Sunrise Sermon: The Struggle is Real

The older I get, the wiser I become (in some cases). And maybe wise isn’t the right word. Perhaps it’s really aware. The older I get, the more aware I become. Actually, the word aware doesn’t really sum up my feelings adequately. The feeling I have is a mixture of intrigue and awareness, so if you know the word for that, scroll down to the comments to share it with me.  For instance, I’m aware that many of us have similar struggles; yet, I am intrigued by the revelation that many of us live parallel lives.

Here’s an example: Many years ago, I joined a gym ( I bet you know where this is going). I didn’t really have a defined goal for joining, but I did want to become fit. I must’ve been in my 20s  — so full of life yet so naive. I signed up for an affordable package and vowed to meet with a personal training weekly. I had convinced myself that there were no obstacles in my way since the gym was literally across the street from my apartment, and I could go 24/7. After a couple of weeks, my enthusiasm began to wane. That weekly commitment was now too restrictive. I wanted out, but I had signed a contract. For the next few weeks I worked harder at finding reasons not to go than I did during workouts. Somehow I eventually got out of that contract, and I had my life back.

Years later (in my 30s), I joined another gym. This time would be different. I had a fitness goal to become toned (I’m sure you’re giggling right now). So, it wasn’t a SMART Goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive), but it was better than the goal I had set in my 20s. This time I was motivated. Summer was right around the corner, and I wanted to look like all the beautiful people on the beach. Silly, huh? Before long I came to my senses and realized that being a beach beauty was overrated. Being fit and healthy was really the standard I needed to meet, but it took a while for that mindset to mature.

The virtue lies in the struggle — not the prize. ~Dr. Chris Thurman

The struggle is definitely real, and it’s so necessary. If we begin to look at our struggles as seasons of refining, getting to the prize might just seem like a short break to sit, reflect, and celebrate before jumping back into the refining pot for the next season. For those who don’t like to struggle and do whatever it takes to avoid tough times, get ready to struggle. For the rest of us, let’s just re-frame our struggles by reflecting on them and finding the lessons in them. Instead of being miserable because you must endure tough times (like everyone else), ask yourself what God is trying to teach you during this season. You could even go to him in prayer and ask.  He’s waiting on you.

Speaking of waiting, I hope that no one is waiting to see me at the gym because it’s not gonna happen. Yep, I’m still noncommittal concerning fitness goals, but I did buy a treadmill a few years ago, and I use it weekly. Now that I’m nearing 50, I just want to be able to walk a few miles without getting winded. Since I’ve already accomplished that goal, I guess the next logical step is running, but I’m in no hurry to do that.

Reflect on this: We rejoice in our sufferings , knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5

Praise God for our struggles, for they produce endurance, character, and hope. May blessings abound! <3

7 Thoughts

  1. My challenge with this is … why must there always be a struggle?? I think I have more than proven that I can endure. I want to be believe that I have pretty good character (correct me if I am wrong). And yes, I can always do with more refining … And I believe I have hope. So why must there always be a struggle. There is always SOMETHING. Some challenge or struggle is resolved, then here comes another … (sigh). But … I keep praying, I keep believing…

    1. Do you believe that you’re in perpetual struggle-mode? That would suggest that there are never any triumphs or cause to celebrate. If that is the case, we may need to redefine struggle. P.S. I don’t think your character is in question. <3

      1. No, I have to admit, despite the challenges, I am blessed! I have had and continue to have many triumphs, many reasons to celebrate. The fact that I wake up every day with a sound mind and body is a reason to celebrate! OK – as usual, you have given me food for thought … opportunity to do more refining …

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