Do you struggle? Well, if you have breath, we both know the answer to that question. Of course you do. I do, too. Everyone does. They didn’t come up with #thestruggleisreal for no reason. Life is full of friction that constitutes a daily struggle to do things… to do the right things…in the amount of time we’ve been given each a day… and to do the right things in the amount of time we’ve been given each day well.
I’ve had to pitch two fully prepared meals in the last two weeks. One was because I started questioning the freshness of some cream I used to make a delicious pot pie. The other fast pitch of food happened when I made an entire crockpot of chili to have ready to serve my family as soon as my husband got home from work because I knew he would have to take our dog that evening to get his stitches out that he had gotten two weeks prior due to a severe attack. I went to serve the chili and it was stone cold. I thought it had been simmering all day long, but I had never plugged the crockpot in. That explains why I did not smell the aroma of chili all day long. Also, I’m lying about pitching that one. I haven’t yet. It’s still in the crockpot and the dishes I pointlessly dirtied up to make it are still in the sink. I can’t bring myself to toss it, even though we won’t eat a bite of it. I’m in mourning for the time and ingredients I wasted making that. I don’t want to be reminded of my mistake. I don’t want to be reminded of my struggle. But I see that mess and I can’t escape it. The struggle IS real, y’all. And these are just examples of little things.
Yeah, the struggle is real. But do you know what helps? It helps to know I’m not alone in my journey filled with struggles. The sum of my journey is not my struggles. The sum of my journey is the divine strength that has sustained me through my struggles to lead me to victorious living.
I’m a mom of a sixteen month old miracle boy now. My attention is divided and I scratch my head all the time trying to figure out how to juggle all the things God has called me to do during this season of life. Just when I am ready to raise my hands in surrender, I realize that it’s ok because I am not alone. I don’t have to figure all this stuff out on my own. There is grace to be received from the God who pins me down and reminds me that I, in fact, am not Him. I cannot do it all—not on my own. But I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. That doesn’t mean I can do all the things that all my friends are doing. That doesn’t mean I can do all the things that others might try to subtly or not so subtly demand of me. That doesn’t mean every day will look the same. But for all the things that God has called me to do do right now, right here, I can get one on one with Him and let him mark me by His victory over my struggles and His strength in my wrestling with all the things of life.
I’ve been thinking about Jacob from the Bible a lot lately. Jacob had a lot going on in his life by the time we read his story in Genesis 32. There was a lot he had gotten himself into and a lot God had given him that he was responsible for. It all reached a head right when he was about to become reaquainted with his brother, Esau. Things had not ended will the last time they were together. Jacob had more than enough concern that when he heard Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men that he was coming to kill him. But just before this encounter with Esau, Jacob was left alone. When God got him in a place where he was real quiet and real still, he wound up wrestling with God himself.
I think God does that with us, too, if we take a pause to let everything and everyone else briefly move ahead of us. Jacob was struggling with what and who he was responsible for and what was coming his way. He had all of this on his mind when he got alone and was real still and real quiet. That’s when God came in and struggled with him all night long. Jacob wouldn’t let the one who pinned him down walk away when it was time to get up until he blessed him.
So God did. He didn’t let Jacob walk away in practice or in persona till He had marked him differently. God gave Jacob a new way to walk that would always remind him of the struggle he had wrestled through with Him. And He gave Jacob, whose name means, “Heal Grabber,” a new name, too: Israel. “He struggles with God,” is what his identity had changed to. Jacob had tried to do all the grabbing on his own. But when God grabbed him, his identity and destiny shifted.
I don’t want to struggle alone. I don’t think you really do either. If I’ve got to struggle, I want my struggle to be with God, like Jacob’s was. If I’ve got to wrestle, I want God to body slam me and let me walk away from my struggle when it’s time to get up, but to do so with a distinct mark that He is the victor over my struggle, not me, and that my identity is not in who I am on my own, but who I am with God.
What about you? Do you want to struggle alone? Or do you want to struggle with God. Quit being a heal grabber, friend, and let God transform your identity into someone who struggles not alone, but with Him.