Tag Archives: struggle

The Struggle Is Real

All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today. ~Pope Paul VI

 

The Grand Canyon is growing 0.4 mm/year if you imagine it growing at a constant rate. But, of course, it isn’t. The Grand Canyon suffers from earthquakes and volcanic activity. It has seen major flooding in its long life. Some floods may have changed it in as little as ten hours. During other seasons it wore away at a minuscule rate.

Do you ever feel like the Grand Canyon?

All of the relatives are getting along, then Aunt Cathy dies and everyone wants a piece of her stuff.  The fighting and bickering that ensue damage the family and Christmas is never the same.

Your child received perfect scores all through Elementary school, but now in Middle school the grades are falling, the attitude is changing, the language sets your teeth on edge, and no one wants to be in the house with her.

You loved your job. The boss was perfect, so understanding and congenial. But she was promoted and her replacement is the meanest snake in the pit. You hate your new boss. You hate work. You’re even beginning to hate your co-workers.

Jesus gets it. He’s been a solid rock beaten by the winds and scorned by the rains of Satan.

His ministry began with healing and teaching and praising. God was on his side. He was baptized and told so.

. . . the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22 NIV

But that “life is good” moment was met with fasting, thirst, fatigue, and temptation.

Satan went after Jesus with everything he had.

And when Jesus didn’t succumb?

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Luke 4:13 NIV

Things got better for a while.

The relatives came back for Christmas. The daughter kissed her parents and hugged her sister. The coworkers held a meeting and worked out all the problems.

But sometime later . . .

The flood came crashing over the lava walls and in ten hours chaos reigned. That’s the way of Satan. He doesn’t give up, just waits for a more opportune time.

But that’s OK, because Jesus said,

. . . I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 ESV

JESUS doesn’t leave for an opportune time.

He stays forever fighting beside you.


“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

Hopefully Devoted to You

There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible. ~Mother Teresa

It was 34 degrees with a light breeze, the best weather forecast for the week. I layered my long johns, 2 pair of socks, scarf, earmuffs, hat, and gloves and then stepped out on the beach.

Heading south I walked into the sun, a glare on the water blinding my view. A couple walking their dog stopped to chat with another dog owner. I kept walking, clipping along at a pace sure to warm my blood.

Sea gulls and pelicans floated above the water, gliding and squawking over my head. I stopped to watch a lone gull peck at a fish.

A large group of gulls gathered in a tidal pool dipping and splashing for their daily bath. They seemed to be enjoying their personal hygiene ritual. I shivered and walked on.

Mark is a personal trainer at my gym. I was listening to him coach a member while I squeezed weights with my thighs.

“Were you sore last time? Good, good. You should always be sore.”

I couldn’t help myself . . . “Are you sore?”

He looked over at me, surprise etched on his face.

“Yes. I’m always sore. You aren’t getting stronger if you aren’t sore.”

He went on to tell us that the last time he didn’t work out was five years ago when he ate some bad oysters.

Five years. Daily workouts. I shook my head and moved on to leg presses.

What is it that gets you out of bed in the morning? Your kids? Your job?

Do you rise early so you can run before work?

Maybe you stay late after school to work on lesson plans.

Do your hands ache from too much knitting, your eyes from too much reading, or your legs from too much walking?

Do you spend every waking hour thinking about the way words flow together, singing until you’re hoarse, or painting into the wee hours of morning?

Devotion costs us. It costs physical comfort- like bathing in freezing cold water or exercising until you are sore. It costs us sleep, opportunities for other pleasures, and time for other pursuits.

Devotion takes time, energy, effort, even money.

But it rewards with excellence, knowledge, ability, and excitement.

What are you devoted to? How can you tell?


Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body has finished with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.  1 Peter 4:1-2 NIV

Still Struggle

cylinderRight now I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle. ~ Jackee Harry

I was in the fifth grade, a scrawny girl with french braids and buck teeth. It was Christmas time, and the class party was in full swing. Cookies and candy canes nestled at the bottom of every slanted desktop in the room. Our cups of red Kool-Aid sat precariously at the edge of the faux wood top next to the metal groove that served as a pencil holder.

Each person had a small gift to unwrap, a gift from an anonymous giver who pulled a name from the hat two weeks before. I unwrapped my package to find an odd, corn-paper cylinder.

“Put your fingers in it,” a classmate instructed.

I placed a finger in each end of the red and green braided tube.

“Now pull them out.” Giggles ensued.

I pulled my fingers away from each other and the plaits of paper pulled tighter, holding me prisoner in their grasp. I twisted my fingers. Nothing. I pulled quickly. Nothing. I tugged and yanked trying to wrench my fingers free, but the more I wrestled, the tighter the paper clung to me.

In fear I looked up.

“Relax and pull gently,” she said.

I slowly slid each finger out of the tube.

I stick my fingers in parenting tubes, writing cylinders, and friendship chambers. I pull, twist, tug, and yank. The bonds pull tightly, strangling me in their grip. The harder I try to figure it out, the more desperately I become trapped. I struggle like a child in a Chinese finger trap.

“Relax.”

Listening to the Father’s voice, I let go of the struggle, the fear, the prison . . . and I am freed.


But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:30-32