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At the End of You

If you are saying “I can’t handle this. I can’t control this. I don’t have answers.” It sounds like you may be at the end of you.  How do you get from there to admitting, “It’s okay that I’m not okay.” There’s a lot of work involved.

That “at the end of you” feeling coupled with ongoing recovery work towards sexual integrity or for saving your marriage can feel overwhelming.

We pray this episode comes alongside you. Listen in as we turn to Psalm 131 and find an invitation to go beyond the practical day-to-day work towards recovery and go beyond the end of you. Your Heavenly Father wants more than recovery for you. He also wants wholeness for you and with you.

Josh and Kit point out the invitation to be small in the midst of big anxiety and temptation. We need to be willing to understand some of the ways we haven’t been able to humble ourselves, then surrender to God and trust Him with these big things. This is deep, inner work – releasing your ability to fix it and your grip on a fixed outcome to a God you may not trust in this moment.

Your Heavenly Father wants more for you; becoming whole means going beyond existing, peace does not come from an outcome and when you find yourself at the end of you, if you’re heart is willing; you will find God.

Highlights:

At some point in time, in any given tragic situation in life we come to the end of ourselves. And we have to admit that.

Pain and our ability to feel pain is a gift from God because it alerts us that there is a problem.

What does it look like to be at the end of yourself? I can’t manage this. I can’t control this. I don’t have answers.

Homework:

Quiet yourself now. Invite God’s presence in & pray this invitation to be small.

Psalm 131

A song of ascents.

My heart is not proud, Lord,

    my eyes are not haughty;

I do not concern myself with great matters

    or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed and quieted myself,

    I am like a weaned child with its mother;

    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord

    both now and forevermore.

A Prayer: “Lord what do I need? How do I need to understand who I am and how I respond? How do I learn to trust you and believe you and your promises more than I want this circumstance or outcome?

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:02
We believe there’s a difference between those who are able to endure over the long haul. And those who end up quitting the journey. They’re on those who experienced peace in the midst of real hardship, and those who are just filled with anxiety and turmoil all the time. And that matters so much in our area of ministry. And the difference between those two, those two groups is very basic. On one hand, it’s kind of a Christianity one on one thing, but it’s also very, very hard. And so it’s something that that great saints wrestle with, too. And we’re going to talk about that today. But before we get into that, we wanted just to name some of the hard things where what we’re going to talk about today makes such a difference. So one of the things that comes to mind for me right off the top of the bat is those who are wrestling with an ongoing, habitual sexual sin and who they want to stop. They’re trying, they’re doing what they can, but they keep finding themselves falling we’re talking about today matters deeply for them. What other what other categories come up for you, Kip, and I’ve got some well, too, but

Kit 1:09
yeah, you know, just how painful so many relationships can be including marriage and a woman and meet with so many women who have lost hope that you know, that their marriage can be healed from the infidelity from the betrayal. And it’s just too painful, sometimes they just cannot imagine or find any way to find peace in that.

Josh 1:35
And I found that happens for on the other side is I guess you’re they’re doing their best there maybe even have abstain from pornography or whatever their their sexual behavior, then they’re devoted, they’re trustworthy, but the wife still does not trust. And there’s, that’s a whole nother podcast, but, but that’s another area that what we’re gonna talk about today makes such a difference.

Kit 1:57
And women, you know, their own struggle, you know, women struggle to with pornography, and infidelity. And, and, and sometimes they’re like, gosh, I just I don’t know how to get a handle on this. Women who are acting out in and hooking up, and just you keep saying, I’m not going to do that anymore, or I’m not going to stay in this emotional, abusive, verbally abusive relationship anymore. And then they stay and they can’t find their way out all those things.

Josh 2:28
And then I think, of course, the so many parents that we talked to whose is their prodigal, in one way or another, those who are have embraced transgenderism, or in a gay relationship, or moved in with boyfriend, girlfriend about being married. Just the heartache that the Christian parents can experience when they’re kind of like, you know, in that situation, wanting their their kids to making different choices. So wherever you are, as you’re listening, that we know, we could go on and on about these difficult situations. But but here’s here’s where we want to start, as we talked about this, this thing that’s going to help you to endure, to experience peace, etc, etc, in the midst of the difficulty. And we want to start by by reading Psalm 131, as we as we dive into this, so could you read that for us, and then we’re gonna unpack it and kind of hopefully offer some hope and guidance to those listening.

