A young friend once asked me: What are some of the things you still struggle with after you got closer to God? Are there things that you have to continue to ask God for help with? I felt like my reply might help some of you, in your faith walks and spiritual growth. So, here is is my edited reply to my young friend about struggles I still face. I hope these thoughts are just the spiritual vitamin that you need to grow, to be spiritually, vital, real and healthy.
Until I graduate from this earthly realm, I will always struggle; I guess, like everybody. BUT it is very different now. I no longer struggle with who owns me. That question has been settled. Bob Dylan said in one of his songs “You’ve gotta serve somebody.” And I have found this to be so true. Solving the ownership question puts you in the right court, to face and solve other real challenges.
So now, struggles are more just dealing with life, on life’s terms. Knowing your spiritual identity gives you a solid footing in life. But it doesn’t stop life, from throwing you curve balls; even after you settle the primary issue of Divine relationship.
Still, with a healthy spiritual relationship with God; life’s toughest problems are so much easier to manage. Many great saints have given us valuable tips to find this inner peace, that helps us have serenity in the struggles of life. For example, Corrie Ten Boom said that she learned not to wrestle with God but to nestle with God. I guess that is what I feel like now..
Before, the struggles were internal. Now my struggles are just dealing with the external….. Oh, if I am sick or something that is pretty internal. And growth with God demands that I face many issues that are challenging. Yet facing problems now is easier. Difficulties are really not a struggle so much. They are a fight. But not a struggle. I guess what I mean is that while I may have to fight some circumstance that I have the power to influence. I do not struggle with God about them. Because any more, I am really trying to do His will and that condition is a rest, not a struggle.
Still, God lets me blow it sometimes ( I guess like Paul’s thorn in the flesh) to drive me to my knees and remember just how much I need Him. This usually happens, when I let feelings get the best of me and say something in anger that I have to repent for and make right with somebody. But thank God, it doesn’t happen as much any more. Especially when I stay in a daily surrender to His Spirit.
Feelings.. Well… that’s another matter. Sometimes how we feel can depend on how hot it is, cold it is, what we had to eat, and all kinds of stuff. I find that I don’t struggle with my feelings as much; when I am really in a peaceful serenity to God, even though fluctuations in them is normal.
I don’t know if I told you but I am a karate teacher. So I am always driving, pushing and striving to be more, better and improve myself. I think it is a part of my karate philosophy. But even this is motivated by a deep rest, in knowing where I get my power from these days…..
Open-ness, yes I really am…. It’s part of this honesty thing I am subscribed to for the last 4&1/2 years. But strangely enough my judge-ment only improves. I am able to be very open and honest and yet very discreet and select, about what I say to whom. I think as we serve God in a deep way, he grants us His wisdom. People can sense it and will seek you out for it. They do me, all the time.
Life for God is a simple thing really. Love Him and praise Him daily and be good to other people.… This is something all believer’s struggle with. But like the salmon’s swim upstream, to its birthing place; it is a struggle that produces life.