Reframing the Struggle

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Its been a great summer.

It really has.

Maybe so good that I’ve had little time for blogging, but the fall winds have been blowing lately, they are making me look forward to long cozy winter evenings to write, but all the while making me shake my head and wonder where the summer has possibly gone!

In the midst of all the summer busy, crazy fun, I’ve had a full heart, a very full brain, and at times a struggling heart, things happened, which brought up a bunch of old wounds, and insecurities I needed to continue to find heal from.

It was a spring/summer of pondering, and rumbling on so many different issues. I love the clarity that has come to my heart and mind on various things, past, present and future, but it wasn’t without pain, tears, and grief as I waded though many things.

I don’t know about you but I don’t like to “struggle” very much. It always has this way of making me feel I’m somehow doing something wrong if I am.

There’s got to be something wrong with me, or something wrong with what I’m doing, right? Or else I wouldn’t be feeling like this, wouldn’t be facing rejections, or ‘letting people down’ IF I was …ya, if there’s anything that has potential to take me down a not so good path, it’s the feeling that I’m somehow messing up because I’m not good enough, not strong enough, not ‘spirit-filled’ enough, and I’ve let others or myself down in some way.

 

Totally Satan’s playground.

Not pretty.

But I’m slowly learning to LOVE struggling… ok, love might be a bit strong… but I’m getting there. 🙂

 

Because I’ve smacked the lie

If you are doing it right you won’t struggle.”

right to the curb.

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Struggling doesn’t mean you aren’t climbing, actually it probably means the exact opposite. It’s in our moments of greatest struggle, that we scale and overcome some of the biggest obstacles. Those moments when we are feeling we are exerting every last bit of effort just putting the next foot in front of the next, might very well be the very times that are bringing us closer to all those dreams, growth, and freedom we are longing for.

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We all love a ‘plateau’… or at least I do.

pla·teau
NOUN
  1. an area of relatively level high ground.
  2. a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress

 

You know those little hidden mountain meadows with wildflowers, easy walking trail, breathing deeply of all the scents, and soaking in the quiet and peace that is found there, as we turn our faces out towards that beautiful views and soak in the feeling of accomplishment for how far we’ve climbed already.

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There’s nothing wrong with the plateaus.  Those are so important too. Don’t get me wrong I love the moments of ‘rest’ those times bring.

The danger is when I start thinking those ‘restful’ times mean I’m doing great, vs. my times of struggle mean I’m somehow really messing up.

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I want to hug the truth tightly around myself, that real ground is being gained in the struggle, in those moments when I’m having to take the time to intentionally place one hand in front of the other, as I grasp for a real hold on life, as my feet fumble around trying to find a little crevice, as my body stretches as I reach further, searching… searching…

Climbing, growth, healing, they all have this way of taking me far out of my comfort zone, … it’s not pretty. I haven’t always liked myself very well through  parts of the process. This kind of thing has a way of stripping me down, while helping me find those rather ugly, nasty wounds that have been there underneath the surface festering for years, and years… and it’s not always very neat and pretty when my triggers start revealing those old infected hurts and wounds, and when I’m put face to face with all the unhealthy coping skills I’ve used over the years to try to compensate for the pain.

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When I chose ‘Fearless’ as my word for this year, I didn’t dream it would become so important to me in so many areas. I laugh, because the areas I’m being called to be fearless in were like areas I never would have thought I’d be called to explore, to use my voice in , to struggle though, … some of them more scary and painful than I ever dreamed.

But also more full of freedom, peace and clarity than I would have ever dreamed.

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So , I don’t know where you might be in this whole mountain climbing scenario tonight. Maybe you, like me, are carrying a bunch of little healing kids on your back as you scale those cliffs to your own deep healing ( Mrs. Purvis hit the nail on the head when she used that analogy at the ETC conference), -it’s hard, I know.

Sometimes the weight of it all feels like you didn’t move an inch in many days, maybe you feel like you are even losing ground as the struggle seems to increase. I’ve been there many times. It’s hard. It’s confusing. And it can feel downright unfair that you are carrying all these little hearts to places of healing, while you yourself are just barely learning the way yourself.

But I want to just hug you tight tonight and tell you I’m so very proud of you. And that this struggle is not going to define us negatively, if anything it is going to show us how very, very strong our God is, how very, very deep His love is for us, and how very, very valuable we are.

In those moments as we struggle up the cliff, I believe He is right there behind us, His hand on our back helping us up,

His voice guiding our hands and feet as we struggle to find that next little grip,

His arms tight around our kids, making sure they don’t fall off in the process,

His deep love is scaffolding us, cheering us on,

His wisdom bringing clarity,

His eyes begging us to just look up and gaze into His,and see the way He views us,- worthy, precious and priceless.

HE’S GOT US.

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The fact that you might be struggling tonight does not mean-

You aren’t handling life well.

You aren’t healing fast enough.

You aren’t doing it right.

You aren’t ok with God or with others.

You aren’t enough.

Not at all.

The truth of the matter is it take a lot of effort to struggle,

a lot of mindfulness and openness to rumble,

a lot of vulnerability and humbleness to let those old wounds and imperfections be seen,

a lot of courage to use our voices, set boundaries, and ask for help,

a lot of faith to keep seeking, reaching, and finding,

a lot of trust to believe that we are loved fully and completely through the whole process,

and a lot of grace to allow ourselves to feel all those uncomfortable emotions and not let them define our journey or cause us to fear the outcome.

You are powerful.

 

 

 

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Struggle, no matter how uncomfortable, unpleasant, and messy  it might be, is a sign of life, determination, growth, and healing, and it’s leading us to even greater heights , ones higher we ever dreamed possible.

It’s so important.

It’s a beautiful part of the story.

I know there will be many more cliffs to scale, but I also know we will always be able to look back, and smile, at all the good God had in store for us as we bravely climbed those cliffs, one after the other.

I know.

It happens every time.

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