A friend sent me a card many years back when I was going through my divorce. On the front it read, “The best lessons in life are usually the hardest.” (I immediately began expecting sympathy.) The inside read, “Is this a stupid system or what?” It gave me a much needed laugh at the time.
The last few weeks of my life have been unusual. And I hear it from my closest friends – their lives are closing out differently this year with struggle that you can feel in your spirit is somehow good. Without struggle or tension, we don’t ask why and we don’t grow up. And struggle doesn’t always equal growth – it depends on our response to it.
I have friends who I see every few years who are still dealing with the same problem they had the last time I saw them. They haven’t grown. I walk away and leave them with it because it is their struggle, and just like me, they need to work through their stuff.
There are many organizations from A to Z who are asking for donations this time of year, and I have a request of my own. I want more peace. And yet I feel it, I have it. As I sit here and type these words, I feel the peace of God within me. It’s the circumstances around me that try to take it away. And as usual, wherever I focus my eyes, I receive from that source.
A favorite author, Ann Lamott, believes that sometimes we are distracted by life so that something good can get itself born. I believe that God works in my life in such a way that aligns with that thought. Many times He just needs for me to be willing, to be still, so that He can do a new work in me. And I am thankful. For I want growth…no stagnancy, no molding cheese or odorous waters…I want growth and challenge and change.
I miss the mark a lot – especially with words. But I’m learning to embrace the struggle because I have learned that I need it. I need what is mine to own. I’m also learning to stop and think. I’m learning to let others own their own stuff. I don’t need to carry that. Mine is enough. And I carry it with Jesus’ help…which is always there if I focus my eyes on Him.
So no matter what is happening around you, along with me, stop to be still…stop to listen…stop to notice and ascribe value to others, yourself, and your time with God. And whatever you are going through right now, remember to embrace your struggle and ask your Father how He wants to grow you through your circumstance.
Remember to check where your eyes are focused….it makes all the difference. Let your goal before year’s end be more growth as you yield to your Father’s hand. He loves you so much.
(c) Robin Lawrimore, December 2012