How to Press On

I got a text from a friend yesterday that brought me back down to earth. It was a day chocked full of instances that flung me out on emotional, frustrated tirades. There didn’t seem to be any remedy until my boys were asleep, the TV was on to drown out silence, and I was stuffing my face full of unhealthy fast food.

I wish I could say that every day I crack open the Word, and good and glorious things come forth from my day. It just isn’t like that. I pick up a pen to write, but end up staring at a blank journal for 15 minutes while my toddlers destroy something in the background. I wish I could say that “pressing on” was an easy feat, that I have overcome the hard days of feeling like sludge, but I truly haven’t. Some days take me to the pits, and some days I have to use every sliver of strength I’ve got to find my way out.

So what does it look like? How do we press on when crap might literally and metaphorically be flying everywhere, tears are stinging our eyes, prayers feel like forced conversations?

Here’s what I know:

It takes the Word of God. And can I be 100% honest? Sometimes I get that nifty handbook out and feel like the words are in hieroglyphics. It doesn’t sink into my brain. It bounces off and lands elsewhere on my floor. I have to force myself sometimes to keep reading, because I want to check out. I want to continue on and exist without it for a moment, because this ancient text feels like a bunch of bricks.

But I need it. And maybe that means reading and reading and reading like it’s a book, not just verses. Maybe it means not even taking the time to picking it apart paragraph by paragraph. Maybe it means not even hoping to get something just for me. For me, it means reading it and hearing it. Feeling it. Knowing that whatever is here is good and worthy, even if I don’t fully understand. I read to be filled. The Word never returns empty, and I choose to believe that for myself too.

It takes acceptance of my emotions. Hello! I am emotional. I struggle to hold it together when I’ve been stuck with my boys for five days straight, our air conditioner stops working and it’s 80 degrees in our house, and I forgot to actually get dressed. Lies work overtime, my friends. I’ve talked about this before. Satan is working 24/7 to give me hell, and he isn’t going to quit until I’ve breathed my last. I can’t trust my emotions because I’ve got sin riding in my heart, and I am not perfect. I’ve got emotions that can change in a second because I’ve got lies ticking in my head.

I’ve got to acknowledge that they are there. I’ve got to give them room to breathe out, to cry if I need to cry, to tell my husband why I feel angry, to say things with a warning (i.e. “I am saying this because I feel it, not because it’s true.”). I’ve got to let them out, and then turn my face back to Calvary:  I am good. I am worthy. I am a sinner, and yet, I am saved. I am covered. I am free. So I can move past emotions, I can forgive myself when I lose my cool, I can forgive others when they do the same. I can acknowledge what hurts, what makes me feel helpless, what makes me feel like I am not enough. And then I can throw the ones to the wayside that aren’t true.

It takes trust. Evan and I have been married for five years, and our marriage has taught me a huge thing about myself:  I have pride. Pride that is Mount Everest sized. I want to do it all, be it all, and I want to refuse help to prove how strong, courageous, good enough I am. And every. single. time. it leads me with my butt on the ground because I’m knocked over by my own faults. I cannot do it all. I have this great man next to me who literally pulls me to his shoulder and makes me lean on him. I don’t have to stand on my own two feet at all times.

And maybe you aren’t married, so this scenario doesn’t seem to apply to you. But walk with me a minute. The other day, the day that I felt like crap hit the fan and I was feeling emotionally crazy and about to cry, I was hoping Evan was going to show up for me. I was waiting for him to ask me what was wrong, help me fix my feelings of frustration, and give me the peace I wanted. He never did. He’s just as human as I, so I cannot expect him to fulfill a God-sized job like the one I had enlisted for him (unbeknownst to him). I realized I needed to lean farther, until my shoulder hit my Creator, so I could lean on God. I closed my eyes and lifted my hands palms up and cried. Big ugly tears. Because I needed my Father, wanted Him more than I wanted a man on earth, because my God is able. He is a God who sees all and knows all and has done it all. He could reel me back in when I was flying out too far from reality.

It takes a lot of prayer, trust, humility to press on towards the prize: Jesus.

I don’t press on so I feel better. I don’t press on for the goal of looking holy. I don’t press on because I know it’s what’s best.

I press on because God is worthy. I press on because He gave up everything for me, little me. The chick who loses her cool, holds back gratefulness, has pride the size of mountains. He loves me, enough that Calvary could take care of the sin in me. I press on because I am enough because of His sacrifice; because of His sacrifice, I can press on to give Him glory.

Published by Janelle Delagrange

Wife to a graphic designer, mom to three young boys, and writer of the soul.

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