Kit 3:23
Oh, Lord, my heart is not lifted up. My eyes are not raised too high. I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me, oh, Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

Josh 3:51
So, if you’re like me, you can help to to actually see the words in front of you and not just to hear them. So if you’re listening and feel free to pause it, and and Google Psalm 131, or pull out your Bible and read Psalm 131. It is such a marvelous Psalm and as you read it kit I find myself both feeling invited, and desiring and also feeling honestly some anxiousness and some discomfort. But why don’t you connect the dots? What does this have to do with what we’re talking about today? And just the long journey, the difficult pieces of the journey? How are these How are these connected to Psalm 131?

Kit 4:31
You know, we all do come to the end of ourselves in this life journey. It’s too painful for us. It’s too much for us. And but but we don’t, but we don’t always surrender it. We don’t always come to that point and say it’s too much for me. I can’t we just keep trying to control it and manage it. And this song, basically, I remember the first time one of the first times I read it, I was like, Well, I don’t think what does this mean don’t occupy my myself with things to great and to marvelous for me and i didn’t realize it was this humbling it was this humbling this this ability to say i can’t do this and i need god and i need to humble myself like a child like a weaned child i need to just rest and and and give up and and open myself to who god is and what he has for me here instead of all the other ways that i’m trying to cope and of course this is this is elusive and it comes in a moment and then it can be gone but i think what we’re trying to say today is it is a reality it is a truth we can touch that place we can touch that place with god and it can be very very powerful

Josh 5:59
than one of the hard things in in a journey towards sexual integrity towards marital recovery towards a good relationship with someone who’s living a very differently than you’d want them to and so much else in the world you know the our political situation the sicknesses around us whatever i mean is that we are we are relatively small compared to the complications the troubles the problems that we encounter and part of what i hear in the psalm is an invitation to be small like a weaned child wrestling against god and and we’re also not called to just be happy passive or inactive in life we are invited into god’s kingdom work and called to pray etc etc there’s a tension between those and and i find in my own life a tension between kind of restless activism and which is not healthy and trusting movement which is which is healthy you know doing what i can with faith with a spirit of rest anyway but i did want to ask you kitt like what what do you mean we just went through all these difficult situations so i’m imagining you sitting in your office with let me just you know for example with with a wife whose husband is has been unfaithful and it’s been she’s just discovered that for 10 years he’s he’s had a few affairs and he’s been looking at pornography on a regular basis she’s learned this just maybe you know a few months ago and and they’re in just an agonizingly difficult place sorting through all sorts of practical things about you know him getting into recovery and her learning more and more the truth and what are they going to tell the kids and are they gonna get separated etc etc where does this fit they’re weird i mean yeah he really quiet yourself like a weaned child in the midst of that like just yeah what are you doing here

Kit 8:15
you know at some point in time in any given tragic situation in life we come to the end of ourselves and we have to kind of admit that and it’s hard

Josh 8:27
to know what you mean but at the end of ourselves. At the end of you

Kit 8:29
well like gosh you know what i don’t i can’t manage this i can’t control this i don’t have answers and accepting that and then and then also saying what what what do i need how do i need to understand who i am and how i respond how do i how do i learn to trust you and believe you and your promises more than i want this circumstance more than i want this outcome and that you know there’s a place when you kind of get to the point where you’re like you know it’s okay that it’s that it’s not okay which is really hard for us to say right with children and marriage but we say you know what god you know what if you’re if what you say is true about who you are and your promises to me are true and you’re with me in this maybe it’s okay that it’s not okay maybe i can accept that it’s not okay help me to get there and help me to understand who you are and who i am to you so that i can get there

Josh 9:36
so i hear two things that you’re saying one is is this okay so and pain and our ability to feel pain is a gift from god because it alerts us that there’s a problem so i put my hand on the on a hot burner on my stove pain sensors in my hand tell me to you know alert me without without even you know split second to pull your hand away. So all these situations we’re talking about are painful situations. And so there are mechanisms in us that say, let me fix it. You know, let’s make it better.

Kit 10:11
Right?

