I’m sorry I didn’t post last week. I was at the beach and was so caught up in fun and sun and family quality time…I decided to throw some grace at my feet and take time off (albeit unannounced time off). It was just what my soul needed. Thank you for understanding!
I’m certain I could not have escaped the crawling, since as I see it now, the crawling is essential to our growth. But had I listened, paid attention, heeded the warnings and signs and admonitions…I’m certain the molting and shedding process would have been less painful.
It still would have been painful (they don’t call them growing pains for nothing), but it would have been less… excruciating, I guess.
My crawling time after God gave me the word — the birthing — was excruciatingly painful.
The warnings came various ways and through various people. Be on guard was the message sent and after the third time, I was determined. I thought I knew what to do and how to prepare. I decided I knew what to be on guard of, so I took every precaution to fully guard that territory. City walls went up, soldiers on guard, prayer encircled around me.
I had no idea the territory God was really after to grow was in a whole other continent, far, far away…seemingly small and otherwise disregarded.
I didn’t know.
I remember the day the crawling started. I remember the exact moment — what I was wearing and where I was headed and that it was even in the afternoon. It started with the simplest statement — triggering a then-unknown need in me. I was instantly filled up and fed and felt special and important and immediately, all I began paying attention to was that.
The more I paid attention to that, the faster it took on a life of its own. It snowballed and blossomed and I knew it! I knew it deep in my soul that it was wrong and that I could stop myself at any moment. And yet, I felt completely out of control and helpless. It felt bigger than me and badder than me and seemed to bring out all the ugly I promised myself I would never have. Ever.
It was a literal and physical tug-of-war between my flesh and my spirit. I could physically feel myself being pulled apart and it ached desperately. All day, every day, I was the epitome of Paul,
“Listen, I can’t explain my actions. Here’s why: I am not able to do the things I want; and at the same time, I do the things I despise.” (Romans 7:15, The Voice)
So I spent all day not doing the things I wanted and at the same time doing the things I despised.
I crawled and despised. Day after day.
As I walked with eyes wide open into places I knew I shouldn’t go, the red flags would billow all around me shouting, Warning! Danger!, and yet I would walk in and hand over my identity and worth and dignity and volunteer to crawl.
Isn’t that something? I was already in a crawling season, and I willingly went lower. Crawled harder. Made an already painful time unbearable.
But can I tell you a secret?
Every single day that I crawled…every day that I poured shame over my head and lathered up in guilt, Jesus stood across from me. He stood there watching, not with eyes of disapproval or anger or disgust, but with eyes of compassion and eagerness. His eyes held eagerness and unwavering strength and His tender hand was extended out to me, palm up. Every single day.
And the days that I refused His hand and turned my back to His eyes, He called out behind me,
I love you! You’re not alone! I am not ashamed of you! You can get through this with My strength, just ask! Ask and believe you’re worth it!
I crawled and despised, day after day. And He simply watched and extended and called, day after day.
I sometimes look back at that time in my life and realize the crawling could have been less painful had I heeded the warnings. If I had paid attention to the things that felt slightly off-center and askew, and the things that felt like they were a complete one-eighty from the Truth that I knew. Or maybe it wouldn’t have been less painful, but not lasted as long. The opportunities God gave me to get out were daily.
I’m a firm believer in not wasting time regretting. That’s the first and easiest way to remain stuck in a season of crawling. Instead, I believe in remembering the past, praising God for what you learned, and then flying. on.
So I choose to look back and realize it probably couldn’t have happened any other way. There was too much for God to transform in me. All the ugly had to rise to the surface so He could skim it off. And while I wish desperately at times that I would have been smarter, more aware, stronger…I realize that it happened exactly the way it did because it had to.
The beauty of the crawling phase is that it will come to and end. Sometimes God decides it’s over, and sometimes we have to take one extremely difficult step and He meets us there.
But most blessedly, so we can fully recover when it’s done, God then brings us into a time of cocooning.
My friend, I don’t know exactly where you are today. But if you are in a crawling season, feeling a very real tug-of-war of spirit and flesh, I urge you to please look over your shoulder. See Jesus, right there? He’s the one standing still, watching you intently and interceding for you. His eyes hold no disappointment or anger. Only compassion and love, and an eagerness for you to put your hand in His and to walk on. His forgiveness and mercy are greater than the crawl. I promise.