Inner struggles - how do we survive them? For me, they come on a weekly basis. If I were totally honest, I think I could say that daily I struggle with what I want and what God wants for me. Consciously or subconsciously it doesn't matter, I know that the struggle is there. Some days the struggle is truly within myself and on others it is with the world in which I live and wanting to be a part of it.
Frequently, I find myself caught up in the social ills that permeate every fiber of our being whether from the radio, TV, Internet, Twitter, Facebook or the magazines on the newsstands. No matter where I look, there is always something that makes me want to compare where I am to where the world tells me I should be. It begins innocently enough with seemingly non-threatening questions or headlines that open up a minefield of answers that often leave me wondering how did I go from thinking THIS (all things that are good, righteous, loving, of good report, etc.) all the way over here to stewing about THAT (jealousy, anger, bitterness, frustration) on a regular basis.
Why am I the only one in the world who is not happy, fulfilled and content with my lot in life? Where is my aha moment? When will I feel transformed or transfigured into a mighty warrior for God?
At times, I've felt weaker; less sure of myself and who I am and more dependent on Him but resentful for that dependence. That is until I immerse myself in the Word (the Bible or the scriptures) which takes these thoughts captive and gives me peace that can't be found anywhere else. I feast on them and allow them to soak into the inner core of my being and rise above the struggle.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
"Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NKJV)
But then I find that I am impatient. Society has created a whole new breed of people, of which I find myself a part of. We are the generation of instant gratification. I want it now. I want to do it myself. I don’t want to wait on God to supply all my needs or to reveal His plan for my life in dribs and drabs. I want it all and I want it right now!
This is not a novel concept. The prodigal son felt the same way, but in his case he went to his father and demanded what was rightfully his and it was given to him and we also saw the results of it. In our case, God is not so foolish as to give in to the demands of his spoiled, whining prodigies and thankfully so. Many times I've had to go back and give Him praise and thanks for NOT fulfilling a request because, over time, I saw the foolishness of what I was asking. I realized the consequences without actually having to suffer them and felt truly blessed that the petitions of my heart fell on deaf ears or that He said no or not right now my child.
"Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!" Psalm 27:14 (NKJV)
"But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
I continuously put myself out there; serving on many boards and committees, volunteering at every outreach in any capacity I can so that I am in constant motion. A perpetual state of busyness that won't allow me to have time to sit and listen to the still small voice. I am afraid to hear what He has to say but I'm even more afraid that I will hear and obey what He says to me. I have not learned to die to self completely and let His will be done although it is the deepest desire of my heart.
My physical, fleshly self won't allow it to happen. It would mean letting go of everything I have fought my whole life to keep - my independence or control. I don't have to tell you how much I like to be in control. It is indicative of my Type A personality to be in control of what goes on around me. But, I have taken my eye off the prize. Nevertheless, God is good because the Word redirects my path. It leads and guides me back into the Father's will and blessings beyond measure when I apply it in my life.
...saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:45 (NKJV)
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NKJV)
"For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing." Romans 7:9 (NKJV)
So, while I have my inner struggles, I am not left alone, lost or forsaken in them. I know where to go to get help or find my way when they arise. There is not one situation in my life that I have not been able to find resolution, guidance or direction about through the Word. Whether I have chosen to do what is required is another post in itself but the road map to survival is always available. The choice to use it is my own.