Do you remember the old carnival funhouses? You know, back in the day before they sort of creeped you out? Moving floors, shaking walls, distorting mirrors, mazes of glass, made us giggle as we fumbled our way through the features. As we reached the end, our sides hurt from the laughter brought forth as we overcame the obstacles.
Sometimes life feels like you are in a funhouse minus the fun. The floor is shaking and the walls are moving, but it brings forth feelings of fear, anxiety, and dread; giggles are hard to find as you struggle to keep your balance. The mirrors around you begin to reflect distorted images, and you begin to lose sight of who you are. The mazes of glass begin to make you feel as if there is no end to the un-fun you are dealing with. You begin to feel as though you can't find your way out. I have to admit that I sometimes feel like I am in the UnFun House, but here are some lessons I am learning.
Lesson One: Sometimes it feels like the floor is falling out from under you; your very foundation seems shaken. In times like this you have to do two things. 1) Grab hold of something secure, and 2) Keep moving. Let's explore those ideas a little more. When selecting what you will grab hold of, you have to be very careful. If you grab onto something unstable and movable, it will be of no benefit to you. Joshua 34:8 says, "But you are to hold fast to the LORD your God, as you have until now." He never moves; he never changes. When you grab onto him you have a foundation to stand upon and that foundation will hold strong even though the "house" may shake. "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27. Hold tight to God, and though the floors shake, the house will stand! My second piece of advice is KEEP MOVING! The only way out of your UnFun House is forward. You can't go back in time and sitting in pity will get you no where so grab the rail (God) and get moving! You may still feel fear, you may still feel sorrow, the walls and floors may still be shaking, but you are getting closer and closer to the end of the trial! Don't stop now!
Lesson Two: The UnFun House has mirrors that reflect back images of you and your situation. As you look around you right now, you may be judging yourself and your situation by the reflections you see in the life's mirrors. Situations seem out of balance; you appear broken and disfigured. Your scars appear exaggerated, and you may feel like no one could ever love a mess like you. Those are LIES! Remember this, those mirrors that are distorting your reflection are liars. When you are in the UnFun House, you have to see your situation and yourself as God sees you, not as the mirrors portray you. God sees the impossible as possible. He sees the broken as beautiful. You are His child and he loves you. He knows how He is going to use this rough time to do something beautiful in you and for you. Do not stand around admiring the problem in the reflection of warped mirrors. Keep your eyes on your reflection in Him and once again, KEEP MOVING!
Lesson Three: Some rooms in the UnFun House are made of glass walls. As you try to find your way out, you bump into invisible barriers that seem to hold you captive, but there is a way out. I have two pieces of advice: 1) Let God guide you and 2) you guessed it, KEEP MOVING! The bible says,"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." I don't know about you, but I do not understand my current situation, but I can rest secure that God does. I don't know how to get out of this maze, but God does. If we are wise, we will trust him and follow. Both steps are necessary. If I trust Him, but don't follow, I am stuck. If I am moving, but not trusting Him to guide me, I am going to face plant into an invisible barrier. We have a guide that can get us out of this maze of trials. All we have to do is follow.
Lesson Four: At some point in the UnFun House you begin to feel like you are never going to find the exit, but I promise you it is up ahead. There is a season to everything. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. You and I may be in a season of struggle, but everything that starts also has to end. Don't lose hope. KEEP MOVING!
This morning I read this verse: "I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure," Psalms 16:8-9. I immediately had this image of this UnFun House and how the struggle can make me feel like I am at the mercy of my surroundings, but that isn't true. If my focus shifts to the floor, the mirrors, and the walls of my struggle, I will be shaken, but if I keep my eyes on the Lord, I am secure! I choose to keep my eyes on the Lord. With Him beside me I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN so I am glad and I will sing. My body is secure!!! I am going to be like Olivia Newton John in the movie Grease and put on my high heels and stomp right through this stinking UnFun House (Minus the cigarette, leather pants, and big hair!) and sing to my God, "You're the One That I Want!" (Okay, if that last reference went right over your head you're going to just have to go watch the movie. Perhaps I dated myself with that one!)