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When Everything Feels Like a Struggle June 8, 2010

Posted by orualundone in Faith Journey, Personal, Struggles.
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Last week I took a trip to the American southwest and spent some time in the desert. More on that later. The  trip itself was extremely complicated. It was a bit of a logistical nightmare, and in order for us to do the things we wanted to do in the time allotted many factors had to align properly. Some were within my control, but most weren’t (timing of flights, quality of directions to where we needed to get, driveability of roads to name a few). But everything went perfectly. There was barely a hiccup. Flights got in on time, connections were made, reservations were honored, campsites were even obtained in popular parks on Memorial Day Weekend. I couldn’t believe it.

I felt like the hand of God was on our trip. Like He was personally shepherding us on our way. And indeed it was a break that was sorely needed. While Christians tend to use “the desert” as a metaphor for a place of spiritual trial or torment, I found the actual desert to be refreshing physically, mentally, and spiritually. I hiked, I unwound from my stressful day job, and I spent a lot of time praying and talking to God and I felt like He taught me some important things on the trip. The vacation also renewed my bond with my husband and strengthened my marriage. Although it was difficult to come back to my life here I felt relaxed and at peace and grateful when I returned.

This week has been different. Even though its only Tuesday, it feels like the week should be over already. Everything feels like a struggle. Everything is difficult. When I speak, nothing comes out right. My actions are misinterpreted. The simplest task, whether at work or at home or in my relationships, becomes a monumental assignment with more problems and complications than I could ever have imagined. I send a simple work email and get an angry rant back. I open the fridge to get a drink and six things fall out. I sit down to read my Bible and suddenly there are 10 things the need my attention . A simple conversation begun in love turns into mutual hurt, guilt, and shame with no quick resolution.

On our trip everything made sense, everything was easy. I could put my life in perspective and feel like God was leading me somewhere I was supposed to be. This week I feel like I can’t find meaning, or joy,  in anything. I try to lift myself out of the 2-D world that I inhabit, where everything looks like lines and dots, into the third dimension so I can see the shapes and colors of the bigger picture but I just can’t manage it. It is frustrating, and in my frustration I make things even harder than they need to be.

My question then becomes: Is God with me any less this week than last week? Does the struggle of this spiritual desert negate the joy and closeness I felt when I was in the physical desert? Does the despair I feel today invalidate the hopefulness of last Tuesday? It sure feels like it sometimes. But in my heart I know that it is not true. There are many reasons to have a week like this – sheer coincidence, regular old emotional instability, attack from the enemy, lessons God wants me to learn. Or a combination thereof. But God promised not to leave me or forsake me, which means that no matter the cause or the reasons, He is at the center of it all. Instead of getting frustrated or allowing myself to feel ill-used, I need to find the place in all this where He is, and try to understand what I can learn from it, why I am reacting the way that I am, how I can move forward.

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