Does anyone else struggle with ‘why’ and ‘if only’ questions like these:
- “Why am I so…”
- “Why do I still struggle with…”
- “Why don’t I have…”
- “Why can’t I be more like…”
- “Why did God allow x…”
- “If only I had chosen x path…”
- “If only I was more…”
- “If only I had done x…”
I do. Constantly.
But the more I talk to people, the more I read about others’ struggles (I love reading famous people’s biographies!), the more I recognize that we all have something, we all have ‘thorns’ in our sides that we may wrestle with for a time, or even, for our entire lives. And that’s hard to swallow.
Recently, I have been struggling with something from my past that makes me obsessively run through all of those questions. If only I had done this, if only I hadn’t done that, why can’t I be more x, why did x have to happen?
But the Lord (and good friends and a wonderful husband) have gently challenged me to accept my lot, to even embrace this part of my story, to view it as something that the Lord allowed, perhaps for my growth, perhaps for others, perhaps for a grander part of His story than I can fathom.
To do this, to accept my story, means trusting that God is good and loving and knows what’s best for me, on a grander, eternal scale. Like a loving Father would act towards his child, He may say no or set boundaries or allow consequences or failure or struggle. And that makes me quite angry at times, thinking: God, you could change this in an instant! Why don’t you?
And like a loving Father, He allows me to rage and scream and cry out to Him.
But we may never know why, at least not on this side of heaven.
But when we choose to embrace what He has for us, we can experience joy and hope and peace in this life.
I don’t like everything about my story. There are things I wish I could change from my past. There are things I wish I could change in my present, things I recognize I may struggle with for my entire life.
But I do know that I have a choice. I can choose to be angry and bitter and filled with despair, I can choose to blame something or someone else for my pain. OR I can accept my story, humbly bowing before my Creator with an attitude of surrender, of saying: “Okay, Lord. This is the lot You have given me. I don’t understand why You have allowed this, but I trust You. I receive Your plan for my life, help me to honor You in how I respond.”
I expect I will continue to swing back and forth between accepting and fighting what He has for me in this life. Isn’t that part of the human struggle? But as I step into this phase of surrender and acceptance, as I take on a posture that means bowing my head, holding out my arms with my palms facing up towards the heavens, acknowledging that His ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts, I can trust Him. I can rest under His wings. I can accept what He has for me. I can let go of the anger and blame and guilt and resentment and release it to Him.
Then, I can finally rest. I can walk in hope. In joy. In lightness and laughter. In trust. In humility. In surrender. Knowing that everyday is a gift. Every moment is precious.