I am sitting in a big ole wading pool of conviction right now. I put that out there so you know that this post is more like a mirror for me than an instruction or encouragement for you. I hope you still leave encouraged but I felt the need to be very honest.
There are issues in my spiritual walk that I wrestle with in a mighty way. They are struggles that I deal with daily and will probably deal with for a very long time to come unless God deems otherwise. Here’s the thing. I think they are exclusively mine. No one else on the planet struggles with the same things I do. And even if they do, their version isn’t nearly as challenging as mine because, well, I’ve got issues. My circumstances are different. My picture is more depressing. No one can possibly have it as hard as I do.
And I take this posture and I hold it up and it becomes a point of pride for me. Oh, look at how well I am holding up to my struggles and strife. Yay me for leaning on God so heavily. Now not only am I wallowing in self-pity, but I’m proud of how pitiful I am. Wow, I’ll take a double scoop of sin please!
But let’s not stop there. How about a few sprinkles of shame please? Now I know this seems contradictory. How can you be convicted of pride and shame at the same time? Because they are heart conditions. I am ashamed of the struggle so I don’t share it but I am proud of how well I am keeping my secret hidden and bearing up under it.
Sometimes I wonder why God puts up with me.
Galatians 6:2-4, 10
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone things he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. …So then while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Let’s get this straight. When I take my burden and I shove it under the spiritual rug, I am depriving a fellow believer who is going through, or who may have already been through the same trial, the opportunity to live in obedience to God. It is their job to walk with me and help me carry my load. It is in the job description of faith to do good to our spiritual siblings.
If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
It’s like my children telling me they don’t need my help with a project that they clearly cannot do themselves. Then when it doesn’t work, they get frustrated, mad and poised for meltdown. If you had let me help you at the beginning, it wouldn’t be like this. But you were too proud of your own capabilities (or at least your measure of them) to ask for help.
You know what, dummy! (Speaking to myself here.) It doesn’t have to be this hard to walk through these struggles. Submit yourself to weakness and humility and admit you don’t have it all together and seek out that trustworthy person who has been or already is dealing with the same trial. Bear one another’s burden for a while and see if it doesn’t get a little easier on both ends.
And stop pretending you have a corner on the martyrdom market.