Forty Days Returning, Day 27–On Struggle

One of the side effects of this new world of working from home is that I am less aware of what day it is. I lose track of time. Now that I do work-work in my home office, I get mixed up when I’m up here doing my personal work. Thus I totally did not realize until late last night, that I had failed to post my nightly entry of this blog. Oh dear. Time to rectify that now, as the morning sun is streaming through my window.

“Why do you do this every day?” someone recently asked me. “Because I don’t want to let down my dozen of adoring fans,” I quipped, then sobered. “It’s as much for me as it is for other people. And while I like the idea that someone, even if it’s only one person, is reading my thoughts, it’s my own way of reaching out. It’s another way to connect that’s not work-related.” In some ways, it’s my message in a bottle that I wrote about a number of years ago. It’s my way of connecting with the world, particularly during these days of separation from others. And do I invite you to settle back and enjoy this entry from last year.

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Forty More Days, Day 22–The Struggle is Real

I have to admit that I struggle sometimes. After all these years working, I still am assailed by self doubt. No matter how much I might accomplish, no matter how many people tell me how awesome I am, I somehow manage to not believe them, to not believe in myself. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a daily phenomenon–I do have days, many of them, when I am confident that I have done well. But at other times, the struggle is indeed real.

There are times for struggle, when we have to “rumble,” as Brene Brown calls it, with our doubts and fears, our shame and frailties, and myriad other states of mind and heart that we so often inhabit. If we are open, we can grow and learn from our struggles, but we must be willing and in the right head space to look for and accept the lessons they teach. There are different types of struggle: the kind where you wrestle with issues like self-doubt, and other emotions, and then there’s the kind that result from resisting what we’re being shown. I can remember when my mother was “explaining” something to me, she would grab my chin and turn it in her direction, commanding me to look at her. I was most definitely resistant to that.

Resisting sometimes, in fact often, prolongs the struggle, extends the lesson. There’s a balance in there somewhere. A time comes when you realize that to struggle is pointless. It is easier to simply surrender, “I give up. Show me what I need to see in the midst of all this drama.” This too is real. There is a wisdom in this form of surrender. Surrender in this case is not about quitting. This form of surrender takes courage. It’s a letting go of being right, of all the things that one can get hung up on in the process of learning.

We’re all learning in what Gary Zukav calls, “Earth school.” And we learn as much from the struggles, from the surrender, from the whitewater rapids of life as we do from more calm, easier, placid times. If Jesus learned obedience from those things which he suffered, it seems appropriate to me that I too learn from my own forms of suffering and struggle. I am grateful for that and would not trade it, even though it is painful.

Throughout this journey of these 40 days and beyond we’re going to have our struggles, we’re going to suffer. It goes a bit with the territory. Lent is not a fun, celebratory time. But this is a learning season, a time to be open to the lessons woven in with the struggle. Yes, I struggle, and the struggle is real, but I embrace them as best I can, learn from them, then let them go. “Trouble don’t last always,” the old folks say. Thank goodness.

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