Since we’re surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and perfecter of our faith.  Hebrews 12:1-2

This week, walking away from temptation and walking towards God was a challenge. It was a stressful, emotional week. There were times I wanted to give into momentary pleasures to relieve stress and numb emotions.

But you were there, standing on the sidelines and I knew I had to be  responsible to you.

So I pushed on.

I can’t say it’s always worked this way for me. Most of my life overcoming an eating disorder involved failure, giving into temptation and falling deeper and deeper into a pit I thought was useless to try to get out.  It’s easier to give in than to climb out of a hole that’s dark, damp, and lifeless. 

But over time, I persevered.

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man – but God is faithful – He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle, but when you are tempted, he will always provide a way out so you can stand up under it.” I Corinthians 10:13. (NIV)

At seventeen, this verse became alive to me when, the first time in three years, I fell asleep with food in my stomach. When I woke up the next morning and wasn’t rejected or unloved, God’s word became real. He proved what He says in His word is true – He provided a way out for me to walk away from temptation. To me, it was a miracle.

It took several more years until the cycle and pattern of binging and purging broke for me.  I learned when I gave into momentary weakness, I was giving into temptation but that God was on my side. I learned when I leaned on Him and ran to Him, He provided a way out for me to overcome and walk away from temptation.

There were moments this week where the only thing keeping me from turning to temptations of the flesh were you, the great cloud of witnesses I’m accountable to and who are praying for me.  That, for me, is strength.

I’ve been praying for  you, too, who are joining me on this forty day journey of walking towards God and away from your fears. I saw two friends this week hurting because of mental illness. I saw other friends grieve as they became empty-nesters, and yet others who lost children to death and tragedy. Their fears are real, raw, and fresh. I paid back by being their great cloud of witnesses, lifting them before the throne so the Author could perfect their faith, too.

Thank you, each of you, who are making the difference in my life, the lives of others, and your own life by being faithful in prayer, persistent in action, and persevering in hope.  Let’s throw off everything that hinders us and the chains that easily bind us and run with perseverance the road marked out before us.

Ready. Set. Go. 

I’m cheering for you.

If you haven’t joined us for forty days of running towards God and away from your fears, it’s not to late to join.  How can I pray for you? Email me at brenda@brendayoder.com or comment below and I’ll be your faithful partner, too.

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