The struggle is real….I know, that’s sounds trite on an epic level. God knows how many self help/psychology resources ranging from ground braking to insipid have said the same thing in more or less words or supported this fact and reality over the last X amount of years.
As someone with General Anxiety Disorder, I get it; whether you rolled your eyes at that statement or not. I also know how the struggle often exposes and demonstrates itself in my life. When I feel overwhelmed, stressed-when anxiety sinks its claws into the fibers of my heart and soul, my behavior becomes compulsive and excessive; I overeat(and indulge in all the fatty and unhealthy stuff, of course) and drink way too much coffee.
The struggle leaves me feeling wired, bloated and big time guilty because I caved in to its manipulation and grip; I played right into its traps and slid right into the slimy, treacherous center of its palm.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, it’s killing me-I know who’s the master and slave; I know I made the conscious choice to enslave myself to unhealthy behavior because I’m reeling and spinning; I’m struggling at the helm and trying to gain control over the erratically moving vessel known as my life.
When you are reeling and spinning, when you are everywhere and nowhere, you just find some way to fill the gaps, voids and throw a flimsy, transparent, sorry excuse of a blanket over your pain by being excessive. It’s not the answer, it’s not the way, it offers no answers or resolutions; it just brings you down further into despair. It’s a pathetic band aid and diversion that evades the truth and fact that you don’t feel well, that the struggle is so real.
But what if you could choose your master or have your master choose you? What if you were to invert your slavery, totally circumscribe, redefine and transform the ball and chain into an agent of peace and emancipation?
What if we chose or allowed ourselves to be chosen by grace and latch on to the real-the absolute truth, way and life?
Isaiah 54:10 confirms “for the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Your world may start to shake and unhinge, start to spiral out of control or even crash and implode into a fiery mess of brokenness. You might feel like the ashes in the aftermath of a wicked fire-dead and nonredeemable; but that is human life, subject to human conditions, circumstances and limitations. God’s peace, freedom and love exist, rise above and emphatically and completely supersede and conquer “our stuff”, our issues and incompleteness; the seemingly insurmountable voids of our lives on whatever level.When it comes to the struggle, Jesus said in John 16:33: “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace; in the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” The cross of Good Friday and the resurrection of Easter Sunday say, the “light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). The painful and sorrowful climb up Calvary was the trajectory Christ had to tread in order to establish our salvation and peace and to demonstrate and inaugurate the immensity and magnificence of God’s love for us.
The struggle, the cross is a bloody, humiliating labor of love that equaled and will forever continue to equal to our triumph in God’s grace. If Jesus overcame and continues to overcome human suffering in every sense of the word for our sake and exclusively for our sake; then we are the over comers and conquers through him and by the power of the holy spirit.
Jesus said it plainly; the world, human life is limited when it comes to acquiring true and authentic peace of heart, mind and soul and for whatever it can’t offer or offer only in a fragmented/piecemeal fashion, God affords fully, wholly, completely and perfectly because God is incomprehensibly bigger, grander and holier than human imperfection and misery.
He is the way, truth and life (John 14:6). Period.
Returning to the point we began with, when we are having one of those days, weeks, year or years; when we are an eyelash away from giving up or have already allowed ourselves to be mastered by our pain, anxiety and negativity, when will we want to become turnaround kings, when will we choose and come to believe, realize and accept who the true master is and allow ourselves to be enslaved by the freedom freely, readily, and abundantly available in the king of kings, prince of peace-God the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
When will we fill the loopholes, fruitlessness and emptiness of unhealthy habits and thinking with the grace found in the word of God and prayer?
When will we seek, desire and labor for our God given emancipation?
When will our struggle transform itself into God’s promised victory?
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