Challenge Accepted

No one knows how impeccably sad I’ve been at times. But I wouldn’t want them to. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel as I did. I simply wouldn’t wish that upon someone else. But I also realize every other person has their own struggles I do not see. Pains that I do not feel. It is now that I pose the question, and I wonder, what do you cry about?

My reason for daring to ask such a personal question is for you to ponder about it yourself. Get to know yourself. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. See what gets to you. Identify your adversity. For in acknowledging our struggles, we are able to choose the humility to allow God’s grace to fill us in our brokenness.

It’s a lot easier to write that down than to actually do it. Trust me, I’ve tried. When faced with adversity, it is the human tendency to only think, “Me, me, me, me! All these things are happening to ME! Why can’t they all just GO AWAY!” *Stomps off dramatically*

But the Lord doesn’t work that way. We cannot “pray our problems away.” I’m not telling you not to pray. In fact, that is definitely something you need to do when faced with life’s challenges. But we cannot have zealous prayer followed by sloth in our actions.

When I was kicking and screaming (last year) because I was starting to do the whole “adulting” thing, my dad would say that life is hard, but one gets a sense of satisfaction when accepting its challenges and eventually growing and overcoming them.

My gut reaction was, “Of course, what a GUY way to think about things!” And my feminine sensitivity still just wished everything inconvenient would go away.

But there is wisdom in my father’s words. Accepting challenges is intimidating. Recognizing that your life isn’t perfect or a pleasant cake walk is quite the downer (which again fits into the attitude of me kicking and screaming). But the simple fact is that if we wish to get through life, accepting challenges is necessary or else we wouldn’t grow and we’d remain miserable. Or of course we could live in a fairytale-like ignorance, but that is hardly practical considering reality nor is it ultimately satisfying.

Essentially, we need to say to ourselves, “Okay, I see that this thing exists. It makes me upset. I don’t like it. But I also know that I can rise above it.” Then follows the best way to do just that.

Well, what is the best way? Google might have some suggestions, but God only has one answer, and it is a whole lot more rich.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Here lies God’s answer.

If we pray for God’s grace to flood our souls when we are facing our own Noah’s Ark epidemic, we place ourselves in His hands. He can lift us up. We trust that He will take care of us, while, simultaneously, He will tell us the course of action we ourselves should take to overcome this obstacle, all guided by His grace.

It is not our strength, our achievements, or our personal accomplishments that supply us with the energy needed to overcome adversity. That would be egotistical. Rather, it is His grace, manifesting itself through our actions, that gets us through the day.

In this scope of things, I actually wouldn’t want my imperfections of life to go away. (Don’t worry, I’ll take those words back when cowardly fear comes back to me.) If I didn’t face challenges in life, it would be lost opportunities for God’s grace to fill my soul and I would not experience that closeness with Him. Which brings me to another Bible verse:

“Those whom God loves, He chastises.”

Our suffering, therefore, has some purpose. Our duty is to find it and embrace it, not fight it. So the next time you don’t feel God and you only feel the weight of the world’s problems, try thinking of adversity in a new light. Ask for and open heart to receive God’s grace and help, because He longs to give it to you. He wants you to feel peace amidst life’s craziness. He wants to fill the cracks of your soul with grace. Let Him.

 


β€œI will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

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