Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” – Genesis 32:26 – 28 (NRSV)
I would like to report that I have chosen a noble endeavor to go with motherhood…TV. I never turned the TV on during the day before I had a baby, but feeding an infant who likes to rest periodically has made me happy for the interaction. Admittedly, I could have read a tremendous amount or improved my knowledge of the arts, but instead I have been watching re-runs of The Biggest Loser.
(Subconsciously, I could be counting on the rays from my television to motivate me back into my pre-pregnancy body. This is poor planning on my part.)
On one of the episodes, I heard Jillian yelling at one of the contestants, “You have to fix the inside before you can fix the outside.” I heard it loud and clear. It made me think about goals that I have discarded because they do not seem possible any longer, even some spiritual goals that I thought belonged to a time and place.
We all have something on the inside that has told us, “Not you, not now: you need to give that dream up.” Do you remember your New Year’s resolution? Will you make the same one next year?
Those unfulfilled desires come out for periodic stirrings. We feel the regret and guilt of misspent possibility and put them back on the shelf, saying that it belonged to a younger woman, one without children, without bills and without years of baggage. Save yourself, and forgo the impossible because it will never be a reality.
Do you have impossible dreams? Losing weight. Learning to dance. Traveling. Memorizing scripture. Having a clean house. Starting a charity. Speaking publicly. Writing. Volunteering. A blessing.
The list goes on.
I am learning that sometimes you have to wrestle. It is hard to wrestle yourself and other people because we are flawed. It is even harder to wrestle with God because He is perfectly out of our control, but God is also the impossible. And, sometimes He wants us to ask, to beg, to wrestle. We need to be in the way, striving underfoot until we prevail in light of His chosen blessing.
When I look at Jacob, I see this tenacious man that did not let go. Do I want anything that much? Do you?
Just like Jacob wrestled all night and into the morning, God wants us to break the tension of our discarded dreams, discarded goals, and discarded desires with Him. We have a tendency to turn to food, romance novels, our cell phones, church activities, the gym, gossip and shopping to break the tension of an unresolved past. For some reason, we don’t resolve the tension with the Maker of dreams and the Creator of time.
You have to fix the inside to fix the outside.
Pray for the courage to wrestle with some old dreams and see what moments can you influence today.