When I was younger I thought life was going to get easier as it went on. I thought that as I achieved goals and grew spiritually and emotionally that life would become simpler and more in tune with what it was supposed to be. More in tune with what I wanted.
There’s several problems with that thought process. First of all, life’s not supposed to be what I want it to be. Life is what glorifies God. It often involves things that don’t go my way, even just small things on a daily basis, because the struggle makes me more like Christ. The need- the aching need that I’m not it- makes me cling in desperation to Jesus.
Secondly, life only gets harder. Part of me thinks that if I were smarter or more spiritual this problem might be alleviated some but I’m not so sure about that. The problems gets bigger, more deep rooted. The issues are more important and involve more people. It’s not a question of whether I can go to a friend’s house to spend the night but whether I can discipline my children one more time with the right attitude. I’m not sure I would have found that to be a bigger deal when I was 12 but I certainly do now.
I’m going to embrace this instead of fighting it. The Bible says we are soldiers who should endure hardness (2 Timothy 2:3). This isn’t supposed to be a life of ease where I find the right thing to be simple. It’s a fight to the death. The death of me- because I must decrease for God to increase (John 3:30).
Just yesterday I thought how nice it would be if life were easier. If I found it easy to focus on the work presently in front of me. To write when it was time to write. To work on school when it was time. To be present with my children and disciple them and train them effectively. If only it were easy to keep my focus in the afternoon and keep a peaceful heart regardless of my circumstances. If only it were easy.
But it’s not. And it’s never going to be. I can’t wait on easy.
Instead I’m going to become a wrestler. And every day that I wrestle with myself I become stronger. Every time I cry out to Jesus for help I become a little more like Him and I show Him a little more to the world around me.
I’m going to wrestle with my own bad attitudes. I am my own worst enemy. (Don’t sit over there feeling smug. You’re your own worst enemy too.) So I’m going to wrestle with myself. Wrestle to get out of bed and get to work in the morning. Wrestle to keep my focus as I read my Bible. Wrestle to put down my phone and read books and stack blocks. Wrestle to not throw people out the door when we fight about scissors during school.
I’m going to wrestle with words. As I sit and write and I try to say something to remind you of what God is doing in your life. As I edit blog posts and search for titles. As I prepare drafts to send as guest posts. As I type social media updates. I’m going to wrestle with these words that so often won’t say what I want them to.
I’m going to wrestle with paintbrushes and pencils. As I fill sketchbooks and finish paintings, I’m going to fight to grow in my skills. To push the paint into something pleasing to the eye, to draw sketches just slightly better than the ones before them.
I’m going to wrestle with notes and keys as I study piano. I’m going to wrestle with thumping the wrong chords and finding the right notes for transition. I’m going to wrestle with nerves over playing for other people and I’m going to wrestle with my own heart as I face the limitations of how good I’ll ever be.
I’m going to wrestle over the deeper questions. the ones that unsettle me in the night and make me wonder if I’m doing anything right. The ones that make me wonder if I’m on the right or wrong path. The ones that make me wish that Jesus was here in the flesh with me for a chat. Of course I remember He said it was better for us that He went away and we had the Holy Spirit it just doesn’t always feel that way.
I’m going to wrestle with zippers on coats and getting three children out the door. I’m going to wrestle with loads and loads of dirty laundry and the crumbs that are again on the floor. I’m going to wrestle with my attitude over the work of our home and family.
I’m learning to depend on Jesus. I can’t do this wrestling in my own strength. I have nothing to offer. I have no strength for this battle.
But He does.
“Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:” Psalm 144:1