Have you ever had one of those weeks where everything just stinks? You know the ones I’m talking about– the ones where it feels like you can’t catch a break? Maybe it’s a bunch of assignments, or it feels like one misstep after another, or one annoying situation on top of each other, either way it all keeps piling up and it’s just a bad week. This week was one of those weeks for me. I was sick, and grouchy, and tired, and all I can say is that in every area of my life I felt like I couldn’t give my best. In those times, it is so easy for me to beat myself up and doubt my worth and identity (which compounds the feelings of loss and defeat). I kept praying for the funk to go away, and it didn’t– which led me to ask, what is the purpose of this bad week?
I can’t say I’m quite out of the funk, but I have decided to twist my view of this season and instead of beating myself up over and over; I’m going to say thank you. The words of thank you and the feeling of gratitude have a way of flipping things around and shifting the way you see things in your mind.
For me, I am saying thank you for the reminder of my humanity and flesh. I suffer from a chronic case of pride, and it is easy for me to think that I have it all together and that I am at least not suffering from fill in the blank. Yet, weeks like this remind me of how sinful I am, and how my flesh and spirit are at war with one another, and truthfully weeks like this work to keep me humble.
I’m thankful for weeks like this because they show me where I need to grow. Failure can be an uncomfortable word and an even more uncomfortable experience, but failure teaches us where we are lacking.
Failure outlines the areas of our life where we have not let God in, failure marks the battlefield where we have cried “you can have it all God, except this,” and failure reminds us of our very need for a Savior.
When we think about the freedom Christ offers us we imagine the chains being loosened and the burdens being taken off of us; yet, I think often our backs are so used to being hunched over and our hands so morphed to the shape of our chains that even when Christ promises us that they have been taken off, we have forgotten how to stand and still hold on to the chains that are ready to lie limply at our feet. It is twisted the security and familiarity we find in our insecurity, and it is horrific how easy it is to slid back into the patterns we hate. Until we familiarize ourselves with scripture we will never learn new habits, until we bend our knees in prayer and release our hands in open surrender with our scars to be seen, we will never learn how to stand in freedom.
I am thankful for seasons of struggle, because restoration is not available without brokenness. For flowers to bloom, the soil must be broken. For wounds to heal we must allow the sting of disinfecting. For restoration of our relationships, heart, and soul we must accept how broken and needy we are. Seasons of weakness and simply not being our best point us to the one who is the best and remind us that we are not enough. We are broken, we are failures, and we are human. Yet, we are promised restoration, we are promised freedom, and we are promised the Spirit. When we struggle we must surrender. I’m thankful for the reminder that freedom requires sacrifice, and that the ultimate sacrifice has already been made that I may be free.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5: 3-4 NLT