Do you ever feel like you fight the same battles over and over again?
Whatever the battle itself happens to be, I’ve found that it can be completely aggravating and easy to lose patience with oneself. However, at the same time, I’m really grateful for the struggle because I know that struggle is the one thing in my life that forces me to change.
It is struggle that often reveals to me I’m not as strong as I thought I was and reminds me of my infinite need to draw closer to God. It forces me to confront my fears with courage, to believe that God can do the impossible with me if I ask Him because He loves me and wants me in Heaven even more than I want to be there myself.
It almost feels like magic sometimes, to contemplate that, but even better and more concrete than any sort of magic. It’s the truth behind the fairy tales, the happily ever after that so far exceeds the imagination.
In short, I find in times of struggle I have to admit that I’ve grown up too much, that I’ve tried to do much on my own, and that in my heart I’m still a child. But it is in finding myself as helpless as a child that I truly know what it means to be a child of God. And it is this experience of the ever faithful and entirely undeserved love of God the Father that takes Heaven from a lofty and far off destination and brings it to the center of my heart.
In spite of my many weaknesses and struggles, in spite of myself, it is so much easier to chase after Heaven when it feels so near at hand.
So today is gearing up to be a very interesting day.
I’ve been having some very stressful few weeks at work since this is our busiest time of year and today on our busiest day this week I forgot my cell phone at home. Unlike most jobs, I’m required to use my cell phone a ton at work. So initially I thought this was the worst thing that could possibly happen, but actually it’s sort of the best.
Instead of having my phone constantly ringing and blowing up with texts I’ve been using my office phone. The sense of urgency is gone because I’m actually taking one thing at a time instead of 4 at once in a seemingly never-ending sequence of group messages. I’m not aware of the play by play of what’s going on in other places, only where I am. I’m not absorbing other people’s stress or being bothered by things are beyond my control, as is tempting to do when there are a million things happening at once.
I really like the slower pace. I know society makes the idea of being constantly connected alluring, but I’m not missing it today. Maybe ignorance is bliss after all…
One summer several years ago I had just finished my freshman year of college and was waiting to hear back from an internship I’d applied to. To make some money in the interim I did some housekeeping work for the Bed and Breakfast where my mom worked.
One afternoon I was in a particularly beautiful suite cleaning the bathroom where there was a tub so huge I actually had to get inside it in order to clean it. I confess I was having a moment of bitterness because while my friends were off having fun and going on vacation I was stuck working hard. Instead of being grateful I chose to be frustrated. As I was cleaning this ridiculously luxurious tub I complained to God something along the lines of, “I should live to see the day where I can afford to soak in a tub like this.” Preoccupied with my own thoughts and taking out my frustration on my scrubbing I bumped the water handle which somehow turned on the showerhead and covered my clothes with water. I quickly turned off the faucet but had to laugh because as it turned out I would get soaked in that tub a lot sooner than I had anticipated.
I am forever grateful for God’s sense of humor in that moment because the encounter shook me out of my head and returned me to the mystery and adventure of the present. It’s a reminder I always need because I am so prone to missing the present by thinking about the future and the plans that I have instead of accepting each moment with gratitude as it comes.
I know that essentially what it boils down to is the eternal struggle for surrender, the fight to let go of control of my life and let myself be led by God. It requires a trust and a patience that I do not have by nature but that I hope to have one day by grace. And in the interim, all I can hope is that I do a little better with it today than I did the day before, knowing that regardless of whether I succeed or fail I’ll be one day closer to heaven.