By Bridget Foy

            I love this time of year. It’s a time where families come together and celebrate the holidays. When families come together, there are often meals shared, games played, and stories from our childhoods retold, reminisced, and laughed about. One story in particular that my family often brings up this time of year is a story my uncle tells. There really isn’t much to the story and it still perplexes me as to why my family finds this story so funny. But apparently, when I was about 3 years old, I was riding my tricycle out on the sidewalk in front of our house. My grandparents lived across the street and at the time, my uncle also lived with them. One day, my uncle was walking across the street to come to our house and he saw me outside riding my tricycle. I guess I was trying to set some sort of toddler world record for the fastest turn around a corner on a tricycle. I rode back and forth with all of my might as if the fate of the world depended on how fast I could make my tricycle go. But as I turned the corner, I completely wiped out. It was the toddler equivalent of a motorcycle crash complete with road rash, a skinned knee, and rocks stuck to my hands. My uncle stood watching and waiting to see if I was going to start crying like most little girls do when they get hurt. Nope! Absolutely not! I got up and started kicking the tar out of my tricycle and yelling at it for being a “stupid piece of junk.” My uncle just about died laughing. To this day, my family still continues to tell this story over and over again about how “Bridget was such a tough little kid. She never cried.”

            Over the past year and 5 months, God has issued me a challenge. The challenge has been to learn to run to my Heavenly Father when I’m hurt. It’s as if God has knelt down to that little girl on the sidewalk, looked her in the eyes, opened his arms, and has said, “it’s okay to come to me.” The way this challenge has been issued is that I have been encouraged to stop turning to other things when I’m stressed, hurt, scared, anxious, etc. Some of us turn to things like video games to escape to a virtual reality, some vent to others as if to regain a sense of justice by having their side of the story heard and understood, some drown it in the bottom of a bottle, some smoke it away, some eat their feelings, some exercise their brains out for a release of endorphins, some turn to sex/porn for that sense of being embraced instead of rejected, some obsess like lawyers within their own minds and replay their story and why they are right over and over again, some rehearse a skit in their minds of what they should have said instead for a good comeback, and the list goes on and on. Personally, I’ve learned to call these things “Band-Aids.” They don’t really fix the problem, but they give us the illusion that the wound isn’t bleeding anymore. It’s the things we do to try to make ourselves feel better. If you struggle with reaching for “band-aids”, here are 4 things God has been teaching me through the lens of Psalm 139 that might help you too.

Despite My Errors, My Circumstances, or My Fears I Am Loved Immensely.

Psalm 139:17-18 NLT says, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” You cannot even begin to comprehend just how much your Heavenly Father loves you. It’s a love that is so deep, so strong, so intense, so consuming that your mind can’t even begin to grasp it. Trying to comprehend it would be like going to Bradenton Beach and attempting to count every single grain of sand.  The love and understanding you crave when you’re hurt, anxious, scared, etc is found within the arms of your Father. And He can provide it in heaps and bounds far more than you can provide it for yourself with your “band-aid”. Run to Him! Pray. Cry out to Him when you need to.

God Knows and Understands My Anxious Thoughts.

Psalm 139:1-2 NLT says, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.” God knows what’s on your heart. He knows what hurts you, what brings you joy, your fears, your failures, your victories, your triumphs….all of it. Sometimes we reach for a “band-aid” simply because we are desperate for somebody to understand where we are coming from and why we feel the way we do. Guess what, God does! He understands you more than anyone ever could or ever will. His PhD. is in Y.O.U. Going to bars, having one nightstands, doing drugs, calling up your girlfriends to gossip, late night internet searches while everyone else in the house is asleep, etc is not going to give you the sense of understanding and comfort your soul is crying out for. If you want to be truly understood, go to the one who created you!

God is Always With Me No Matter What.

Psalm 139:7 NLT says, “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!.” Maybe the reason you turn to your “band-aid” is because you feel lonely, afraid, forgotten, rejected or brushed off. Maybe you turned to a 1 nightstand because you are desperate for closeness. Maybe your internet searches in the early morning hours is because you are dying for physical touch and the warmth of another person. Maybe you finished off that bottle to numb the feeling of being alone. Maybe you injected that into your arm to quiet the silence. Whatever your reason for reaching for your “band-aid”, that sense of not being alone that your soul is craving is found in your relationship with your Heavenly Father. You are never alone! He is always right here. And if and when you reach for that “band-aid”, remember verse 11 says that even in darkness you cannot hide from him. God loves you enough that He doesn’t leave you. Stop trying to escape the loneliness when you’re not alone. Pray and talk to God. He’s there and he’s listening.

As I Come to Him, He is Faithful to Guide Me to Paths That Lead to His Kingdom.

         Maybe at this point in today’s reading, you understand and want to run to God, but you feel so stuck in the cycle of running to your “band-aid” that maybe you feel hopeless. If that is you, I want to say this: God loves you and right now at this moment, he is proud of you! It’s not easy learning how to break the cycle of hunting for “band-aids” and learn to run to your Heavenly Father instead. It’s not usually a one and done, fixed overnight sort of thing. It takes continually walking in relationship with God. It takes honest prayers and letting God into that part of your heart that you hide from everyone else. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Let God see your heart even when you’re hurting, anxious, lonely, etc. Let him lead you as the verse says. Trust him. He loves you, understands you, never leaves you, and will lead you through whatever has you reaching for a “band-aid”.  

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