I struggle. I struggle often. I struggle to be, to do, to hear, to see, to accept, to give up, to give in, to risk, to put myself out there, and and and… I struggle a lot.
I can hear it now, “Cari it’s okay, don’t worry about it, life isn’t that hard, you’ll be fine, but you’re so great, I’m praying for you, just trust, and so on.” Well meaning friends who read the word struggle and immediately become uncomfortable. One reads the word struggle and often thinks a person has a low self esteem, is going through a very hard time, or is simply being a downer. Often people read the word “struggle” and will either attempt to rescue the person out of the struggle or in some way pretend or excuse the struggle away.
To struggle means one’s life is uncomfortable and we here in the US do not like to be uncomfortable. In fact, I believe we’ve come to worship comfort. We worship comfort so much in this place that we often believe that if something is uncomfortable then it must not be good. Somehow we’ve equated comfortable with good and discomfort with bad. And we live our lives seeking to be as comfortable as possible.
I am choosy sharing about my struggles, because I don’t want to be rescued or dismissed or over dramatized. I simply want someone to hear the struggle and maybe sit with me in it. Struggle is one of the most powerful tools of spiritual growth and we don’t actually have to look for it, it comes naturally. It is in the struggle that we learn to hear the voice of God, discern good from evil, find our voice, fight for justice and grow in dependence. I don’t want to be rescued from struggle because I believe that good, true good, often is found in the middle of it.
Now, I’m not saying I like to struggle and I’m not even saying that there are not times where rescue is exactly what I need. I am saying however, that the struggles I face today are avenues to growth if I fight them instead of give in to or ignore them. If I were to ignore my struggle with food, I’d never become healthy. If I were to ignore my struggle with risk, I’d never step out in to the unknown. If I were to dismiss my struggle with believing lies about myself, I’d never be free of them. If I were to give up trying, because it’s hard, I’d never reach a goal. If I were to never experience the struggle, I’d never grow.
Yes, I do struggle. Some days more than others. Sometimes the struggle is louder than others. But I struggle. I struggle, because the struggle itself is good. So next time you are facing a challenge, be mindful of your definition of good and remember that the fight or the struggle may just be the best thing you can walk through. Then invite someone willing to walk in the struggle with you. It will be good.