe it or not – matters not. My new ever-changing me is walking into 2017 with new hope and God as the guide without me as His co-pilot. It’s amazing that pastor’s message today was “When Was the Last Time You Felt Like the First Time?” The closer I get to God and the more I go after Him, other things have to get better. God is who I’m after – BETTER comes with Him. Happy New Year!