“I’m not doing good,” I said to Matt as he settled into bed next to me.
“I know,” he responded, pulling me close.
“It feels like I just keep getting knocked down.” I let my tears fall to my pillow. “Why can’t I be like one of those weebles? They wobble but they don’t fall down. Do you know what I’m talking about?”
I felt Matt nod.
“It feels like when I get knocked down, it takes me so long to get back up. I’m just not strong enough.”
I imagined my tear stained face on the world’s slowest weeble… getting knocked over quickly, but instead of popping back up, I lay flat on my back for a few days before slowly rising over a week or so.
Full disclosure: This is truly what life has looked like lately. I’ve spent the better part of the last three weeks in bed. Over the past several years, I have adopted sleep as one of my coping strategies. I wish I could force myself to take a walk or read a book. But, when I am overwhelmed with negative thinking, I curl up in my dark room and sleep. When I’m sleeping I’m safe. Safe from my thoughts and honestly safe from harming myself in any way.
When several storms of life hit all at once last month, I retreated to my bed. I stuck to my weekly therapy sessions. I continued to take my medications. But that didn’t stop the string of bad days. I felt defeated… frustrated that I wasn’t strong enough to handle these storms.
Slowly, I’m starting to get back on my feet. I’m adding in time with friends, writing, and exercise which all increases my energy and fills my time with something positive.
However, I know it won’t be the last time I get knocked down by life.
Early this week, God brought me to a familiar passage that hit me in a whole new way.
“We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
2 Corinthians 4:7-9.
As I read this passage, I realized God doesn’t ask me to pop back up instantly after I am struck down. He knows I am fragile, as fragile as a jar of clay. He doesn’t expect me to act as if the hurt never happened. But he gives me the strength to survive. To not be destroyed each time I am knocked down.
The truth is, I am getting stronger. On my bad days, I am able to fulfill my commitments. I am learning to challenge my negative thinking instead of letting it cement into my identity. And I am able to get up, even if it’s not as fast as I would like.
It could be tempting to claim I am strong enough to do all that on my own. But I’m not.
I’m not strong enough. I am not resilient enough. But that’s okay, because God is.
When we feel “hard pressed,” “perplexed,” “persecuted,” “abandoned,” and “struck down,” God gives us his strength to get to the other side of all of that. We don’t need to feel frustrated with ourselves, because it is an opportunity for God to show up like only he can.
Also, there is no timeline that indicates what we are worth based on how quickly we get up when we do get knocked down. There is no referee hovering over us, counting down to our defeat, as if we are in a boxing match. No, in our corner is our Heavenly Father, who willingly offers his surpassing power. He reaches out to us in our fragility and offers his strength to survive the storm. His power is made perfect in our weakest moments.
In our brokenness his light shines through.
So, maybe it’s okay if I’m the world’s slowest weeble. It’s okay if it takes me a while to get back up. Because it is in that time I know it is not my strength pulling me up, but HIS.
More verses for when you feel knocked down by life -
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Micah 7:8
“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I remember them and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” Lamentations 3:19-24
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me up out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” Psalm 18:32
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29