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Insert Struggle Here

Insert struggle here: __________

Dare I ask…do you have struggles? I’m not talking about financial struggles, or relationship struggles. I am talking about those personal struggles deep within yourself that you fight with or have fought with. Those things you wish were not a part of who you are. Those things you may be able to tame or rid yourself of, only to have it rear its ugly head at the most inopportune times.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” ― Criss Jami

It's hard to admit to others our personal struggles. For instance, I want to present as kind and confident; tough yet gentle; fun but not foolishly so; tolerant but not a push-over; generous but not taken for granted; loyal and patient and loving.

Ya. You might ask, “how is that working for you?”

I strive to be all those good things, but I fall short so many times. Especially in the patience department. And I know people don’t want to hear that. What’s that saying? “Share your strengths but keep your weaknesses to yourself” Never heard of it? That’s because I just made it up. I think the real saying goes like this: “Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others”…something like that. At any rate, life can be a struggle. Such as it was this morning driving to work, in the snow.

I’m sorry, but some people forget how to drive with a little bit of snow on the ground. They toss all common sense out the window and let fear take over resulting in an ever-growing, backed-up line of frustrated drivers, including yours truly. (Please note: the pavement was mostly bare)

And just as I was reaching the peak of my frustration, it hit me. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Why are you letting this get to you? What is going on? Abba, I am so sorry! Why is this an issue in my life, again? I AM NEVER GOING TO BE GOOD ENOUGH!! OH Father, I feel the guilt of once again failing in this area of my life. I’m sorry!

(Enter feelings of despair.)

“Jeanette, either you have to clean up your act once and for all and never get upset and never get angry and never fall or fail again or you will not be able to enter the gates of Heaven, or, My grace is sufficient. Which do you desire?”

Friend, I write today for me. This might very well be a personal entry in my diary, if I kept one. I feel so unworthy and unable at times. Often so very weak and at times so very worn. But that is a good thing, I think I need these struggles in my life.

The first time I read Romans 7, I realized, this was written for me. Do you relate?

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” Romans 7:15-19 NIV

It is a baffling conundrum. Why do some struggle so hard with some things? It’s not just the struggles. It’s the feelings of hopelessness. Of never being good enough. Of wondering if God’s gift, if Jesus on the cross, will be enough for me.

I would remind you, and me, that feelings cannot be trusted.

Christ says, My grace is enough, it’s all you need. Do we believe that? Do we trust His word? Because friend, He can be trusted. Our feelings, no. Our Heavenly advocate: Yes.

Really Lord? That can’t be it. It can’t be that simple!

"Many make a serious mistake in their religious life by keeping the attention fixed upon their feelings and thus judging of their advancement or decline. Feelings are not a safe criterion. We are not to look within for evidence of our acceptance with God. We shall find there nothing but that which will discourage us. Our only hope is in 'looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.' There is everything in Him to inspire with hope, with faith, and with courage. He is our righteousness, our consolation and rejoicing. Those who look within for comfort will become weary and disappointed. A sense of our weakness and unworthiness should lead us with humility of heart to plead the atoning sacrifice of Christ. As we rely upon His merits we shall find rest and peace and joy. He saves to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him." Testimonies to the Church, Vol 5, 199-200

If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I’d still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I’ll spare you. I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 The Message

So. Insert struggle here, _______ then turn and give it to Jesus.

by Jeanette Stark – Wednesday, February 22, 2023

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