How can I be a Christian and still struggle with… (*Fill in the blank.)
When I first began writing this post, it was meant to be about the struggle with fear and being a Christian. But after I thought about it, I realized that even if you don’t struggle with anxiety, you still struggle with something, and more than likely, you’ve asked yourself this question when the battle has raged.
My biggest struggle has probably always been with anxiety and fear. Maybe yours is the same; maybe it’s not.
Perhaps you struggle with even saying what your struggle is out loud. Are you worried you may be perceived as somehow “less Christian” if people knew what you battled with?
Yeah, I hear you. Me too.
It hurts to admit weakness and those shameful places that still get to us. Especially when you’re in the thick of it and everyone around you seems to be on the fast track to their redemption story.
We Christians love a good redemption story, don’t we?
You know the one—where someone stands up and tells a highly inspiring tale of how they used to be an: addict, cheater, liar, obsessive worrier, gambler, drinker, drug user, etc…
And then they met Jesus, and now they’re free.
End of story. Good for them—I really don’t mean that sarcastically, as much as I’m sure it comes off that way.
But the deal is, you and I are sitting somewhere in row 22, shuffling our feet nervously while looking around at the shining faces, wondering where we went wrong and why we haven’t reached nirvana yet.
I still struggle even as a Christian.
And I’m wondering if you do too.
My struggle may not look just like yours, but here’s the thing, whatever you struggle with as a Christian, it’s all the same.
I’m not better than you because my biggest battle is fear and worry. Perhaps you think your struggle is off-limits in the realm of Christianity—I’m here to tell you that is impossible.
Your temptation can drag you down just as easily as mine can drag me down.
When fear comes knocking, and I’m in a weak place, I get knocked down without even knowing what hit me.
And it hurts.
I lay there looking up at the pale blue sky, trying to gain the courage to get back up and wondering how on Earth I ended up on the ground AGAIN.
Shouldn’t I reach a point where this doesn’t “get me?”
This is also the moment where I think that this life seems to exist only to knock us down, and the worst part is, Jesus says we have victory.
Where’s my victory when I’m sucking air, and my chest is tightening up while my mind is racing at the horrible possibilities, and I feel like I might lose it for good this time?
The victory is in the struggle.
I wonder, have you heard this before? I also wonder if we’ve lost this truth somewhere in our Christian walk.
When did Christianity become about arriving somewhere rather than walking with someone?
I was in the book of Job yesterday and read where Job was speaking about God. He was wrestling and working through his thoughts about who God is and what our relationship is with him;
For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together. There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both. Job 9: 32-33
I couldn’t help but read it over and over and marvel at what this man said all these thousands of years ago. There is no umpire (or mediator) between us…
There is now.
So often, when I’m laid out flat after my struggle has slammed me down for the umpteenth time, I forget that Jesus is right there lifting me back up. He is the one dusting me off, cheering me on, and telling me to keep going.
He is walking this road with me.
Friend, are you like me, struggling and wrestling and some days wondering if you’ll ever get it right?
Do you ever say to yourself, “How can I really be a Christian—be saved and secure in Jesus—if I’m still battling this same old struggle?”
Well, guess what, if you weren’t struggling, you’d be giving in.
Let me say that again—if you aren’t struggling, you are giving in. Period. That is why the victory is in the struggle.
The world is filled with people floating downstream on a cozy raft while their desires and vices pull them along. It’s okay in today’s world to decide that if you feel something, that’s who you are, and that is what defines you.
Being in Jesus means we identify with him. Period.
Your struggle is just that, a struggle. It doesn’t identify who you are.
Yes, we struggle, but struggling means we’re alive!
In Jesus, we have the power to battle the current on the river of life—we’re straining and heaving and pushing upstream because we know a better hope and solid ground is waiting on the other side.
And, yes, sometimes it’s the same old annoying river that we fought against yesterday.
But through it all, there is this savior, this amazingly, gracious and redemptive mediator that swims with us. He is our helper, and he is the key to this whole mess.
Yes, the world knocks us down, and often we even knock ourselves down, but it is Jesus’ job to pick us up and keep us in the race. So please, friend, if you know Jesus as your savior, don’t fall for the lie that you will be all fixed up here on this Earth. You will battle and struggle with those same struggles you had in the past. And even though the battle becomes easier the more you give them over to him, you will still have bad days.
We may be redeemed, but we’re far from perfect.
Walking this Christian walk does not mean that you will not battle with the demons in your past and inside you; it means that you are not fighting alone. You have a friend and comforter and helper walking this path with you.
And you know what else is pretty cool? We all have each other.
None of us are alone in our struggles—as much as the enemy would love for us to believe we are.
So next time you and I are sitting in the back row listening to another redemption story, remember this; they’re just leaving out the ugly parts. And that’s okay.
Sometimes we don’t have to hear all the nitty-gritty bits to understand that they still battle even though they have a redemption story. Just know this, the battle’s there—I promise.
So, yes, friend, you can still be a Christian and struggle with whatever thing you struggle with. I would dare to say that this is how you know that you are a Christian.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,