TracyInLA asked:

What exactly is it that you are struggling with?

My opinion:

First of all, since the question is about me, it seems odd that I should only have an opinion to offer in response, as if someone might disagree with me, and possibly have a more accurate answer.

I think that’s a proper characterization, though. At times, it’s difficult for the one who struggles to see objectively the nature of the struggle – a can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees situation. So, if you have a differing opinion on this topic, do tell.

I’ve struggled to answer this question. That is, part of my struggle is to understand the thing with which I am engaged in struggling.

I’m certain that I struggle with all of the usual suspects: weariness, poor mental acuity, hopelessness, worry, fear, anger, pride, lust, illness, weakness, stupidity, envy, general discomfort, disappointment, etc.

I can also be sure of this: I don’t struggle for salvation. I’ve tried to kick it off – salvation that is – and I can’t. I can’t get rid of it, by reasoning or other mental device. I have salvation, of this I’m sure, and in spite of my shortcomings, rather, in response to my shortcomings, salvation waxes strong. I am grateful for this.

In light of such stubborn salvation, I like to think that most of my struggle is for things, rather than against things.

I think I’m struggling for Truth, for abundant life, for the promise of holy rest which scripture compels us to seek. I’m struggling for making the most of moments and days, for words to express the beauty. Mostly, I’m struggling to push the darkness away, to shine the light and live in its glow.

I’m struggling for hope, the very thing for which every one of us struggles, the thing for which every preceding generation has struggled. The ebbing and flowing, yet never diminishing, hope that life is more than paychecks and vacuuming, more than laundry and lawn-mowing, more than broken relationships and broken dishwashers.

I’m struggling to make the most of every moment – not because I’m afraid I’ll lose something if I slack off, but because I’m overwhelmed by the desire to gain all that is available from the last drop of life that every moment has to offer.

Those drops of life are not about worldly success or superficial happiness from the happenstance of whatever happens. Those drops of life can be found in a Sunday afternoon nap, or a deep, sweltering grief. The best of life, the essence of life, is not defined by the content of the experience, but by the presence and recognition of God in the experience.

I’m struggling, therefore, to acknowledge Christ in all my ways, to trust in him with all of my heart, to love him with all, above all, and through all.

In this, I hope that I’m not struggling, or at least not spending much of my time struggling, to do what is right for the sake of being seen as righteous. This is vanity. If it can be attained, righteousness is fleeting, except as it is attained in Christ.

So, I’m struggling to seek Christ, and his righteousness, and in doing so, to hold back the darkness enough to provide others, such as my children, light enough to see by.

I’m struggling, along with an innumerable company, visible and otherwise, to hold up all that is holy and true and right.

I’m not very often successful in my struggles, I’m sure. I’m also sure, though, that small and infrequent success in this struggle is worth an exponential weight in a value I am unable to measure. As grace multiplies my efforts, and overcomes my consistent weaknesses, I’m holding on to the notion that my struggle is not in vain in the Lord.

2 thoughts on “struggling”

  1. What about this:
    Some people struggle. They don’t mean to, but despite their best efforts they find themselves rowing up an invisible stream of dubious meaning. The stream flows around everyone but everyone reacts to it differently. Some flow with it while others get out and walk. This theoretical struggling person’s natural reaction would be to struggle against their struggling nature- paddling across stream or anchoring up- but doing so only reinforces the situation as now they are struggling against their nature and not the stream. Realizing this (and assuming it is true) the struggling person accepts his nature and fights the stream but in a different way and for a different reason. He now engages the task with a nihilistic indifference, struggling but only because he has given up, accepted his fate, and no longer fights his nature, the stream is his only enemy.

    We are each daily invited to be who we are, and so there is no hope.



  2. That’s what I like about you, Nathan – always imaginative and never afraid to think deeply (maybe too deeply).

    Two things: 1. My conclusion would be the opposite. We are each daily invited to be who we are, and so there is hope.

    2. The nature of one’s nature is tricky. Although I think it’s best for all us to be who we are, the question would be begged as to whether we know what that is. Perhaps we’re not who we are, even when we think we are. Further, being who we really are and ceasing to struggle against our natures, in my view, would lead more to a victory dance than nihilistic indifference, i.e. hopeful rather than hopeless.


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