Struggle: a forceful or violent effort to break free of restraint or resist attack.
This week I've struggled. I've struggled to deal with pain from endometriosis that's increasing daily. I've struggled with the urge to cry at all times. I've struggled with feeling heartbroken. I've struggled with feeling stuck where I am and not being able to find the "easy" path to my dream career.
And in the struggle, I've battled. I've battled to see the good in everything. I've battled to focus on my blessings. I've battled hard to not fall into victim mode. I've battled feelings of resentment, jealousy, and anger. I've battled insecurity and feeling like a failure. I've battled the temptation to quit.
During a battle, even a soldier gets weak. They may appear strong and put together on the outside - they sometimes have no other choice - but no one really knows what they're struggling with on the inside. In war it's not just the weak soldiers, the sensitive ones, or cowardly ones who will break down. All will break down if in combat long enough. They're human beings.
*I use this analogy not to compare my personal struggles to those of soldiers who've laid their lives on the line to defend my freedoms and rights; they're two completely different scenarios. I couldn't feel more gratitude in my heart for that kind of sacrifice from such courageous, selfless heroes.*
Our lives are a battle field, Satan is the enemy, and God is our Commander in Chief. The enemy comes to steal and kill and destroy; God has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly! (John 10:10). We aren't in this alone! God doesn't just send us into battle and expect us to figure it out by ourselves. He gives us courage, support, strength, wisdom, encouragement, shelter, endurance, and desire to fight on! We must humble ourselves and realize we're human and in need of a Savior, that all power comes through Him. And we must be easy on ourselves and forgiving when we make mistakes or long for the easy way out. Reminder: God is perfect; we are not. STOP BEING A PERFECTIONIST ALREADY! You're being attacked all day long by the enemy and his forces, so what sense does it make to attack yourself on top of that?
When you find yourself in a heightened state of battle and you feel like giving up, don't. Find a place where you can let those emotions go - because they are healthy, normal emotions we're supposed to process. Give them to God. Let Him wash away the mess and help you strategize a new battle plan! You'll learn. You'll be stronger. You'll be wiser. You'll be more understanding. You'll have a victory story to tell. You'll become a great leader who can help others. You'll be an example of how to overcome. Your story will inspire and motivate and offer hope. People will remember how you made them feel.
If you quit now, the enemy wins. Don't let the enemy win. YOU are a WINNER through Christ!
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18 (NIV)