I don't think you can rank struggle. "My struggle is much worse than yours..." type of thinking. When you are struggling, in a dark place, fearful and worried - no matter what got you there, you are there. The way we each choose to react to our struggles may look different on the outside, but probably have many similarities inside. Guilt is a strong one for me. I find myself thinking '...it's got to be my fault. I didn't make a smart decision, or I should have handled things differently.' There's blame. (I'm good at deciding it's my husbands fault most of the time!) Anger loves to creep in. Resentment and bitterness can hold on tight. Anger towards God happens a lot. Thoughts like, "Does God even CARE what's happening to me?" "Why doesn't He do anything?" "Maybe God's not capable of helping or just doesn't want to" or "God's probably not going to help me because I deserve this."
Year #1 contained ALL of the above. I think these emotions and thoughts hit especially when we feel worn out and discouraged. But this isn't the first time I've faced struggle. I have lived through many other seasons in my life where I felt like my world was falling apart. I've lived through the 'stomach in knots'. I've carried deep resentment toward my husband for 'getting us into this mess'. I've lashed out. I've cried. I've laid awake all night. I've gone into the bathroom and grabbed a scissors and in a mixture of anger and deep grief, chopped my hair off. I've felt like my head was going to explode. I've refused to read the Bible. I've stayed away from church. I've shaken my fist at God and yelled at Him through tears, "If this is the reward I get for serving you, why would anyone serve you anyway?"
I sure want life to be easy and fun! I am being told all the time that it is suppose to be that way, right? TV commercials are the best! "I deserve it!" "Now is better than later!" "VISA - it's everywhere you want to be!" And the messages about marriage.....Oh, my gosh!....9 times out of 10, the message is: if you're not happy.....GET OUT! But the truth is....life is messy. Life can be hard! Commitment ain't easy. Being dead tired and having to get up with a sick child - again - doesn't add 'warm fuzzies' to your life. Facing unemployment and/or foreclosure can bring on panic. Feeling lonely is lonely. Fear is scary. And no one learns how to deal with struggle without struggling through struggle. We struggle. We learn. We struggle. We learn.
The older I get, the easier it is to look back and see the small baby steps of progress that have grown out of the struggles. And from each struggle, I have picked up and carried another piece of 'truth' that I have learned about God and myself and life, and tucked it away in my pocket for safe keeping. These truths that I've learned through struggle are deep down in my heart. They have become a part of me. They are not just head knowledge that I have read somewhere and memorized, but truth that I have struggled with and wrestled with and cried over and they have become attached and woven right into my heart. More of My Adventure to come, but first.....
Where are you right now in your struggle? Do you think God is just floating around on a cloud up there in the sky, and all of a sudden looks down and says, "Oh, Myself! What's happening?" NOT TRUE. God is VERY aware of what is happening. He cares. He is involved. I've noticed, though, that He doesn't act in the way that I demand of Him. I'm not above Him to order Him around. I'm not in charge. He is. And He has a plan....
"Our world is fallen. Somehow, through it all, God is telling a good story. Nothing will ever happen that God cannot redeem to move the story along to a glorious finale'." (Larry Crabb)
Surrender to, get to know, learn about...that God."