I’m struggling a bit today with humanity. I’m struggling with watching people repeat the same mistakes and commit the same abuses that have been going on for centuries and not learning from the mistakes of the past. I’m struggling with all the attempts, efforts, and force that is used throughout history to maintain abusive systems that degrade fellow humans in a variety of ways. I’m struggling with the hypocrisy of claiming to follow Jesus, and then either completely ignoring what that means in practical sense, or contradicting so much of what Jesus calls on followers to do and how to be. I’m struggling with the addiction to toxic individualism and how destructive it is. I’m struggling with “don’t tell me what to do” attitudes. I’m struggling with the idols that so many people actually worship but would never claim to worship.
Internally I struggle with this weird habit I have to knowing that news and social media can be really destructive, yet for some reason continue to be drawn to them far too often. What is it that I gain from these things? A sense of knowing what is going on? A certain set of feelings? A feeling of how right I am compared to other people? Probably all that and plenty of other things that go below the surface.
Internally I struggle with seeing certain public figures who are very vocal in their stubbornness and resistance to anything that would possibly be a benefit to others. I struggle with it because I see parts of myself that I don’t like in them. Parts that I know are dangerous in myself. I’ve been there and know exactly what that is like. And maybe its a fear that those parts haven’t been completely conquered, that they sit and wait for the right time to rear their heads and take over.
Internally I struggle with having a vision that is so grand and far into the future, that I have to figure out to reign it in to where others are so that it doesn’t seem so far off and imaginary. I see the possibilities and the benefits, but also the potholes along the way, yet how to convey that to others that only see what is right here right now?
Internally I struggle with saying and believing that all I can do is proclaim an alternative way of being and invite people into that, and actually living into that limitation and being satisfied with it.
The further one goes in the journey of faith, I think the more struggles and frustrations we face. We see more about the changes that need to take place in ourselves and how we need to continue to be invited to let go of so much that we have held onto for so long, like a security blanket. We are invited to let go of the idea that we have any control over our lives – and that feels terrible so often. But there are times when we grasp a different reality – that letting go of the idea of being in control isn’t terrible or even a loss. It’s a release. It frees us. It gives us something that we didn’t have before.
The struggle changes at this point, from just a weight on our lives, to a blessing. Some time ago I heard a phrase that I tell others now. It’s often said in jest, but the truth of it is real. “Only people who are alive have problems and struggles.” They remind us that we are alive. Struggles then become a gift. They show us what we need to let go of – maybe better stated, they show us what God is trying to take from us to make room for grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness. Struggles come as an invitation to let go of them. To go through a form of life, death, and resurrection. Death is a form of letting go completely. And it is only through a form of death that we ever experience resurrection. Struggles are a way of moving us to a form of death, of release, so that we can be resurrected and experience new life.
So today I struggle. I don’t enjoy it. And I try to see the gift that is being given to me with the hope that I can let go of it, so that I may experience new life, better life.