Embrace the Struggle

Embrace the Struggle

By Connie Lawson

To embrace the struggle is to welcome it.

To accept with pleasure the occurrence or presence of

Adversity in our lives. The pleasure I am speaking of is 

Not some odd I like to suffer track, but 

Reflects the true meaning of the word pleasure,

Which is to have a heart that desires to please Jesus. 

One that takes pleasure in pleasing our Lord.

Along with that, there is the unspoken meaning of looking

Forward to the outcome that the hard work will produce.

Join me, Connie, as we dive deep into God’s word

And ask Him to show Himself to us as He begins to allow us

To see ourselves for who we really are and see what is really

 going on within our hearts, minds, and spirits.

May we be willing to engage in the struggle and to see it through.

May we come out refined and pure, fully ready and able to 

Testify to His great grace and unending love and mercy. 

How do we Embrace the Struggle? 

First, we have to accept and surrender to the fact that there is, in fact, a struggle.

Every day upon waking we have this struggle. It may look different 

Between people but nonetheless, we struggle.

From there it gets both easier and somewhat hairier

Acceptance is a good and necessary first step, but we cannot stay there.

After acceptance, we need resolve and wisdom.

Resolve will help us to continue on and wisdom will allow us 

To see things clearly that we should be seeing. It will be an unveiling of sorts.

As we work and cooperate with God He will blow our minds by His willingness to 

Help us see, grow, and accept the sometimes uncomfortable parts of who we are.

The Lord will never leave you feeling shamed or attacked. If that takes place it’s one of two things, first, a lie from the enemy, known as Satan. Second, 

shame can be an informed trauma response. A built-in pathway if you will

 

Acceptance is not a way of giving up and laying down, 

Nor is it a way to resign to the “woe is me” life.

Acceptance, true acceptance is a gift, it’s a clear-headed understanding 

An acceptance of what is currently, and what needs to change,

 so that what should be can be built and thrive.

 

Problems are often bullies.

They mock us and let us know how miserable we really are.

We feel shamed and guiltridden, as well as alone. The neat thing is,

That is when I believe we are most ready to begin the long trek out of

Our problems and sins of the past and present.

Not to mention, our God knows us. 

Yep! All our sins, weakness, miserable qualities, secrets, and everything else

There is to know. Armed with that information, your Lord desires that 

You walk in the freedom that He bought and paid for on that Ol Rugged Cross.

 

We must understand that our God is a pursuer. 

He doesn’t tolerate you but he has an eternal and unending love for you 

Even when you struggle, sin, or fail He is still running hard after you.

You are His beloved. No one else knows you completely, not even you.

Despite knowing all of you He doesn’t ever hesitate when it comes to you.

You are wanted and beloved, treasured and protected.

Even when you fail, even when you sin.

This truth is why it’s time to stop living mediocre lives of complacency.

This truth will become the backbone for our next leg of the journey.  

Lesson One

Becoming Aware

Awareness is defined in Mirriam Websters Dictionary as the quality or state of being aware. Knowledge and understanding that something is going on, happening, or exists. This is very interesting and it isn’t even spiritual. You and I have an awareness or blindness to certain things pertaining to our lives. Maybe you have a really naughty child but you can’t see it because it’s too devastating, or an unloving spouse but you continue to carry all the weight and blame. Maybe you are struggling with pride and can’t see it due to a lack of spiritual awareness. We will always be stuck and stopped by what we cannot see. Awareness is another word for perception, and there is room to believe that we can be stuck by ours. If our perception is off we can really run into some problems. These problems are especially concerning because we can’t see them clearly, if at all. What you perceive will dictate your reality. So, consider the ramifications of perceiving incorrectly. 

1.) Prayerfully consider and ask the Lord if there is anything in your perception that needs to change. Seek Him as to what areas of your life, heart, and motives you are blind to.

Tip: Refuse to feel discouraged and down as the Lord reveals changes you need to make or sins you were previously unaware of. This isn’t a bad thing but a wonderful gift that shows you are on the right track.

2.) What do I know about myself or my past that still causes me trouble today?

3,) What further areas in my life might I be blind to?

4.) Pull up the deep internal feeling as you allow yourself to honestly assess your perceptions, yourself, and your past, and allow yourself to name the feeling, write it down, and allow yourself to be present with it, without judgment. 

Tip: Sitting with our feelings and past experiences is an important step because, it allows them to be released in a gentle way. When we can look back and understand (not validating as right that which is wrong) why we did what we did, felt how we felt, and responded as we did, it will lead us to a further state of awareness and compassion towards ourselves. Not to mention, give us invaluable insight as to how we as individuals operate.

5.) Where do you need more awareness and a new perspective? (interpersonally, relationally, family needs, money, job or coworker awareness, spiritually, parental, friendships.)

6.) Think over and journal what for you, is hard to do regarding accepting the need to become more aware and have a perception shift (exmaples might be, feeling afraid of being exposed, or shamed of the past wrong ways of thinking and coping).

 

How Do We Become More Aware?

I personally believe being aware is a supernatural gift to us from God. In order to have this request answered we need to do a few things. First, we need to be all confessed up. That’s right, no undealt with sin hanging around. If I regard sin in my heart He will not hear me.

  1. What sins have I committed big or small that have remained unconfessed?
  2. Is my heart ready to confess fully or do I need to seek assistance from another believer to help me pray?
  3. When is the last time I made confession and repentance a priority? What can I do to change this? 
  4. Is my life of confession and repentance leading me closer to Jesus or keeping me away?

Tips to help your prayer time

  • Spurgeon says it best, “short prayers are long enough”.
  • Crying is a good enough prayer
  • The more you pray the stronger you and your prayers will get.
  • Bring God everything. With Him, nothing is off limits.
  • Pray simple one-sentence prayers throughout the day.
  • You do have time.
  • God doesn’t mind if you fall asleep or battle your thoughts as you pray.
  • Discuss your anger, doubts, fears, and hard questions with God.
  • Ask Him for advice and encouragement. You will be surprised how much He loves to give these to us.
  • Ask repeatedly.
  • It’s ok and better to keep confessing the same sin than it is to give up because you haven’t yet been successful. 
  • God always answers prayers. If you feel He isn’t answering consider if your heart is in a place of humility to be able to receive the answer He has given. Sometimes, we think He isn’t answering, when really, it’s that we don’t like the answer He has given.
  • Remember God’s timing is not ours. Scripture says, the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Continue in faithfulness.
  • The more you pray throughout the day the more you will experience the Lord communing with you. 

 

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