Published Sep 29, 2022
By Sheila Walsh
I’ve been trying to follow a healthy eating plan of one kind or another for about 40 years. In my 20s and 30s, I could eat balanced meals and drop a few pounds. Now things are a little different.
What I really need to do is add exercise to my daily routine. But every time I join a gym, I never go. So I thought having an incline treadmill machine at home would be my breakthrough.
Day one went well, but on day two, I was very sore. Not wanting to overdo it, I decided it would be best to rest.
Unfortunately, that little “rest” lasted for about five years! Then the pandemic hit in 2020, and after weeks of binge-watching The Great British Baking Show on the sofa, I realized I needed to try again. I pressed the “start” button on the treadmill … but it did nothing. No movement at all. I pressed it again — nothing.
Finding the manual, I attempted everything suggested in the troubleshooting section to no avail. I even called the customer service number. The certified advisor on the other end asked me this simple question: “Is your unit plugged in to the wall?”
Thanking him profusely, I hung up even as I could hear my husband laughing in the background. After plugging in the treadmill and hitting “start,” off I went. I felt a surge of hope as I started to go faster and raised the incline. It was then that I flew off the machine, hit the bedroom wall and broke my toe. More rest required.
What I have found on my own journey is that I mess up a lot. It’s one thing to mess up with your exercise plan, but what do you do when it’s something bigger in life? Family, friends, job, church, your relationship with God. Some days are much harder than others, but I’ve found a few things that have helped me find my way back to hope on some darker, messy days. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
Make peace with your story and remember that you are not your past. You can be real and vulnerable with God. Give Him all of your broken pieces. The great news is that God can do beautiful things with a broken life when you give Him all the pieces. Remember this truth from our key verse, 2 Samuel 22:21: “GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him.”
Replace shame with grace. Shame doesn’t belong to you even when you think it does; Christ took it all on Himself on the cross. If you’re feeling like you should be doing something differently, something more — like you shouldn’t feel this way or you should be able to handle it on your own — those “should” words are red flags for shame. Leave those thoughts and feelings at the cross, and replace them with your Father’s grace.
Re-wallpaper your mind. Let go of past labels you’ve put on yourself and lay your pain at the feet of Christ. We’ve all messed up, and that’s why Jesus came. Find a promise from God’s Word to counter every lie you’ve believed about yourself. For instance, replace “I am not good enough for God” with the truth of Hebrews 10:14: “For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy” (NLT).
In my darkest days, long before my treadmill debacle, I was tempted to give up on myself … and I don’t want you to. The bottom line for every one of us is that God is still writing our stories. Your story is not over yet. The missing pieces of your puzzle are in the safest hands of all, even if you can’t see them right now. How do I know that? That’s who He is. That’s His story.
Your mess is not too big for God. Take all your pieces to the One who loves you most.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I can bring all the broken pieces of my life to You. Thank You that my mess is not too big for You. Thank You for loving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.