There’s a scene in the whimsical and quirky film The Princess Bride in which some bad guys were chasing the movie’s two main characters, Princess Buttercup and Wesley. In order to escape, Buttercup and Wesley ran into the treacherous Fire Swamp. (Insert scary music and creepy feelings here.)
The Fire Swamp has three challenges: fire spurts, quicksand, and the R.O.U.S. – rodents of unusual size. (Stay with me…)
At one point in the Fire Swamp adventure, Princess Buttercup fell into a pit of dry quicksand, instantly vanishing. Her brave hero, Wesley, quickly grabbed a sturdy vine then plunged in to save his true love. Moments later both characters emerged from the quicksand gasping for breath, stunned by the events that just took place.
Life clutter can sometimes consume us just as fast and leave us gasping for breath, stunned.
When we find ourselves in the fire swamps, we ask question after question: How did this happen? How did I get here? How do I get out of this scary place? Does anyone even know I’m in this pit? Who will be my hero?
Falling into the quicksand of situational fire swamps becomes a greater risk when we run on empty. Without a doubt, I’m more vulnerable on the days when my schedule is so full that my God-time is minimized.
You probably know what it feels like to have a day filled with activity, but a heart filled with empty.
I imagine you, too, feel at times as if all you do is work, work, work and give, give, give.
You feel lonely among crowds of people and wonder if anyone really sees you or if anyone really cares.
At times, you have too many obligations, too much stress, and not enough strength.
In order to survive these pitfalls, we have to wait upon God – the One who won’t grow tired or weary.
The Lord has strength readily available for us and knows where to direct our steps.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
King David said it like this, “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. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:1-3a).
Fire swamps of life come and go. There’s really no avoiding them. We can, however, be spiritually prepared to face their challenges.
God equips us – strengthens us – as we wait on Him.
As we trust in Him.
As we dwell with Him.
Have you refueled in His presence lately? Take time to meet with God one-on-one today.
As the psalmist wrote, “Let us go to His dwelling place; let us worship at His footstool – arise, O LORD, and come to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might” (Psalm 132:7-8).
When we position ourselves in the presence of the Peace-giver and look to Him to lead and prioritize our heart matters, the strengthening begins.
Take time to consider your priorities, evaluate your online activities, and determine what life-clutter needs to stay and what needs to go.
Examine your heart, your exhaustion, and the pains of your yesterdays.
Take an honest and, possibly, uncomfortable look at the material, emotional, social, and relationship clutter that keeps you from the freedom that God intends for you to experience.
Then – once you eliminate what you don’t need – renew and rejuvenate your soul space with what you do need: spiritual disciplines like a daily quiet time, personal worship, and God’s Word.
Are you ready?
Ready to move to a fresh place of soul rest and spirit strength?
Ready to simplify your faith and press on to become the woman that Jesus is really calling you to be?
I know I am.
Let the strengthening begin.
I need You. Please help me sift through the things in my heart, my mind, and even the things on my calendar. Thank you for being the source of all the strength I ever need. Lead me with Your Spirit today.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
Are there obligations in your life that could be eliminated? Take a few moments to consider your schedule and your circumstances. What needs to stay and what needs to go? Make a list and then make an action plan.
Now, GO be STRONG, girl!
Let’s grow stronger together! Studying the Bible is important to help you know and trust God more. It equips you with His power, presence, perspective and peace. It informs your emotions, increases courage, decreases doubt, and bolsters believing.
Don’t let thoughts like, “I don’t know what to read,” “I don’t understand what I’m reading,” or “I just don’t have the time” keep you from going after what you truly know your heart and soul needs.
JOIN Girlfriends in God cofounder Gwen Smith for an inductive online Bible study that can be done in the comfort of your home and in a time-frame that fits with your personal schedule. Her next Psalm Adventure is a 5-week study that begins on March 1, 2020.
Register now for the FREE online study.