If you are a regular reader of this blog (all 3 of you!) or live in my house or know me through Facebook, I’m sure you’re aware that I’ve been struggling with my writing lately. When looking at the big picture, struggle is not a bad thing. Struggle has brought me closer to God many times. I know there are lessons I could not have learned without having to struggle through hard times and hard things. I would love to be able to embrace the struggle and throw myself into the demanding challenge of it all.
In the moment though, struggle is painful. It is difficult by definition. It is overwhelming. It seems insurmountable. When I’m struggling, I often get quiet and brood. I engage in emotional eating to try to make myself feel better (I keep forgetting it doesn’t work). I consider giving up at least once a day. I make plans and then abandon them, convinced that nothing I try will work. I distract myself with easy things that make me feel like I’ve at least accomplished something.
I almost had myself convinced several times that it was okay to put writing on the back burner because my family needed me. God wouldn’t call me to be a writer and expect me to neglect my family, would he? Surely when my son calls me from high school and wants me to pick him up, even though he could take the bus, I must put his needs (well, desires) above that calling. And there seems to be somebody wanting, or thinking they are needing, something just about every single day, so where does that leave writing?
I felt badly that I couldn’t be efficient and organized enough to come home to a clean house, which would make me feel comfortable taking time to write. There was clutter everywhere. Shouldn’t I clean it up before I took time for writing? I reasoned that taking care of my family should come first. If writing didn’t fit, so be it.
I was almost convinced until my husband broke through my silence and got me to share what was going on. It was late that night, so I will forgive his uncharacteristic bluntness. He listened to me complain for a while, then said what he thought. I was making excuses because I was finding the writing hard. I needed to be faithful to what God had called me to do. The family didn’t need me as much as I thought, at least for those few hours of the day that I had committed to spend on writing. What could he do to help? he asked. What a guy, right?
I hadn’t thought I was making excuses. I know I wasn’t doing it consciously. But on some level of which I probably wasn’t fully aware, he was probably right. In my mind, every obstacle had become huge. I couldn’t make the smallest decision. I was paralyzed, and needed a way out. At the very least, I was caving in to the difficulties. I was giving up too quickly. God wanted me to follow Him, but He never said it was going to be easy. I needed to continue to struggle.
My husband wasn’t taking no for an answer. He made it clear that he would be doing some things around the house to prevent me from using that as an excuse not to write. I appreciated his help, and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone, which has been another difficult thing about writing recently. I decided to seek out some sort of writer’s group, even if it was on Facebook. Community seems to be much more important than I had first thought it would be, for writing.
So what does all of this have to do with getting closer to God? Well, we all have struggles in our faith. Satan would like nothing better than for us to give up, to stop struggling. Let’s not give him the satisfaction. Whatever you are struggling with, keep up the fight. Do whatever it takes. Ask God for His help.
” He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 1:6