"Lost for words with all to say,
Lord you take my breath away,
Still my soul, my soul cries out,
For You are Holy.
And as I look upon Your Name,
Circumstances fade away,
Now your glory steals my heart,
For You are Holy"
WHAT A WEEKEND! Wow! That is just about all I can say after the conclusion of a very powerful and uplifting weekend. I can’t tell you the number of people that came to me during the retreat and said something along the lines of “I can’t believe you chose this topic – this was exactly what I needed to hear!”
Because I feel this topic is so relevant to so many people who are struggling with living in a pit today, I will be posting summaries of the talks here on my blog throughout this week. Every day I will try to summarize one of the talks from the retreat – giving just the highlights and main ideas. So that way, if you didn’t get to attend, you’ll get a sneak peak before the videos are posted online.
And if you did attend the retreat, it will be a good reminder for you and give you more time to come up with a specific plan for your individual pit. Also, hopefully it will allow for some discussion so you can share your thoughts and learn from the thoughts of others.
Ok, let’s jump right in. The retreat started by defining what it means to live in a pit and what our life looks like when we’re in there. Life in the pit could mean different things for different people. It could be a pit of frustration or a pit of despair. It could be a pit of anxiety or a pit of addiction. It could be a relational pit or it could be a situational pit. Pits come in all different sizes and shapes and our enemy knows which pits fit us best.
Whatever your pit may look like, there are some things that they all have in common. For example, when we’re in a pit:
a) We feel stuck/trapped – we can’t get out no matter how much we kick or scream or try or resist. We feel stuck.
b) We feel powerless – we are powerless to resist the enemy and his attacks. When we’re in a pit, we don’t even feel like trying.
c) We lose vision – the things which we used to see so clearly aren’t there anymore. We used to see God’s Hand in everything. We used to see hope in any situation. In a pit, all you see is darkness and despair.
Now with all that said, here is the most important thing that I hope everyone walked away with from this first session. REALITY IS NOT THE SAME AS TRUTH. I know that sounds strange so let me say it again: reality is not the same as truth. Reality is what we see; Truth is what we know.
Reality is what our eyes see. Reality says that you are in a pit and therefore your life stinks. Reality will then remind you that you’ve been in a pit for so long and you’ve failed on numerous occasions to escape and therefore the likelihood that this time will be any different is minimal. Therefore reality says there’s no hope of even trying. Reality stinks!
Truth is different. Truth is not what we see, but what we know. Truth does not deny reality, but it goes beyond reality. Reality is limited, but Truth is not. Truth factors God into the equation and therefore goes way beyond reality.
a) You are infinitely precious in God’s eyes – I just stumbled upon this verse this morning from Isaiah 43:3-5, “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”
b) You were made to live in a palace, not a pit – as long as you are the child of God, you belong in the house of God and, more specifically, at the table of God. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” Romans 8:15-17
c) Your pit is never too deep for God’s deliverance – our theme verse from the weekend was “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:1-2
Reality will contradict the above statements and give you plenty of convincing arguments. But we must stand by what we know, even when it contradicts what we see. No mistake or failure could ever make God stop loving you – look at the story of the Prodigal Son.
There was no greater failure of a son than what that boy did to his father. He abused his dad’s kindness and generosity and disrespected him in the rudest and most offensive way possible. He was dirty and filthy to behold [both literally and figuratively]. He offered no benefit to his father whatsoever and his father was probably better off without him.
But what happened when that boy decided to ignore reality [I am worthless] and instead listen to Truth [I am the son of a rich father who loves me dearly]? The end result?
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:22-24
You weren’t made to live in a pit. The first step to escaping is realizing that. It doesn’t matter how you got in or how long you’ve been there, the fact that you are reading this right now means that there’s hope for you. I promise you there’s hope. As long as you’re alive and God is alive, then there’s hope.
But the starting point is doing exactly what the Prodigal Son did. The Bible says that he “came to himself” and said “how many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?”
It’s time for you to come to the same realization. Is this how life is supposed to look? Is this how I’m always supposed to be feeling? Do I need to just accept this pit and be content with it? Or is there a chance that I can escape???
That’s up to you to answer. I know my answer. How about you? Do you accept life in your pit? Or are you going to do something about it?
Discussion: Share your thoughts about life in the pit and about Reality vs Truth.