Tag Archives: struggle

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.


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