Proverbs 9: Life

I’ll be honest. Today I sit here at a desk in a hotel room. I feel like I haven’t slept for days, but I can’t go back to sleep. I’m sure it will sounds weird to many, but as I sat in bed I was thinking that I needed to get up, read the Bible, and spend time with God – it would be the only way I’d have enough energy for the day. The truth though, is I sit here, and suddenly don’t want to do this. My mind is racing, yet empty at the same time. I have so many thoughts as I read Proverbs 9, but it’s as if I can’t catch a thought to focus on it. I’m tired friends, really tired. Yes physically, but it’s more of a mental, emotional, and spiritual fatigue. I know that to be true because I sleep at least 8 hours every night, and sometimes 10. Yet, still feel exhausted.

As I laid in bed this morning trying to get back to sleep I was reminded that I’ve run several half (13.1 miles) & full (26.2 miles) marathons, an ultra marathon (40 miles), and climbed a mountain. Not only did I run all those races, but I trained for them, which means I ran MANY times for hours.

Why does this matter? Well, I know that if I wanted to, I can run any race and finish; been there, done that. The body is an incredible thing and the mind has the ability to push through even when the body feels it’s had enough. I know what it’s like to “hit the wall” and keep on going. Pushing through the pain is a concept very familiar to me. Between finishing a race with duct tape around my knee to my lower back looking like there was a tennis ball in there, I’ve had my share of pushing through the pain; and needless to say, exhaustion.

With all of that, a few years ago when I was faced with a difficult and hellish situation, I pushed through how I knew best. I worked out. Every day and many times multiple times a day, I was working out. Whether it was a fitness class I was teaching, one I was participating in, practicing for an upcoming class, or a workout for my own personal training, it wasn’t uncommon to find me in fitness gear and exercising. My days were built around it.

With all of that, however, it didn’t truly help what was going inside of my soul. Looking back I’m pretty sure that I endured more in that situation than I had to. I can’t be positive, but it’s possible that it could have been handled quicker. I complained. I cried. I was angry. But, I never turned to God. I was so sick and tired of everything I just wanted to handle it my way. I was like the Israelites walking around the wilderness. God was right there in my face and after a while, I was so tired of it all I didn’t care. Those who knew me during that time probably would say it’s an exaggeration, and it may be. But, I know myself…we tend to be harder on ourselves. I know how much I was pushing God away. Not in the beginning, but over time yes – and by the end, I couldn’t even pray.

This time, however, fitness has a different role in my life. I enjoy it and it makes me feel good, but it’s not my coping mechanism. I don’t have the hormonal releases I had the last time from the exercises, so I’m feeling this situation in my soul and spirit a lot more than the last situation. Well, I guess because I’m much more aware of my “invisible” self and recognize the importance of it’s health.

So, I come back to all the exhausting races and that climb. Every time I hit a wall, I would fuel up and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Somehow I always made it to the finish line. I may have been exhausted and in pain when I crossed it, but I always did.

I remember when I was climbing Mt. Rainier, not to the summit but to Camp Muir. There was a moment where I wanted to quit. I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. We took a moment to sit down, enjoy the view, and eat something. That did the trick. I finished the climb. Sat up in Camp Muir enjoying the few and feeling the exhilaration of climbing a mountain I never even trained for.

The point is, I always cross the finish. I take walk breaks, I fuel, or I take complete breaks if I must, but I just keep moving, no matter the pace.

Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.

Dean Karnazes

So, here I am. This journey of life is as much natural as it is spiritual. I have an advantage. His name is Jesus. When my strength fails me, He empowers me to keep going. In my weakness He is made strong. If it’s His purpose that I keep walking because He has a purpose, then I will keep walking. I’m not going to complain or have a pity party. I will keep going. When I cross the finish line, I will have time to rest. For now, I take the breaks I need. I fuel up on Him. I keep putting one foot in front of the other believing that when my body wants to call it quits, Holy Spirit will give it what it needs to keep on moving. So, here we go.

S – Scripture

The entire chapter. Today I read it in 3 versions. TPT, NASB, and NLT. I happen to like NLT the best.

O – Observation

The reason I have the whole chapter as the scripture is because of an observation I made. In the beginning of the chapter, Wisdom prepares a food, drink, and a table and calls out from the heights of the city for all, even the naïve, to enter in. She encourages them to leave their foolishness and come obtain wisdom. Wisdom increases life and actually adds to your days.

However, at the end of the chapter, we see a woman with food and drink, calling out at the high places of the city calling out for all to enter to eat in secret. What guests don’t realize, though, is that by walking inside you are not only dining with the dead, but you are actually dining in the place of the dead, Sheol.

Clearly at the end of the chapter there was a counterfeit inviting all to feast, but her feast brings death.

When we sit at the table with Wisdom and eat of her meal, our years are not only given more life, but they are actually increased.

So, I’m sure many will ask, how do we know Lady Wisdom vs the counterfeit?

As we shared yesterday, God’s truth is very clear. It is not twisted or confusing. We’ve also learned that the path of Wisdom is the way of light. It’s bright. It’s clear. There is no stumbling.

To the contrary, we see that this counterfeit woman is inviting people to eat stolen water and eat in secret. Things that are done and kept in secret are referred to as “being kept in the dark.” Lies, deceit, and secrets are obscure and never clear.

I’m sure you have been in places where you feel light and others you’ve felt darkness. You may have not been able to pinpoint exactly what you were feeling, but you felt it. As children of God, we have discernment and can tell the difference between light and dark. Clear and foggy.

A- Application

Discernment is critical to living a life of abundance. When I “feel” something that appears to be off, shady, or obscure, I will seek Wisdom to have an divine understanding of what is happening. I will stay far away from dining with the dead because if I’m dining with the dead that means I’m not dining with Wisdom. I’d rather dine with Wisdom. I can’t be in both places at once. I choose Wisdom. I choose Life. I choose Truth.

P- Prayer

Holy Spirit, I want to have the honor of being one of Wisdom’s maidens that is sent out to call all to come in and dine. May my eyes and focus always be on what Wisdom is doing because Wisdom not only brings life to my days, but extends my days as well…you know that’s something I desire. While many can’t wait to leave this world, even with all it’s difficulties, I find it a privilege to live this life and desire to be here as long as possible so that I can be a part of fulfilling your purposes.

I need you. I need your strength. When I can’t go on anymore, carry me. I will always do my part. I will follow you everywhere you go. I refuse to “wander” in the wilderness by complaining and resenting it, but I will praise you through it all. I will mirror you and be steadfast through it all. I will find joy, peace, and abundance on a daily basis. It’s my fuel to help keep me going. So, you will find me here, every day, fueling up. Holy Spirit, you are my comfort. I rest in you and I feed on you. While I’m on this journey up the mountain, I will do my part and keep moving one foot in front of the other. The rest, I lean on you.

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