Free to Struggle

I am not a good person, and as I may humbly point out, neither are you. Shocking as this sounds, this humbling truth is necessary to understand our condition as human beings. As children, we slowly begin to speculate the world around us, try to sort out the millions of thoughts and feelings that run through us daily, and understand the meaning of life. And this desire to strive after purpose in life never fades. Each soul that is brought into this world has a choice to seek after the elusive ‘truth’, and, depending on your worldview, truth may be relative or not. Yet we strive, toil, and struggle through each day, attempting to make sense of the short years we have on this planet. I may not know you, but I do know this. We are the same in one very important, devastating way- we are sinful by nature. Nobody had to teach us to steal the cookie out of the jar. No one had to teach you to lust after the sexy singles on your Facebook page. No one showed you how walk down the road of darkness that so many of us find ourselves in. Is there any redemption for us? Is there any point to the despair we face? I believe there is- I believe the struggle of life points us to a struggling servant. One who was shunned in this life, despised, mocked, and eventually, murdered despite his innocence. But this servant is not to be pitied, but worshiped. Despite his servant hood, He is truly the Master. Despite his lowly state on earth, He is matchless in glory. He is Jesus Christ, and yes, he died for the sins of the world. “Really, you’re gonna bring up Jesus?” We spend our lives chasing after the wind, falling on our faces time and time again, making choices that lead us to destruction, and yet we refuse to “turn our eyes from looking at worthless things” as it says in Psalm 119:37. How long will you allow yourself to be lost in the torrent of confusion as to your purpose in life and spit on the One who can give you meaningful life?

Many of us hold onto the fear that we may look like a failure in the eyes of others, and if we’re being honest, the reality of the existence of a God causes us to run in the other direction, therefore the plastered smile façade goes up and the truth of what is truly going on inside of us is lost. I’m being honest, and I’m choosing to let that fear go. I need to be obedient, not envied, and I need to be pleasing to my Lord, not to man. And with that said, how do I justify not reaching out to those around me who may need me? I know very well that the Lord has allowed me to face many trials and sufferings that I might be used as an example for His glory- one of his many blessings in disguise I’m coming to realize. What is the point of learning so much from my Saviour and keeping these precious treasures locked away inside of me? I want my life to count- I want Christ to be lifted high for His sacrifice on the cross and for the way He has changed the lives of those who have accepted Him, especially my life as I’m the one living it! Those who do know me, know that I scribble in multiple journals- my personal prayer journal is my way of keeping Scripture fresh in my mind and praying in a practical way that keeps me from simply treating the Lord like a vending machine or a psychiatrist( He is to be feared and worshiped and PRAISED-everyday) and a church/speaker journal which allows me to write down important concepts of sermons, etc. I very much prefer the feel of my favourite ballpoint pen jotting down on a fresh piece of paper rather than typing out all my ponderings, but my personal preference is really not important if I am to allow the Lord to move in whatever way He may choose, and offer His light to others- perhaps even through a simple blog. I hope that as I share what He has and is teaching me, you, the reader of this blog, may be encouraged, and enlightened to the world of a young woman who desperately needs the Lord every day (as we all do, yet not all feel that need so deeply.)

