I was listening to a sermon podcast yesterday when something the preacher said gave me pause: if you think about it, you aren’t still struggling with the same things you were ten years ago. His point was that the struggles we face seem so big when we are in them, but with the passing of time, we find that they were not impossible. We find that by God’s grace, eventually, victory comes, healing comes and we move on… to a new struggle, but at least it’s not the same as the old.
My thought when I heard the preacher’s statement was that I actually do still struggle with the same things I did ten years ago, but I wanted to make sure that wasn’t just me being cynical. Since the new year is so close, it seemed like a good time to think about where I’ve been versus where I am today.
Ten years ago in 2005, I was living in Raleigh, NC. I was broke in my wallet and in my heart. I was on the fringes of life in every possible way. This was a season of nothing working out the way I thought it would. God’s provision came in unexpected places, though, from friends new and old and my job, which although it did not pay well, was pleasant enough most days. But I had fallen in to some debt and burned through my savings while experimenting with life in Raleigh.
My first day back at work after Christmas this year, I texted a good friend that I was feeling low. About what, she asked? I identified that I felt fearful of being alone and about all the big financial decisions I’ve been making lately. Fear in relationships and money: This is the same struggle I had ten years ago. And when I look back, even though so much has improved in my life since then, I don’t think it’s the struggle that changes so much as they way I struggle.
The real change has been in my thought-life. The inner monologue I repeat to myself. The lies I no longer believe that used to keep me up crying at night. The desperate longing for attention that I knew in my heart would lead nowhere. The anxiety of running out of money and having to return home in disgrace. The weight of the responsibility to be “successful” in life would crush me from time to time.All that is gone. Or mostly gone. It creeps in from time to time, as it did earlier this week, but when it does, I have a new strategy to deal with it. If I’m fearful of something, that’s exactly what I need to do. Push into it, and see if it doesn’t roll over. Even if it doesn’t, at least then I will know what I’m dealing with. Hopeless defeat has been replaced with courage. Or that’s me on my best days, anyway.
I’ve learned so much in the past ten years. My faith in God has been formed, though I professed faith in Christ for salvation when I was eight. It’s like Jesus said, Which is easier for me to say, Your sins are forgiven, or Take up your mat and walk? It’s true. Over the past ten years, God’s taken me from Your sins are forgiven, to Take up your mat and walk.
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Your Turn: Do you have ten year-old fears? Are there things you need to deal with once and for all? We would love to pray with you for you to take up your mat and walk. ~ Joni