Real Struggles

WhatIsRealDevoWhen I was with you, you saw the struggles I had, and you hear about the struggles I am having now. You yourselves are having the same kind of struggles. (Philippians 1:30)

Ponder It.
What’s your most pressing struggle right now?
What percentage of effort do you try to take care of struggles on your own versus trusting God to guide you through the process?
In what ways do you rationalize struggles, either ignoring or becoming consumed with them?

Receive It. You’re not alone in your struggles. We all struggle – in different ways at different times. One thing is certain with all people: In order to work through struggles, we first need to acknowledge that we’re struggling. It seems easier to wish away the struggles, thinking if you ignore them, they might go away. They don’t. It might seem as if they lessen, but not dealing with struggles has consequences. Of course, not every struggle needs to be blown out of proportion either. Look at your struggles with authenticity, which means seeing them for what they actually are. Knowing what your struggles actually are requires setting your own preferences and perspective aside, yielding to God. Dealing with struggles on your own typically leads to getting stuck in the bewilderment of what to do, getting stuck in a self-focused determination to fix it yourself, or getting stuck in defeat.

Being authentic in your struggles is asking God to help you (1) see the struggles in the priority He sees. Refuse to define your own struggle and risk giving it too much or too little weight and attention. (2) Equip you to deal with your struggles. God provides what you need, but it’s tempting to assume God gives us one big toolbox as a one-time gift, then expects us to pick and choose what tool to use when. He doesn’t just drop off a delivery for us. He helps us discern along the way. (3) Grow toward God through the process. God wants you to rely on Him. He longs for a growing relationship with you. He doesn’t intend for you to struggle without Him.

Live It. Write one word on a sticky note to describe your most pressing struggle right now. Pray about it, then tear the note in half. Anytime you catch yourself struggling with it again through the day, repeat. It’s okay if you have a trash can full of sticky notes. Consider it a learning process!

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