I’m going to be honest. It’s been a really hard week.
It’s been such a hard week that I’m just now, Thursday night, sitting down to write this blog post. I don’t usually do that (usually I schedule them a week in advance) and I don’t even want to. It’s using all of my energy not to cash in one of the million excuses I have in my mind for why I should just skip it and go to bed.
You’re exhausted and overworked…
You should rest…
One day won’t hurt anything…
No one will even miss you if you don’t write…
But I’ve made a commitment to show up here three times each week and I’m going to honor that commitment; not for your sake necessarily (although I hope you benefit from it) but because it’s the right thing to do. I felt the conviction in my heart to write three times each week, and I’m going to follow through with that conviction, even when it isn’t easy.
There’s value in the struggle.
It’s easy to do things when they’re easy. I know that sounds obvious but I feel like I need the reminder right now. Sometimes I catch myself dreaming about my ideal life, or my ideal job where I would feel energized and happy all the time, and while I don’t think it’s wrong to dream and push toward what we want, sometimes I think I lose sight of the fact that life isn’t supposed to be easy all the time.
In fact, writing for a living is my ideal life, and here on this blog, I have an opportunity to do it, and I can still find reasons to complain.
Sometimes I think I suffer from a sense of entitlement that, when things get hard, something must be wrong.
What if the “ideal” life and the “ideal” job that God has for us includes struggle?
What if it isn’t always fair? What if that’s part of it?
Something happens when I struggle.
I become someone different. Sometimes, the change is for the worse. I’m finding that in myself lately — that when life gets hard, and the pressure is on, I see the worst parts of myself emerge. If I’m not getting enough sleep, or enough food, or the right kinds of food, or if I’m feeling really emotionally drained, you’ll start to see a different side of Ally come out.
Usually it comes out all over the people I love the most, and it isn’t pretty.
Here’s the thing. When the pressure is on, my true character emerges. I am who I am when I haven’t slept, haven’t eaten and when things haven’t gone my way. All the rough spots and ugly places rise to the surface and it gives me a chance to face the hard reality that I’m not as nice, or as patient, or as graceful as I think I am.
I can’t blame it on my circumstances, or my surroundings. That wouldn’t be fair. The problem isn’t outside of me. The problem is me.
If I’m willing to be humble in these moments, to admit that they are because of my weakness, they give me some of the greatest opportunities for growth and change.
These moments also open space for God to show up. Don’t get me wrong, I think God is with us all the time, weather we’re struggling or not, but sometimes, when big needs aren’t met by those around us, or when they can’t be met because of our circumstances, it gives God the chance to meet our needs in a supernatural way.
Isn’t that what a miracle is? God meeting our needs in a way that the natural world isn’t able?
Sometimes I need to struggle to be reminded that I’m human, that I’m limited, and that God is not.
The struggle in life points out my need for Him.
I thank God all the time for moments, days and times that are little glimpses of heaven. I thank Him for frozen yogurt or date night with my husband or a nap in the middle of the day, but when was the last time I thanked Him for the struggle? When was the last time I thanked him for my lack of sleep, or the work load that is too big for me, too much for me to handle?
When was the last time I thanked him for a fight with a co-worker, or a family member? When was the last time I thanked him for a lack of friends, or of community, or for the things I can’t afford to buy?
When was the last time I told him that I didn’t have what it takes to take care of myself, and asked Him to do it for me?
Question: When was the last time you thanked him for the struggle?