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” King Solomon said that in Proverbs 16:25. To my knowledge, Solomon was the wealthiest king recorded in history. I think many times we look at all the rich blessings the Lord provided for him, yet forget the trials he endured, and the sinful failures he committed. His dad was arguably the greatest king of Israel (and Christ’s bloodline was descended from David) and was called “A man after God’s own heart.” I always wondered if Solomon felt inadequate, perhaps fearful of not being able to measure up to his father.  When the crown was passed onto him after his father’s death, the Lord actually visited him and asked him what Solomon desired. He had his answer already prepared, “Wisdom.” Now, I cannot possibly compare myself to this great man in many ways, but I do feel that I understand how Solomon felt at this time in his life. Young, burdened by the responsibilities in his life, anxious about his future- and not unrealistic about his desires for simple human cravings like romance (he-llo Song of Solomon), financial stability, success, etc., but these things were not number one on his agenda. He took a look at his life and at the lives of those around him and knew he needed one thing to live a life worthy of the Lord- wisdom. Solomon also said that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” I didn’t understand this concept very well as I was growing up, but have been lovingly disciplined in order that I might grow in His grace. Wisdom isn’t simply self-control, or knowledge, or even just “doing the right thing.” Wisdom is the ability to walk in step with the true God who gives logic, reason, and integrity and see the benefit in walking in His ways rather than in our own. Not too long ago, I lived very foolishly. I loved this world, hated myself, and lusted after idols I thought would bring satisfaction to a heart that craved peace. I flip flopped between painful ‘relationships’, camouflaged who I truly was depending on the crowd I was hanging out with that day, and spent countless hours training in dance studios and theatres chasing after lofty dreams of being an independant dancer/actor/singer. Despite my selfish dreams, the Lord was relentless in his pursuit of me. He allowed many painful experiences in my life in order to direct me to the Cross. I had so many voices inside of me screaming for their attention, yet all the time I could hear the soft Whisper calling out to me as it speaks of in 1 Kings 19. The Lord eventually broke me- my heart was so withered and worn that I offered it to my glorious Saviour in hard-learned humility, and weakly asked the Lord for one thing, “Wisdom.” He transferred me from darkness and placed me on the road that offers true peace- not because the road is free from hardship, but because Christ walks with me. And He who promised IS faithful- he gives me the wisdom to love His law and to trust Him to bless me when or if He so desires.(After all, Solomon was blessed for seeking the Lord, even with his failures). The road that seemed right to me was leading me to destruction, to failure, to despair. But the narrow road that the Lord calls us to leads us to joy, hope, a home that can never be shaken. I’ve recently been enjoying listening to Tenth Avenue North’s album The Struggle, (their song Shadows inspired the title of this blog) and especially their single The Struggle. Their lyrics ring true for me and may ring true for you, you can listen here :
There’s a wreckage, there’s a fire
There’s a weakness in my love
There’s a hunger I can’t control
Lord I falter and I fall down
Then I hold on to the chains you broke
When You came down and saved my soul
Save my soul

We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
So children drop your chains and sing

So why Lord, do I still fail
Do I wear thin, why do I still give in to temptation?
On my own I am bankrupt
I don’t trust You, or take you at your word
what You’ve promised

We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
So children drop your chains and sing

Hallelujah, death is overcome
And we are breathing
Hallelujah our stone hearts become flesh
A flesh that’s beating
Hallelujah chains have been undone
And we are singing
Hallelujah the fire has begun
Can you feel it?

We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
So children drop your chains and sing

I know that I am weak on my own. I can feel like a failure, like I am bankrupt- and I’m struggling to be the woman of God I know I am called to be. What a comfort to know that we are free to struggle in this life, but to struggle in the pursuit of heaven. Our struggle is not worthless or in vain, and we are not placed under condemnation because of Christ; we are children of the Most High and are loosed from the bonds of sin. Yet, if we so choose, we can run back to our chains and lock ourselves in the prison we were once held captive in because of sin. We can return to the vomit, we can look back to the vile city of Sodom if we so choose… but there is only One way that offers life, and many that offer death and destruction.
When life seems it’s bleakest, when your security has become ruins, and your bright world is now clothed in darkness, do you run to your chains or to the one who has set you free? I’d like to tell you I have always run to the Lord when my world falls apart, but it’s not always true, especially in the past couple months. I have been guilty of still sadly grasping at dreams and hopes I think I need in order to experience a life filled with purpose, meaning, and most importantly, my personal happiness (because the world revolves around me, right?). Obviously, I am still a fool in transition in many ways. Lord forgive me for the way my heart has clung to idols of this world rather than You! Reality is, our lives should be a fragrant offering to Christ, my idea of what would be best for me and what would make me most happy is truly not most important. It doesn’t matter what your testimony is- this lesson will always be a hard one to learn because it involves dying to yourself and truly living for Christ, or, as it feels like a lot of the time, struggling for Christ.
I am not a good person. I’m a failure on my own, but I am bought with a price, and I am learning that every storm in this life brings me closer to what Jesus spoke of in John 16,”So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Many times we take this verse out of context thinking we can pray for prosperity in Jesus name and POOF, we’ll have all the idols we’ve been craving. Jesus said in that day we’ll ask nothing of him- because we will have all that we desire right in front of our eyes- all else will fade and we will see our true prize and treasure for all that He is. Yet Jesus still says The Lord will give us what we ask for. So what should we be asking our Heavenly Father for?

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.”

One thing I know, the Lord will always bless the righteous who ask for His will to be done- submitting yourself to the One who ultimately has the best plan for your life is the WISEST thing to do.
Friend, beloved, don’t walk down the path of destruction, find comfort in the God who saves our souls, grants us wisdom, and gives us the strength to struggle through each day.


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