Well, that explains the wrestling singlet…

When it comes to spiritual gifts, I see many people in my life rocking things like undeniable faith, abundant generosity, unwavering teaching, and fearless leadership.  There are other notable people in my life that possess the warmth of unending hospitality, joyfilled encouragement, and powerful counsel.

Me?  Oh…well {humble shrug}, I’ve got one of those gifts that you don’t read much about.  It’s the gift of sporting a wrestling singlet.

{Note: Not actually me.  In case there was any doubt…}

I’m fairly certain that if I am to ever have open heart surgery, they will be shocked to see a wrestling ring instead of the usual 4-chambered organ nestled in my chest cavity.  The surgeon will pull down his mask, raise his eyebrow and say to the operating team, “Well, that explains the singlet.” 

Several weeks ago, my heart was wrestling with some things, as it often does.  I was driving through the New Mexico desert for work, as I often am.  And my gas tank was nearing “E” as it often is.  Dodging tumbleweed, I pulled into a small, roadside station to fill up and looked out at the long road that laid ahead of me.  Dry, deserted, untraveled; similar to the territory that my heart was in.  As my rental car rolled back onto the highway, I rolled out the wrestling mat in my heart and got to work.  Skipping the warm-up and stretches, I jumped straight into the ring.

Talking out loud to God, I could feel movement in my heart stirring…the wrestling match had begun.  There were some desires of my heart that were not being given to me.  There were some answers in life I was being given that I didn’t like.  There were situations I was in that weren’t going the way I had planned.  And the hardest one to swallow?  There was nothing I could do to control the situations.  It was OUT of my control.  No fair, I wanted to say.  But I knew that sounded childish, so I just flexed my biceps and jumped back in the ring.

Unfortunately for me, there is nothing scary or threatening about my biceps.  Seeing me in a singlet?  Well, that’s another story…

I kicked off the desert conversation with one simple request from the Lord.  It was honest, genuine, heartfelt…like a young child in need, looking to their daddy for strength.  “Lord,” I said, “I need you to remind me who I am today.  I need you to affirm me as your daughter, to comfort me and remind me of TRUTHFUL things about who I am.”  I did not think this was an unreasonable request.  Yet, in that dry, deserted, untraveled place of my heart, I was surprised to feel a flip inside…suddenly, I took a Forearm Hook Arm Spin to the mat {thank you Google for the wrestling lingo}.  My challenger?  God himself.  And he was gently, but firmly saying, “No, sweet Jen.  Not today.  Today YOU must remind ME of who I am.” 

But…{wrestling}…but…{wrestling}…ALL I need from you right now is a LITTLE word of encouragement.  I’m the WEAK ONE here, remember?  I’m the one struggling! 

{crickets chirping}...So out of the dryness of my heart, I began to slowly stammer out encouraging words and affirmations to God, reminding Him who He is.

I told him that in the Bible, people called him the master Healer.  The Master Physician; his touch is filled with power like none other.  He searches and knows all things in our hearts, even what we do not and cannot see for ourselves.  He is a gifted story-teller, the author of this book called “My Life.”  He knows the beginning, the middle, the end…and how the climactic moments of defeat, pain and unknowns lead to a Beautiful Ending.  He is also called Counselor – digging deep inside of me, offering to mold my mind.  He is also nicknamed, “friend of sinners”…that constant to those who do not, or have not, walked the straight and narrow. 

Over the next hour on the road, reminder after reminder of WHO GOD IS spilled out of my mouth, as healing tears spilled down my face.  And black mascara…and snot…while wearing a singlet.  Believe me, there was nothing hot about that mess.

I wish I could describe how light I felt after that hour.  No longer in the Heavyweight Wrestling Category, I realized that wrestling with God also seems to be a phenomenal calorie burner.  Noted.

Driving into that desert, I began with the desire to hear God tell me who I am.  To affirm and encourage the woman that he created me to be.  What I was missing out on, however, was the Truth that I alone am nothing.  I, alone, possess no good things.  The very words I wanted to hear from God about myself, could not be said, because they don’t exist without Him.  The beautiful thing about my relationship with God that I find myself constantly relearning, is that the less of ME there is, a better ME I become.

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.  John 3:30

Even as this hit me, I knew there was something even deeper.  It only took a moment of wrestling with these thoughts to hear so clearly:  LET YOUR STRUGGLES BE FOR MY GLORY.  Not: I’ll help you get rid of your struggles…or trusting in me will take away your struggle…or if you truly believed in me, you surely would not have struggles.  No, none of those.  Simply, AS you struggle, AS you wrestle, let them be for.my.glory.

“Well that’s kind of selfish, don’t you think?  I wrestled back.  I mean, I know you’re God and you can do what you want…but that doesn’t seem right.  It doesn’t seem right that my heart hurts and you’re like, ‘Uh, who cares, as long as I’m getting glory!'”

God’s turn:  “Jen…didn’t you know?  I designed your heart…I designed the HUMAN heart.  And there is one thing that you must know.  The ONLY WAY for a human heart to be fully satisfied, is when it is bringing me glory.  THAT is it’s design.  Allow your life to bring me glory…through the hurt, the pain, the good days, bad days, and each one of your desires…and as it does, your heart was designed to experience FULL and COMPLETE satisfaction.  When the Glory is all Mine…the satisfaction is all yours.” 

When the Glory is all Mine…the satisfaction is all yours.

And that’s when, with one swift Top Secret God Move, he pinned me to the mat.  {ONE, TWO, THREE}  And won.  I could not argue with that as I wept.  You’re right, I thought.  My heart isn’t satisfied even when I have all the answers…it’s not satisfied when a situation resolves and good comes from the hard, as there is always another mountain to tackle.  And even though I want to think that being in control will satisfy me…it never, ever does.  You’re right.  In my very being, deep in the core of who I was designed to be, I can only be truly satisfied when my life – no matter what I face – is bringing God glory.

It was in the New Mexico desert that I learned this profound truth.  It was back in Denver just three days later that I forgot it again, and found myself back in the ring, wrestling the same Challenger.  Like I said, {humble shrug}, I’ve got one of those gifts that you don’t read much about: the gift of sporting a wrestling singlet.  Lucky for me, losing always works in my favor.

6 comments On Well, that explains the wrestling singlet…

  • I loved this! Thank you for the reminder!!!

  • This is exactly what I needed today.

  • Amazing. God speaks through you, girl! Oh how I wish I lived in Denver so we could go out for coffee (and I could see you sporting that wrestling singlet…wait…maybe just the coffee part) 🙂 This post was just perfect timing (but, as you said, this wrestling match happens often…so it will be perfect timing once again in a couple days) 🙂

  • Thanks Jenni. Very well timed words! (Also, you have many spiritual gifts)

    Love you!!

  • This is awesome!!! If we didn’t live across the country we would DEFINITELY be friends!!! Keep allowing God to work through your beautiful heart (singlet and all!!!) God Bless 🙂

  • barbara Holmberg

    Jen,

    Thanks so much for this post! I think I just might have the same “gift” as you!

    I have been to what seems like hundreds of wrestling matches and you did a great job with the vocab!

    I just wanted to encourage you to submit some of your writing somewhere. You are a talented writer—one who touches the heart in a crazy, funny way!

    barb

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