Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Getting Pumped in the Pain

Along with a few million other folks around the globe, I started the new year with a resolution to lose weight. This was going to be the year that I wasn’t embarrassed on the beach. And so far, I’ve hung in there well, but not without lots of struggles and challenges.

Key to my focus has been joining the gym. Dare I even say that I’m enjoying working out? Music has been helpful, as it tends to pump me up for rigorous workouts. On a particularly cold, wintry day, I hopped on an elliptical with my headphones to listen to favorite show tunes. I was beyond excited when a song from Aida came blasting through my headphones. It took me back to wonderful memories of seeing the musical on Broadway. Consequently, I got so caught up in the moment that I started singing along. The only problem was that I didn’t realize that I was singing “aloud.” As the song reached a climatic high and I belted out the words with pride, I suddenly realized that three gentlemen on nearby weights were looking at me strangely.

Yep, I was serenading those around me, and in a key that sounded anything but “Broadway-like.” Heavy sigh. Here I was feeling so pumped about my workout, only to have my joy crushed by the embarrassment of drawing attention to self.

In that moment, Psalm 34:18 (NIV) came to mind:

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

The prior year had brought lots of brokenness and a crushed spirit, as it had been filled with an unexpected job lay-off and other hurts. My weight loss journey similarly made me brokenhearted at times, as I reflected on the struggle of resisting donuts and pushing myself to move when I only wanted to sleep. My life’s journey had, at times, broken me. 

Have you ever been in a season which felt like there was more brokenness than beauty or more sadness than serenity? Have you ever felt super pumped up about what God is doing in your life, only to find yourself crashing the next day when the unexpected brings hurt, grief, or shame? Maybe you even hurt today because others have hurt you and you’ve forgotten what joy feels like.

When I’m hurt, broken, or sad, the last thing I want to do is to praise God. Instead, I want to hide under the covers, or, in the case of the gym, run into the dressing room to get eyes and ears away from my off-key show tunes. But God’s Word tells us that hiding isn’t an option, unless we’re hiding in His arms.

Instead of running, God says, “Come.” Instead of fleeing, God says “Have faith.” Instead of focusing on the pain, God says, “Get pumped up about what I’m doing in this season to prepare you for the next chapter.” In short, God reminds us to adopt a Psalm 75 kind of attitude in our most broken or difficult seasons so that we remain pumped about who He is and what He’s going to do, even when nothing seems clear or right.  

"We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds." Psalm 75:1 (NIV)

Whatever challenges you face this week, remember to stay pumped in the pain by praising His name. Remember that your God is bigger than your grief and His heart is bigger than your hurts. He cares!

Copyright © January 2019, Dr. Lori Brown, used with permission.

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