"Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 RSVSometimes it feels as if all your efforts to practice everything you know are in vain. Or maybe you're getting hit so hard that the blows leave you dazed and you have no idea what is going on, where you are and what you're supposed to do next. Maybe you just got tired from fighting day after day and you just need everything to stop for a while, so you build a little nest inside yourself where you can lick your wounds in peace and act numb all the while chanting "I just need You Adonai to tell me what to do because nothing makes sense anymore and I have no idea what it is that I'm doing wrong! So tell me what to do! Choose for me so I won't have to!"
Maybe you question everything starting with the Path, the Truth, your motives, Adonai's motives, the people that have convinced you of certain principles that no matter how hard you try to implement, for some reason, just don't work in your case and you hate yourself and blame everything on your lack of faith, trying to fight back the nagging doubt: 'is anything of this even real? does this even make sense?'
Breathe! It's alright. You're not experiencing some alien infection. It's part of the training. Unless your discomfort is caused by some sin (which you should deal with) it's alright. It might seem like you're choking, but you're not. The One inside you is greater than anything that you might be facing on the outside. So stop looking at the hills waiting for help, your help comes from Adonai (Ps 121) and He's not somewhere out there and you have to catch Him somehow to get Him to do stuff for you, He's inside you. He's not in there like some mystical ghost turning you into some demi-god, He's in you as a Comforter.
"The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." - Zephaniah 3:17 RSVYou can do this! Not because you proclaim yourself a conqueror or even because you believe yourself to be one, but because HaShem is in you and that's a fact and He has never lost a fight! So don't panic. Take a deep breath.
"Shake yourself from the dust, arise, O captive Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion." - Isaiah 52:2 RSVNobody is running to dust you off. Not this time. Because it's time you learn that He is in you, so you have to do it because you can. So shake yourself off.
Are you up? Awesome! Now think. You know what needs to be done. You don't need to be told the next step. You just put one foot in front of the other and stay in what you know is true. You don't need to guess His next plan for you. That would make Him unfair, and He's not. You were not called to understand, you were called to follow Him. And you agreed, remember? Nobody is fooling you. Nobody is deceiving you. He didn't deceive you and now left you to fend for yourself. He has shown you what is expected of you in His Word. He has given you part of Himself to you forever, His Ruach HaKadosh (Holy Spirit) whom dwells within you, now walk!
He didn't bring you this far only to bring you this far. You have to finish the race. None of this is pointless or meaningless. Every step you take is taking you closer to home, just trust His grace will guide you there. Every blow you're dealt teaches you how to duck better and how to fight better. Every test and every success work together to get you Home.
If becoming an Olympic swimmer would be easy, anybody would do it. Endure hard hours of training when everybody else is having fun. Failing test after test and doubting yourself every step of the way. Having to change everything starting with your diet and sleep time and ending with changing even your breathing pattern. You train for years just for one competition. It's the same with being a Christian. You change your whole lifestyle, you train your mind and your character for the time when the true test comes, but you're not alone in this. If you were, you'd never make it. But you've got Him inside you. So it's gonna work. Just trust Him.
This is just a test. Pick yourself up and keep walking. Because the alternative is to go back and you don't want to do that, remember? So if you have to rest, rest and when you're done, keep going. It's worth it, I assure you. Yeshua died to let you run this race. He wouldn't have paid such a price if it wasn't worth it.
Bat Melech בת מלך