This one goes out to the ones who are bruised and battered. The ones who struggle more than they reveal. If you’ve ever been down and out or wondered if you have one more fight in you – this post is for you.
My dad is a straight shooter. He’s not politically correct, doesn’t mince words and doesn’t shy away from the truth. In short, he sugar-coats nothing and is one-of-a-kind. Growing up he’d normally start a tough conversation with, “Good News // Bad News. What do you want first?”
I guess I picked that up from him because today I am presenting you with Good News and bad news. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to hear the bad news first. Here it goes.
Life is hard. Really hard.
Some us know this first hand because it seems like just before we get out of one battle, we are thrown into another. Today, you won’t find talk of rainbows or butterflies. Here, we are getting real; so here is the Bad News.
In life, we like labels. Don’t ask me why but we do.
Years ago, if you would have asked me who I was, I would’ve started off by saying I was a wife, mother and missionary. But that all changed the day I came home from working overtime, got up the stairs, and was served divorce papers by my husband. As shocked and sad as I was, one of my biggest fears was almost wondering who I would be after that.
This means I wouldn’t be Mrs. So and So anymore? We've been attached at the hip for the last ten years. The worst was when I saw the divorce complaint...the official paperwork, where at the top it literally read him vs. me. It wasn’t anything I ever wanted or even saw coming. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a piece of my identity had been robbed of me.
The same happened when my doctor told me I could no longer travel. Then he told me I could no longer do semi-physical work. Then he informed me I couldn’t work at all. I had been deemed medically disabled and that was extremely hard to accept. Especially when the handicap sticker for my car came in the mail.
I was crushed. This was my dream. I knew in my heart of hearts I was living out my purpose. Yet, it felt like watching everything I hoped and worked for crumble before my very eyes.
And some of you can relate. Maybe not with the divorce and debilitating illness…but perhaps you’re also a single mom? Maybe you’re trapped in the grips of addiction and you’re doing your best to quit but you’re on that relapse merry go round. Or mourning the death of a loved one it seems everyone else has moved on from.
People will come around use cliche's like, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” They’ll tell you your loved one is "in a better place" as if that cushions the blow of grief. They’ll tell you “it can’t rain every day.” But they don't understand that right now, I’m down. The storm has ripped pieces of me apart and it’s hard to know what to do. I literally have to remind myself to breathe.
Now here is the Good News and it is just that – the Good News – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God sees you in your struggle and still He sent His Son to die for you. Not while you were in a state of perfection but in your mess…your helpless addiction, your never-ending grief, my state of chronic pain, our failed relationships. He saw us and still wanted to give us the gift of eternity with Him.
We’re coming off the heels of Valentine’s Day. But I can tell you, Christ’s love didn’t come in a box of chocolates or look like a dozen roses. It was two hands, stretched out wide, nailed to the cross. He chose a gut-wrenching suffering for our benefit. Every dab of sweat or drip of His blood, that is what sums up your value. It’s the price He paid for you.
The suffering we endure today is nothing compared to the work of the cross.
And I failed to understand that my identity is determined by Christ alone,
and that it’s not tied to what I do or don’t do
but what my Savior did for me.
Erich Fromm stated, “If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I?” Erich Fromm was a German Psychologist famous for his Freudian theories. And many of us think this way.
It’s a trap I temporarily fell into myself. Over the years, my multiple sclerosis has stripped me of so much. If I am what I can do, what I have, what I can’t do or don’t have...I would not be here today.
Divorce was not my decision but it happened. Multiple sclerosis wasn’t my choice but it affects me every day. I didn’t choose depression but I struggle with it.
If I associate my failed marriage with my value, I’d feel lost once I divorced. If I allow society to determine my value, I’d feel less than to this very day. If I allowed my chronic condition to define my value, I’d have a limited view of myself based on my limited physical ability. God knows, I can’t associate my value with my feelings...those change daily and sometimes hour by hour.
Erich Fromm, just like his idol, Sigmund Freud was an atheist. But believers know better because we have Christ!
When we falsely associate our have and have not's with who we are – we lose. That is why planting ourselves in Scripture, being renewed in Christ, and living a life of love is so important. Because our identity is defined by our Creator and our Creator alone.
I'm not sure what you're facing today but I know this. The Struggle is Real. But you can chose what to believe. And trust me, I’ve read the entire book.
Spoiler alert: those that believe, at the end, we win!
Let's Discuss This:
- How are you silently struggling?
- Are you wrestling with something others feel you should be over by now?
- How can we avoid mistaking our inadequacies for our identity?
- Passion of the Christ, John Piper
- Get Out of That Pit, Beth Moore
- Wholly Loved Ministries, www.whollyloved.com