It’s Tough, but You Got This!

I have recently discovered that my mind is capable of taking me places that I do not want to go. More specifically, my mind has told me that things are tough and I am not going to  get through it. My thoughts have also said it’s going to take years for me to conquer the challenges before me. I have decided to challenge that voice that has put limitations on me. Is it going to be tough? Absolutely! Will I want to quit here and there? You know it! However, I am reminding myself that anything worth having is worth fighting for. I know it sounds cliche and you’ve heard it quoted a thousand times, but it is true. Take a second and reflect on your current obstacle. If you’re thinking – I wonder if Starbucks will be open when I get there or I really need to get this paper finished on time – you’re staying on the surface. No, I want you to think about that thing that has been a pain in the butt. Consider the thing that keeps you up all night running through scenarios and options in your mind. The thing that makes you anxious or want to (insert strong action) when it comes to mind. Yeah, that thing!

Do you have it in mind yet? I am in no rush, I can wait. (cues background music)

Now that you have it, read the next sentence slowly. It will not defeat you and you will get through it. If you don’t believe it for yourself, that’s fine because I will believe it for you! I have faith that it is going to work out and if you need to borrow or even take some of my faith for the journey, take it. Now, I am not saying that everything is going to work out the way you want it to, but I am saying that you’re going to get through it no matter the outcome. And getting through it doesn’t mean you’re not going to struggle with it, be indecisive at moments or cry about it. It is completely normal to deal with an array of emotions, maybe even some setbacks, when dealing with a serious situation. Getting through it just means that you have perspective. Perspective manifests in two ways: 1) you know that you’re going to make it to the end end and 2) you’re committed to learning from it.

It’s easier said than done, but try to learn the lesson from the struggle and not just the pain or frustration. If you want to grow as a person, I admonish you to ask yourself: Who was I when/before this started? What have I noticed about myself in this?  How do I want to be different at the end of this? I cannot guarantee that things will miraculously change as a result of focusing on those three questions, but I can tell you that perspective is more powerful tool and can drastically change how you go through situations.

Is it tough? Yes! But do you got this? (insert answer -hopefully it’s a yes)!

 

 

The Fellowship of Suffering

The Fellowship of Suffering

I never quite understood what Paul meant when he said in Philippians 3:10, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being conformed to His death”. “In the fellowship of His suffering”? What exactly does that mean?

When we fellowship with others, we’re enjoying their company and often partake in some group activity and/or experience. Maybe you’ve fellowshipped around someone’s birthday or watched a game or TV show of some sort. The foundation of the gathering was not in what was being viewed, but being able to partake in the comradery and bond each individual shared with one another. That is fellowship.

So when the scripture talks about Christ in the fellowship of His suffering, it’s referring to us being in a position where we can empathize with Christ. Christ’s suffering had nothing to do with what He did wrong, and neither was it His consequence. Instead, it was a burden he carried that was placed on Him by others. He was sent by God to carry this burden, and although he struggled with it by asking the cup to pass, He quickly accepted the burden by saying, “Not my will, but let Your will be done”. Through His obedience, he was able to “destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).

This leads me to you. What suffering or burden has the Lord put upon you? What weight are you carrying that is not your own, but instead was given to you because the owner of it was not capable of carrying it? Or has someone wronged you and has hurt you to the core? Is the burden/suffering placed on you so heavy that you can barely move and are not sure how you’re going to get through it?

If any of those questions struck a nerve, great! You’re right where God needs you to be. We often talk about wanting to know the mind of God, and few of us are brave enough to ask for His heart. But can you truly handle His heart? Sure, we want the warms and fuzzies. We want the compassion for humanity and the optimistic belief that people are good deep down inside. Well, there is another side of God’s heart. The side that withstands backsliding. The side that is often told He’s not powerful or capable of changing bleak situations. And then there’s the side that’s often wounded by our rejection. Every time we reject Him, He thinks about what He took His son through for our sake. When we experience these same feelings of rejection and doubt, that’s fellowship in His suffering.

Like a social gathering, our suffering draws us closer to God and teaches us other ways we can lean on Him for support. You may know Him as a keeper, but do you know Him as a way maker? Your current suffering may require you to call on the Healer. Or maybe you need strength. Or is it a miracle? Regardless of what your need is, He has it. Fellowshipping through suffering also gives us a greater appreciation for what His son did for us on that cross. And just imagine that the suffering and burden you feel is only a portion of what He had to bear. So the moral of the story is this – your burden/suffering is not intended to take you out. No, instead, this is an opportunity for you to get closer to the Father. Think of it as a special invitation to understanding His heart.