Josh 10:12
And we can’t shut those down. I mean that that is a that’s a reality. Yeah, yet some of what we want to fix, we find we cannot fix somebody fix, we cannot fix as quickly as we wish we could fix it, including if I just put my hand on the stove. But but certainly the excessive situation we’re talking about. Yeah. And the other thing I heard you, you mentioned in here, really, I think comes down to an eye can’t remember how you put it exactly. But am I going to keep insisting on the outcome I want, as the only thing that will settle me down, that will the only thing that will get me to rest, the only is my going to save, that’s my source of peace, when that happens, then I will rest then it will be at peace? Or am I going to say, God, you are my peace? Yeah, and not just say it, but live that out. And there’s the challenge for I think for me, and I think for a lot of us,

Kit 11:08
and it’s not a matter of mustering it up, I’m going to believe it, I’m going to believe it does have to do, I believe with a process of allowing God into those inner places in us which are hurt, and are scared. And the lies that we believe about who we are or who God is. And there is an inner work with God that we need to be willing to do to understand some of the ways that we haven’t been able to humble ourselves and surrender to God. And trust him with these things. There are many, many different ways and through our young life, and you know, childhood and adolescence and on where we learned some things that keep us from that. And that’s going to be a process that’s involved in this.

Josh 12:06
I think I think some people started to want to respond, and some people will hear what you’re saying and their brains may go to. It’s It sounds like you’re telling me that what i what i want here is not okay, like, but doesn’t God want my marriage healed? Does he doesn’t single and I wish I was married? Doesn’t God, just think God wants a spouse? For me? It’s not good for people to be alone. I’ve been struggling with this for five years, I’m still following my addictive behavior doesn’t God want me to get better? So respond to that

Kit 12:34
kid? Well, I think I think absolutely. And we live in a broken world. And so so yes, we never want to give up hope for what God wants for goodness and redemption and, and healthy, full of love marriages, where there’s trust and respect. And in this current broken world, there’s going to be brokenness and shades of of things not working the way they ultimately will, when we you know, when Jesus comes and things are ordered, and again, so it has to be both, you know, we have to be like, okay, yeah, I don’t want to ever give up hope. And I also want to be willing to accept that there’s brokenness and that God will be with me in it. And so I can have peace, even if the outcome of what I really want isn’t there. In this moment,

Josh 13:29
yeah. And listeners I, I hope, I hope you’re, you’re here in our hearts in this that we I mean, we’re our ministry exists in large part because we absolutely believe that that fundamental, radical, miraculous transformation in our lives is possible. And we on the journey, however long that is, you will fare better, you will, you will be healthier as you go. When you can, I should say we because we are all in this when we can quiet our souls and and seek God as as our primary source of peace, goodness and life. Another way another angle, if I could of looking at this is I think sometimes when when difficulty strikes, it exposes our idols. Oh, yeah. So yeah. For the for the guy who’s been found out that he’s been looking at pornography, like one of the idols is going to come up for him, maybe the image that he’s projected to everybody else in his life, or it may be his own, controlling his schedule and his finances. He’s the one in charge. Now he’s being asked to open up and be more vulnerable in that part of his life. Yeah, for some it might be, you know, I idolized my kids. Yeah, I wanted them to turn out a certain way so that I could be a grandparent and maybe that’s idolizing the you know that the idea of a certain kind of Christmas morning when you know that we’d all read the scriptures scriptures together and you and your husband and your Christian kids would, you know, gather, we’d all reflect on what a great Christian parent I was, whatever it may be, but it those

Kit 15:13
are very real things, Josh, that we all don’t know, we’ve set ourselves up for either. We don’t know how much we have.

Josh 15:20
Yeah, the designer, the desire may be very good, but it sometimes feels like it can be a short step between the good desire and idolizing the outcome of that desire. Oh, yeah, part of describing this. And I think part of what the song is about, and part of that, I don’t, I don’t involve myself in matters too great for me is to say, Lord, courses what I want, but come what may I trust you, I choose you, you are my source. Right?

Kit 15:51
Absolutely. And, you know, we’re also never going to arrive, even as we even as we find healing in in some of these areas of our life, you know, in a sexual struggle. And we praise God for that. We’re not going to never need God, again, we’re not going to ever we’re not going to not struggle again, we will always continue to heal in different ways through this throughout our whole life. Yeah. So there is no arrival. And so to be able to look to God and do and to know that things are going to come and they’re going to knock us over. It’s just it, that’s the way it is. And, and God’s gonna be there in ways that we will understand deeper and deeper if we, if we allow him in, you know, and so it’s not easy. We’re not saying Oh, and so once you’ve figured this out, everything’s gonna be great and easy, and they’ll be fine. No, it’s not going to be it’s going to be challenging, it’s going to be painful and hard. And there’s going to be moments of incredible. Just peace that, okay, even when things aren’t, how I wanted them to be. I’m okay. I’m okay.

