I have a thorn in my flesh….and it hurts. It gets bruised. The pain comes in waves, but it seems like it is always there.
I struggle with competition, need for attention and if this gets out of control, the result is jealousy. Jealousy is one of those sins that might be the hardest to admit. It’s one of the ones we are the most repulsed over and causes much shame.
I feel a need for something to dull the pain, to forget—a distraction; maybe, work, tv, drink or food, entertainment.
The torture. The shame. I don’t want to be that person. I hate it. How unbecoming. How unattractive. So I torture myself for even feeling it. I condemn myself. “You are a bad person for feeling that. You are ugly. You are a miserable soul.” The assaults never stop.
The assaults are not coming just from me but my adversary.
“The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.”
“The devil prowls around seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
The enemy loves to turn our struggles into shame and guilt. He holds it over our head and says, “and you call yourself a Christian? Ha!”
I’ve always enjoyed attention. The age of social networking has not helped this, I’m afraid. I have used praise and compliments as a way to boost my self worth, except it never works. It’s like a cheap false satisfaction, like eating junk food, you feel full for a minute but it doesn’t stick long and you’re hungry again. Ravenous. There was no nutrients in it, so it was of no real benefit. You get a cheap high and then the crash comes.
I long for love, affirmation, and admiration; there is nothing wrong with this as this is a basic human desire. I want to be valued. I want to be affirmed, and found worthy. The insatiable ache!
I’ve been taught and told that I am of immense value. I was bought with a price. I am the apple of His eye. I’m a royal priesthood. I’m the daughter of the king. He knows every hair on my head. I’m loved beyond measure by the God who created me. I’ve been taught about grace from a young age. So if I know this and believe it, why is the ache so intense? Why must I continue searching in things that I know don’t satisfy?
Simply, we aren’t in Eden. We have not fully arrived and we won’t in this life.
The truth is, the struggles will continue, and this might seem to be a reason to lose hope, but all hope isn’t lost because, in the midst of the struggle God is redeeming and restoring what was lost. This isn’t the end. God is working all things together for good.
If we look to this world as trying to be ultimate fulfillment, it will be dismal. All our struggles will be for nothing if this is all there is and we never finally arrive.
We will live and die with the motto of The Rolling Stones, “I cant get no satisfaction.”
The fact is, because of the fall, the struggles were always there, the void, the ache, but the difference is I have become more aware, and while this is a good thing, being more aware made the struggles more intense, but before you tell me, “gosh you sound so gloomy.” I’d like to assure you that whatever gloom I may feel, it is not the last word. It’s only making the light brighter and this is giving me blessed relief and peace.
“Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4.
How am I to be healed, to overcome this thing, except through realization, admittance and finally, surrender.
Like a silent disease, denial is the single most deadly disease—denial of who I really am, and who God is—a suppression of the truth. This is to have no hope, dying a slow death by staying in my own way.
I am seeking the great physician. I’m taking heart, and facing it head on. There is only one way, bring it to the surface and kill it. My way might seem less painful in the short term, but His way is the cure!
I don’t want to be a follower of Jesus that never admits to struggle. First it would be a lie and second the world needs to see Christ exalted not man exalted. If Christians pretend to be perfect and all together, we set up a false belief about who God is.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect through weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
The story of grace is only really seen in the presence of brokenness.
Let’s help each other, encourage each other, in the midst of our struggles. Let’s practice grace. Let’s make it clear to the world that it’s God that works in and through us while we struggle, giving us the strength to overcome.
“Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
So The Rolling Stones can have their motto. God has something else in mind.
Psalm 107:9 “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
Isaiah 58:11 “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
Jeremiah 31:25 “For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
Isaiah 55:2 “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”