You can’t skip the struggle

Sometimes, I lose my shit.

And I’m not talking about a few glistening tears on my cheek either. I’m talking about full blown meltdowns, epic panic attacks, and raging fury… fueled by an all encompassing fear.  Recently, these episodes have been more frequent and devastating, leaving me withered and weak. And now, as I sit alone in my house for the first time in at least a week, I feel the weight of this load I’ve been dragging along with me for miles. A combination of caring for my son, my husband, my household, my patients, my friends, and other various responsibilities that fall under my job title, (That title being mother/wife/nurse/and certified nutcase). And all the while, suppressing the same burning question that arises each and every time things go awry:

Why me, God? My soul is weary.

I feel this exhaustion down in my bones. Spiritually destitute, emotionally and physically depleted. Isn’t it funny how easily we get here? Nothing life-altering has happened to me in the past weeks. I am, by most standards, incredibly blessed and living a life of abundance. And yet…  I still I find myself consistently at the very end of my rope. Why? Because four months ago, when I saw a glimpse of Jesus’ vision for my life while driving down I-65, I imagined smooth sailing from there. I imagined skipping peacefully along the path that was Divinely paved for me. I thought I could skip the struggle.

I’m pretty good at the downward spiral. Suppressed emotions evolving into self pity, then discontent, and finally culminating in a heap of despair and defeat. Rinse, and repeat. Bad days hit me hard. And if I’m being honest, it’s because some part of me feels entitled to good days. To smooth waters, and good fortune. Society, after all, tells us we are owed that. All “blessed” with no stress, right?

Now allow me to go down a rabbit hole for a second… who do you know in biblical history that had it easy? The Israelites? 40 years wandering a desolate land was neither smooth nor fortunate. Moses? He got to the very threshold of the promised land and DIED before ever stepping foot inside. Daniel was thrown in a lion’s den…Shadrah, Meshach, and Abednego were tossed into a fiery furnace… and Joseph was sold into slavery by his BROTHERS. I’m just barely skimming the surface here, but the point is clear: to follow Jesus is to encounter suffering.

You can’t skip the struggle. You can try, and you may have a really good streak, but things will inevitably get hard.

“Why you? Well, why NOT you?”

This one line from my guilty pleasure show, Greys Anatomy, has been in the forefront of my mind for days. We did not earn salvation, and we surely don’t deserve even one good day. So shake your fist at heaven if you want to, but the true reason for suffering is in the fallen world we are surrounded by. Now, if God can take it all away, why doesn’t he? My answer is twofold. First, because of free will. This is the obvious one. If you could choose between an arranged marriage with someone who was forced to love you, or one where you both commit to loving each other freely every day…which would you pick? Obviously the latter. So yes, He could make each of our lives the cookie cutter epitome of perfection, and He could force us to love him, but just as we seek relationship and commitment, so does our Heavenly Father. Secondly, to develop perseverance. Now stop: I am not saying that God creates pain and suffering, or even that he allows it to happen for the sole purpose of “toughening us up.” If you take anything away from this post, please do not hear me say that. But a positive result of suffering is the development of perseverance, and perseverance develops character, and character develops hope (Romans 5:4). The Bible literally tells us to REJOICE in our sufferings. Imagine that, will you? Walking straight through the struggle with joy in your heart, knowing that this pain is so very temporary. It is possible, and in the coming days I am committing to praying fervently for a joy in the Lord that casts out the fear in my fragile heart. Will you join me? Its not easy, and it’s going to take daily time in the Word to truly understand the heart of my Savior and his desire for my life…. But why not me, right?

** As a side note to those of you (like myself) who try to use their busy schedule and lack of “free time” as a get-out-of-bible-reading-free card: Pick up your phone. Go to the app store. Download SheReadsTruth, and thank me later. You do have to pay for each group of devotionals, but it’s roughly 2-3 dollars for a month of daily quiet times. Each day includes text from the Word, thoughts to meditate on, and even wallpapers for your phone. I mean seriously, they’ve thought of everything. Let me know if you have questions about other resources for quiet times and daily devotionals, and I would love to help!

2 thoughts on “You can’t skip the struggle

  1. So well written and thought out. We all feel the way you do…some more than others but everyone does. To walk with Christ is to learn to live by faith and draw daily strength from Jesus. I love you.

  2. This speaks to me as I am just finishing up my master’s degree. Wonderful post. You are such a good writer!

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