I’ve never been told that life is easy. In fact, I’ve been told the opposite. But no matter how many times people tell you that life is hard, I don’t think you really realize that until you find yourself in the middle of that very word.
It’s just that I’ve always taken that hard as meaning not easy, but right now that hard means downright difficult. The kind of difficult that makes getting up every morning a struggle and every smile a personal victory. It’s the kind of hard that weighs down on every part of you and makes you want to quit because you just don’t know if you can make it another day.
This is when the doubts set in. You can’t do this. You’ll never make it. It’s just too much. You should stop now.
I kneel down and let the tears fall. This is the time when I need that cheerleader friend to stand up and yell “You can do this!” but all I hear is silence. Where did everybody go? Why do I feel so alone? Perhaps I just can’t hear their encouragement above the din of my own thoughts.
I can’t believe I’ve made it this far, but I won’t believe I can make it any farther. I don’t want to. All I want is to be done. To be comfortable again. But comfortable won’t teach me, just like calories aren’t burnt by sitting on the couch. I’m working off spiritual fat here that is threatening my health in the Lord. I’m building muscle, but my whole body aches to relax.
I can already see the changes that this struggle has made in me. I’m stronger in my faith than I’ve ever been. I’m trusting God more than I ever have. It’s like standing on that scale and seeing that all the pain paid off. I’ve come too far to give up, but right now that’s all I want to do – and yet it’s the last thing that my heart desires.
I’m torn between what I want and what I know I need. Half of me trusts that my Trainer knows what He’s doing and the other half wants to scream, “You’re crazy!! I can’t do this!!” and walk away. I just want to be picked up and carried to that finish line, but how will I build muscle if I will not stand? He knows when I need to be carried and He knows when it’s best for me to keep on running.
And you know how they say that exercise is a mind game more than anything? It’s true of these struggles as well. If you believe you can’t, you won’t.
“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” -Henry Ford
In the end, it is Christ who strengthens me and makes it so that I can, but that doesn’t mean that He’s going to carry me over every hill; it doesn’t mean I’ll never feel the pain and burning of pushing myself beyond what I thought possible; it certainly doesn’t mean that I’ll never know sweat or difficulty. It simply means that He will provide me with what I need to make it to the end.
It is here where every step counts. Where one foot in front of the other deserves a cheer and a pat on the back. Because every move is a battle – a battle against the doubts that threaten to hold me back and keep me from that finish line.
I know what I believe. I know that my God is real. And I can say with Job:
“I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” -Job 19:25-27
And though my emotions are battling for center stage and these doubts discourage my heart, I just keep holding on to what I believe and pressing forward, knowing it will only make me stronger and healthier in the end – isn’t that what I want to be? Stronger and healthier in my walk with the Lord? Isn’t that what I pray for? What I ask for? What I’ve given Him my life for? He will not disappoint. These struggles aren’t for nothing.