Some Days Are Harder Than Others

Life is downright hard some days. You juggle multiple irons burning in the fire at near lightspeed and manage to accomplish the laundry list of to-dos without overstepping your boundaries or hurting anyone. All day, you’ve managed to keep all four wheels between the lines as you truck down life’s highway. And then life deals you an unexpected blow or smacks you in the face with all its force for no other apparent reason other than because it can. You know—those moments where life takes your breath away but not in a good way. As people of faith, we are not immune from these valleys we stumble into along our journey. Life hurts. Yes, Virginia: the Struggle is real. 

What do we do?

As believers, we are called to continue on, faithfully, walking humbly, acting gently, being grateful, and nurturing a spirit of forgiveness. In our words and deeds, we show love, blessing even those who curse us. Even when it hurts. Yes, we mourn, and we grieve. Yes, we fervently pray, begging God for relief from our struggles. But it doesn’t end there. We get up and go on, moving forward, towards the prize, running the race with all our might until the very end.

As redeemed children of God Most High, we are all in recovery, rescued from our shortcomings, no longer bound by the chains of sin, while all the while, day by day, learning how to live life because He lives. It’s not easy. We aren’t perfect. But we are changed, no longer the same. Like new creations learning to find our way, we stumble, and we struggle, getting up after each fall.

God is SO good. Even on our worst days, He shepherds us, providing all we need to maneuver through the trials and tribulations this earthly life brings, from time to time during different seasons. In our plight, we turn to the Lord, showing our dependence on Him to traverse the storms life brings our way.

Jesus Calms a Storm Matthew 8:23-27 (ESV)
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

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More God, Less Me

Keeping life simple is a key ingredient in the recipe of recovery. Sobriety—not using or doing that thing that makes your life unmanageable—depends on living a life marked with gratitude and humility. There is no room for boasting or making much of myself. Life can’t be all about me.

Rather, life today is more about others. How am I impacting the people God has placed in my circle of influence? I try to go about this quietly, avoiding drawing attention to myself. By nature, for a variety of reasons (including ego) minimizing my efforts proves to be challenging for myself at times.

He has told you, O man, what is good;

and what does the Lord require of you

       but to do justice, and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

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You’ve all encountered the drunken braggarts at the local bar. Our fish tale keeps growing more preposterous with each rendition. Our hey-look-at-me circus builds into an explosive rant-filled dance begging for the spotlight to shine on us longer and brighter. Braggadocio is the life recovery calls us to leave behind. We no longer look to shine the light on ourselves but strive to build up others, helping them be all God intended them to be. We know that the Lord has a plan and that plan does not mean to do us harm. We are His servants, no longer slaves to our addictions, free to let God’s light shine through us, so that He may be glorified, not ourselves; so that others might benefit, not us alone.

We maximize God and lessen ourselves. We lift up others without highly regarding ourselves. We do it for the love of God and the love for others.

We recognize that we are lucky to be alive and whatever life we have is grand. Ours is a grace adventure, basking with gratitude and walking in humility.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

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Otherwise, our world is bound to come crashing down around us. We have to ensure we keep first things first, taking care to daily order our priorities. Life in recovery is, after all, a day by day endeavor. Our foundation, secured through our Savior, must be built on prayer and God’s Word if it is to stand. The Lord must grow in us, and we must make ourselves smaller to make room for Him. Who are we, after all, that God would concern Himself with us? Yet, we know God does. We must try to learn and understand His ways and His thoughts, so that we can make them ours, letting His light shine brightly through us. In recovery, our life becomes about God and others and less about us.

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” The Gospel of Mark 12:28-31