Sunday, December 18, 2011

got struggle?

"We give great honor to those who endure under suffering.
For instance, you know about Job,
a man of great endurance.
You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end,
for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy."
James 5:11

"Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials
you are going through, as if something strange
were happening to you.
Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you
partners with Christ in his suffering,
so that you will have the wonderful joy
of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world."
1 Peter 4:12-13

"God, for whom and through whom everything was made,
 chose to bring many children into glory.
And it was only right that he should make Jesus,
 through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation."Hebrews 2:10

"And God will use this persecution to show his justice
 and to make you worthy of his Kingdom,
 for which you are suffering."
2 Thessalonians 1:5

"For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting
in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him."
Philippians 1:29, NLT

I've come to discover that life is a journey filled with choices. At the very core, my choices are all about drawing close or pulling away.

Do I draw close to my Creator? Or pull away?

Do I seek to uncover my true self? Or do I try to cover up?

Do I reveal my true heart to others? Or do I run away and hide?

One choice leads to the beautiful fulfillment of God's amazing plans for my life.

To abide in Him and allow Him to reveal His glorious love for me.

To face my woundedness, weaknesses and sin and allow Him to heal, restore and transform me.

To enjoy relationships that allow the giftings and blessings He has implanted within me to grow and blossom.

And, to share God's goodness and grace with those that He has placed in my life.

The other choice leaves me alone.

Wanting.

Hurting.

Hopeless.

Self-medicating.

Suffering for the sake of suffering - not growth.

It's an absolutely miserable place to be.

And quite honestly, it's such a stinkin' waste of time.

A waste of my life.

It most certainly isn't what I was made for.

Some days the choice seems really simple.

But most days? Most days I have to work really hard to stop working so hard.

'Cause you see, abiding in Love is simple.

There is no real effort. It's just a choice. A life altering choice.

Running? Hiding? Avoiding? Those take effort. Great effort. And the results are disastrous.

Today I find myself facing a big, stinky, ugly mess. I feel overwhelmed and defeated.

The latter choice actually feels quite appealing - if I'm honest with myself.

Don't push through the struggle, just settle in and wallow in it.

I look around me and see those whom I love hurting and struggling.

We are in this together. At least we can be - if we choose.

Going through suffering and struggles is exhausting and excruciating.

But as Elisabeth Kubler Ross said, the most beautiful people we know are those who have gone through.

Pushed through.

Refused to give up.

While the wallowing may feel like the easier choice, I know where it ends up. And in truth, that's not where I want to end up.

If I quiet my raging heart for even just a split second, I can hear Love whispering words of life and hope to me.

Reminding me of all He has done in the past. And promising me that He has better things in life in store for me than this.

Today God has laid the same choice before each of us, my Friend.

Which path will you choose?

I have a feeling, that you, my Friend are one of those people. Beautiful beyond words.

You may not see it yet because Master Potter isn't done with either of us yet.

But rest assured, one day His work will be complete. And it will be more than worth the suffering.

Please don't give up.

Please don't give in.

I know how tempting it is to give into wallowing.

I also know how damaging and destructive it is. To us. And those we love.

I encourage you to make the choice today to KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

In His love and grace,