Josh 17:07
I was on a prayer walk the other day, just so I can sound a little bit pious, I was on a prayer walk. Very rare, farewell. But I was I was just lamenting to God about some things that I’m really nervous about, I’m really concerned about I’m really concerned about the state of our world, I’m really concerned about some political things that are happening that that could have real detriment to families, and to people of faith. And and as I as I was just kind of bringing this before the Lord, I just had this, this, I don’t know how to describe it, except to say it was a sense of things, the Holy Spirit, just this reminder that all good things come from God. And that there’s nothing that can be taken away from us. That that, that we won’t ultimately find again in him that we can’t find in him. There’s nothing lost, that he can’t either replace, or recover. There’s nothing that can break beyond his ability to repair. There’s no wound that he can’t heal. And that is nearly unbelievable. I mean, I can give you a list of things that I go, I don’t know if that happened, that I’m not sure. Except that it’s true. Yeah. And the picture I had was almost like, if, if I’m holding a certain basket of things that are in my, you know, that God’s given me and someone comes along and knocks that basket and you know, three fourths of those things fall out. Way down somewhere there is ground of the reality of God and nothing I lose can fall beyond that ground he is he is the source He is our foundation, there’s nothing there’s there’s no there’s no pit that doesn’t end with with God. And he is it does that make sense?

Kit 18:56
And you know, Josh, we don’t get to that place of being able to embrace and be and all that mystery, just by existing. There is a there is a willingness to open ourselves up to who that is. Whether it means you, you slow down and you spend time appreciating the your child’s smile, or you slow down and you you know notice people who need a helping hand or you see God and nature or you if it this, what you’re describing about who God is, is something we do need to open ourselves up to. It doesn’t just come and as long as we continue to and I’ll say I as long as I continue to put my hope in finite things. Marriage, children, material things my career right ministry, I will always be Dangerous slope. And it’s it’s really our hope only can come in this infinite beautiful wondrous, marvelous God that we that we hopefully will always continue to learn about, because that’s where our hope comes from.

Josh 20:17
Yeah, there’s a loosening of our grip on those things. So they they cease to be idols. And interestingly, I mean, on a practical level, I think when we loosen our grip, and put our, the, you know, our our hope for all that we desire in God. We’re actually more able to do the do the hard work of the Yes.

Kit 20:38
Oh, gosh, yes,

Josh 20:40
absolutely. So So for those who are listening, so we’re, we’re about out of time, but for those listening, I said at the beginning, is vitally important. foundational Christianity 101. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, that means everything. And yet it is also can be really, really hard, especially when we’re going through difficult times. Like so many people who come to regeneration are so wherever you find yourself in this, please know, please know that wherever you are, there’s not a journey you have to take to get to where God is. Part of our hope in this is and I think part of the hope of this Psalm is we quiet ourselves down and can even discover in the midst of this what you’re saying before, this is in the midst of where we are in the me not okay place we are okay, because he is present with us. So if that sounds like Christian cliche, it’s because it’s been cliche, but it’s nonetheless true. So good. Any final words before I close in prayer?

Kit 21:49
Yeah, I mean, I think that is always our concern. And when we talked about this, before we started to record that, you know, this isn’t, these aren’t just empty promises, like, Oh, do this, and you’ll be fine. And these are really deep, mysterious things that are true. And so we want to talk about that, because I believe in you believe and we believe that, you know, as we open ourselves to God, amazing things happen. And, and that doesn’t mean that the will then will arrive someplace where we won’t have pain. But we’ll get more and more assured that God is with us in every aspect of life when it’s painful, and that there’s a lot to be said for that.

Josh 22:33
Yeah, yeah. For me, I think I keep coming back to the cross and resurrection. Because Yeah, if Jesus went there, and he comes with me in the crosses, that I bear in the death side die. Yeah, so that I can be raised. Yeah. Well, I’m gonna close this prayer. I’m going to I’m going to read back through Psalm 131. But I’m going to read it as a prayer. So I’m going to change the words. just invite you to pray with me. Lord, please, help our hearts not to be proud. Our eyes hottie. Help us not to involve ourselves in great matters or things too difficult for us. or help us to compose and quiet our soul. Like a weaned child rests against his mother or make our souls like a weaned child within us. Lord, help us to hope in You, Lord, from this time forth and forever. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit we pray, Amen.

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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