Okay, this is pretty cool...it was just a mere FOUR DAYS ago that I was downcast, frustrated, and somewhat at a loss for why things had to be, well, difficult...If you've been reading this blog frequently, you may remember Wednesday, I blogged about how when I was at the Elmo show with Lucy, I saw lots of parents struggling with their kids, and this led me to ponder a broader question... in general, why life has to be so difficult. http://justkeepinthingslively.blogspot.com/2009/09/question-for-big-guy.html
Like I said, that was just a few days ago, and today God totally began a conversation with me and I think he's leading me to discover the answer...
Jason and I are part of a C-Group that meets through our church. In lieu of a traditional "Sunday School" kind of set up, the adult ministry through our church, Cove United Methodist Church http://www.covechurch.com/ takes place in small community groups of four to six couples meeting weekly together in a home. It's a great arrangement for people to fellowship together, study God's word, be accountable, and grow in our relationship with Christ in a personal manner. Well, our CGroup is beginning a new book tonight, Waking the Dead, by John Eldredge, and I just finished reading the first chapter for our discussion tonight.
Here's what I read that stopped me in my tracks:
"What is really going on here? Good grief-life is brutal. Day after day it hammers us, till we lose sight of what God intends toward us, and we haven't the foggiest idea why the things that are happening to us are happening to us."
First thought I had was, phew, at least I'm not the only one who's feeling like life is taking a bit of a toll on me, I was worried I was being overly dramatic perhaps... :-)
Eldredge goes on to suggest that we are at war...At first I thought maybe he was the one being overly dramatic, but after reading more, I think he's dead on...check this out...he writes,
"WE ARE AT WAR
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10)
Have you ever wondered why Jesus married those two statements? Did you even know that he spoke them at the same time? I mean, he says them in one breath. And he has his reasons. By all means, God intends life for you. But right now that life is opposed. It doesn't just roll in on a tray. There is a thief. He comes to steal and kill and destroy. In other words, yes, the offer is life, but you're going to have to fight for it because there's an Enemy in your life with a different agenda. There IS something set against us. We are at war...Where DID you think all this opposition was coming from?"
There, that last sentence was the light bulb moment for me. Of course! It's not God that's creating challenges to my day (not that I thought God sat around and threw events into my dad to make it difficult or anything, I guess I just assumed since He was all powerful, He could allow my days to be good or bad). It's easier to play "victim" isn't it, than to be proactive and accept responsibility for controlling how our days will be?
See, me, I much prefer to pretend that I don't have control over how "good" or "bad" my days are, because it's much easier to just be in a bad mood because the kids acted up for 20 minutes, or because it took 30 minutes to actually get out the door, or because Jason's running late getting home from work and that means I have to get dinner started without extra hands to help with the kids. Yep, it's much harder to change my attitude to a positive one and focus on NOT letting those small challenges ruin my day or affect my outlook. This is why it always makes me so irritated when Jason challenges me to shake off what's bothering me (when it's a small matter), and realize that I can control how I respond to whatever situation is bothering me --I know he's right... :-)
I'll leave off with a quote from C.S. Lewis the author uses to clarify our situation:
"One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a Dark Power in the universe-a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the Power behind death and disease, and sin. The difference is that Christianity thinks this Dark Power was created by God, and was good when he was created, and went wrong. Christianity agrees...this universe is at war." -Mere Christianity
I'm eager to see what I'll learn from this study; I know God will continue to fill me in and answer my question of, "Why does it have to be so hard?!?" And in the meantime, I intend to fight the battle and though my daily actions - in everything I do- bring glory to God.