My Struggle To Embrace With Joy
I want to go ahead and get this out of the way. I titled this “Joyfully embracing the struggle.” It’s simple I titled it that because that’s what I’m going through.
See, up until about 2 weeks ago I was your average 20 something Christian. You know what I mean by average right? Grew up in church their whole life, went to bible college. Never really wrestled with God on anything. Avoided struggling with things in the faith and having friends that weren’t like minded. I was basically a close minded robot that was never taught how to seek truth but was just spoon feed truth. So what changed? How did I go from never questioning anything to questioning God on everything? From His existence, to His grace, to questioning whether it’s okay to have friends who think differently? What changed is God being gracious in letting me fail and not having the check list or spoon feeders right there to reassure me that if I did this and this I would be okay with God.
My Ultimatum To God
I found myself in some sin and after days of beating myself up for it, I asked God to use this to bring me back to reality. Well praise God for not bringing me back to reality but for bringing me to reality. What Satan intended for evil, the Lord used as a launching pad to get me to really seek Him. I quickly found myself wrestling with God. And you can never do that. At least, that’s what I was taught the last few years. I started struggling with believing if He is real. If grace really is free or if I need to sign a piece of paper and read a book to earn it.
In my car about 2 nights ago, I told God that if this is all Christianity is, then I wanted out. If it’s just living by a set of rules and completing list in order to maintain His blessings and acceptance, then I’m done. I was convinced at that point. The chains of this world were far better than having to maintain a certain lifestyle and constant fear of messing up. My best friend kept repeating herself over and over again on the phone, telling me not to give up and to accept the struggle. Shout out to my girl Jena for always staying patient with me!
Anyways. I was defeated by the idea that I had to arrive and be mature right this very second. I couldn’t enjoy the lifelong ride of sanctification. Worst of all, I found myself where most Christians find themselves, even if they never admit it. The fact is that I was angry and upset that I was struggling with God. I had become the very person my unit leader a few years ago said all Christians should be, and I hated it. A “struggling Christian, struggling towards Christ.”
A Messy Christianity You Can Enjoy
But why? Why did it upset me so much? Was it that I suddenly needed to dive into God’s word to learn about grace? To learn about Him? To learn about things I had always been curious about like sign gifts? The only topic I agreed with my friends on was the foundation of the Gospel, and I guess it upset me that God had provided me with these challenging friends.
The reason why? Because God and his grace no longer fit into my nice neat box, and my checklist became too much for me to keep up with, and it left me exhausted rather than refreshed. I’m learning that grace is messy, and that it throws a punch at our pride, but I’m also learning about how beautiful grace is. Because of grace there is freedom to fail, and freedom to seek Christ with our whole hearts. When we see grace for what it is messy, but beautiful, we see that the gospel truly does change everything. We see that sometimes how we define God’s grace is completely different then how the bible defines God’s grace.
Asking The Hard Questions
I think we all hit a point where we think we’ve got life, sanctification and “being a good Christian” figured out. We slowly find ourselves arguing with other christians and thinking they are idiots because they think a little different than we do. All our friends think exactly like we do. We don’t ask hard questions anymore, like “How did you get to this conclusion and where in scripture can you back that up?” Our idea of asking hard questions becomes, “Did you do your quiet time today?” We shy away from listening to pastors or podcast that don’t align with our beliefs. And that’s because we fear the challenge and the discomfort it would bring. But we need to embrace the differences. Because they challenge us in ways we would have never expected.
To Struggle Is To Live
So if you made it this far you’re probably wondering what my point in writing this blog was. It wasn’t to bash what’s wrong with the church, or bible colleges, or convince you to leave your church. The point of this was to say if you’re out there and you’re struggling and wrestling with God, and you aren’t sure about what you believe anymore. Then you’re in a much better spot than those who “aren’t struggling and have it all together.”
Don’t let the struggle discourage you. Be encouraged. There’s a sweetness in the unknown and not having all the answers. Because if we had all the answers, we would have no need for God.