There were times when I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gone come, oh yes it will – Sam Cooke
I never expected my walk/life in salvation to be an easy journey. Nah, I knew better. I knew it would be difficult. Maybe that’s why I ran from this life. Surely, all my mess seemed easier. But was it really?
Did I not suffer at my own hands? Was I not miserable like everyday? Even if I was drunk, high, passed out, etc, my soul was screaming in agony. So why is it when things get difficult on this new road I want to quit? I say that I’m not prepared for this, #TheChristianStruggle, but clearly that’s a lie. I’ve been preparing for this life everyday out of my 28 years. It’s life. Nothing is easy and if it is, then I fear for your soul.
Why do we make being saved seem so glamorous and enticing? We make it pretty by putting on our nice clothes, makeup, shoes etc and showing others how God has blessed us. We compete with others with our talents, sermons, weddings, houses, cars, and shoot even babies! “My blessings are bigger than yours! My struggles were tougher than yours! Look at how God works in my life! His timing is so perfect for ‘me’!” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! Enough already! Breath is the blessing! Salvation is the blessing! Transparency is the blessing!
Oh my how far we’ve ventured from the path. We try to make the Christian path seem so inviting…so sexy. Ha! It isn’t. It’s rough, dirty, raw, unhinged, rocky, tumultuous…and some might even say uncouth. But yet we still try to cover up this truth. WHY?!?!?!? Because we still want the glory. Like we did something, or went through so much to deserve an awesome fairytale ending. I mean, after all I gave up my old life for this. But did you die?
-I think not. So why are you trying to drive a car on unpaved terrain meant for walking? I don’t care what “toy” you have, what blessing you got, etc. Are you going to give me a cane??? I’m trying to walk! What I am learning is that there are NO shortcuts on this road, but there are distractions; meant to make you quit and go back to the yellow brick road from which you came. Eventually you’re going to have to decide if you want to walk or not…and on which road.
On this road, there is no light but the one you wear in your heart. You don’t know what’s next and when you try to take two steps forward, you get blocked, hurt or even broken and you wind up taking more steps back just to brace yourself again. So do you give up? Most do.
Why do you think the word says that most won’t come down this path? It’s narrow. It doesn’t fit everyone; not your mama, daddy, best friend, etc. It’s a solo path; if they want to come, they have to walk it on their own as well. Half the time, we get frustrated because we start looking for other people while we’re walking. When we don’t see them, we go back, and we try to bring them. We see they “want” to come, but don’t want to walk on their own (lazy and stubborn etc), so we pick them up and start trying to carry them. Ha! How foolish are we?
So you’re now focused on this person, their issues AND your own? Hmmm, no wonder why you’re falling. Let it go. Stop trying to save others when you’re still drowning. Get up, let go and walk; build your foundation in Christ. Let him heal you. Let him change you. Do it one step at a time, don’t rush this. Let each experience strengthen your resolve to not go back to that old life (or even the “glamorized” Christian life) again.
Remember, you’re used to pain already. So what’s a little (or even a lot) more? Isn’t the peace of knowing one day you will be with Christ enough to keep you? If not, check your heart. Embrace THIS pain, eventually it will pass. Another one WILL come, but don’t look too far ahead. Know that we rejoice in this struggle because it means growth…but only if you keep walking…down the right path. Why give up now to go back to what made you unhappy?That other path only takes you to what you already know: misery, heartbreak and pain…let it go.
And let go of this idea that this is supposed to be easy breezy and fabulous. If that’s the case, then everyone would live as REAL Christians, not #PaperChristians. Ya’ll don’t want this life, no really you don’t. It’s hard work and it’s UNCOMFORTABLE! I mean seriously, Jesus was homeless and stank and we want to act like WE are not supposed to stink sometimes??? Things will get rough indeed! But don’t stress it; just walk following Christ-understanding that this pain is temporary.
Basically: Get over yourself! Don’t be embarrassed because you don’t look like those “other” Christians. Get over them! Get over what you “envisioned”! Get in the trenches! Keep walking! Get dirty! Get raw! Get real! Stay focused!
This is my reminder, a letter to myself to stop complaining because this life hurts. It hurts no more than what I did to myself to get here. It’s my goal to stop being lazy and to chase God the way I was chasing hell. Feel free to join me… but understand- I’m no #PaperChristian, so I’ll do it with or without you.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5.