Friday, March 14, 2014

Real Struggles

I've found that most people have a hard time talking about their struggles. Specifically, when I ask other Christians what they are struggling with they usually mumble something about not being nice enough or needing more time to read their bible.

Not all Christians I know do this, but a big majority of them seem to have an issue talking about what they are going through.

I think this is wrong. I realize that they might think I'll judge them if they are honest, or they might be embarrassed about what they are struggling with, or they simply may not wish to share, but I'm tired of the trite answers I keep hearing. We Christians (and people in general) are supposed to love and respect and not judge each other. Talking about our struggles with other individuals who might have gone through the same thing can start the healing process! Talking about our faults lets us realize we are all human here, and this is not a competition.

Making up shallow struggles in an effort to look good, on the other hand, does not help.

(Also, I'm not talking about strangers, I'm talking about people I know, people I either go to church with or see on a regular basis. I don't randomly ask strangers how they are doing, I suppose because first meetings are filled with other kinds of conversations.)

So today I'm going to talk about some of the things I have struggled with.

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means, mostly because I'm human and I have the funny problem of trying to turn my struggles into other people's problems or attempting to simply ignore them by stuffing them as far down into my subconscious as possible.

Perhaps that should be my first confession. Hah!

If you ask my husband what I struggle with, he would say patience. And he would be right. I'm very impatient. When he told me I needed more patience, I got impatient waiting for him to explain to me exactly how I struggle in this area. Suffice to say we ended up laughing.

I'm also selfish. In small ways, like feeling sorry for myself because I have to do the dishes, or wanting my husband to do this or that. I'm also selfish in major big ways. For example, I don't like it when my husband tells me I can't buy things. Honestly, I should not even be asking him if I can buy things. We have a budget. If I've already spent all my personal money, I shouldn't keep asking him for shoes or shirts or books or haircuts. He's not my parent, we are both adults that should stick to the budget. But I'm selfish! And I struggle a lot with staying inside our budget and not going over because I just saw a sale that could not be passed up. The goal for life isn't "attempt to make self as comfortable as possible by buying all the pretty things at all the times and without restraint" but rather "make the world a better place". I fail at living like that. All. The. Time. There are many other examples of my bouts with selfishness. I'm working on it.

Another thing I struggle with is judging others. Hi, my name is Carolynn and I judge others. And I don't know how to stop. When I see someone who is overweight, I think to myself: I am so glad I'm not fat like that. Instead of seeing a person I usually just see the weight they wear and judge them for it. Yes, I'm a terrible person. I'm trying not to elevate myself above others for any reason, especially a reason like myself being born with genes that make loosing weight easy and gaining weight hard. The fact that I'm a size 12 has nothing to do with my worth and the fact that someone else may be a size 22 has nothing to do with theirs. I don't "win" at life or beauty or anything by being a little bit skinner then you. I try to remind myself of this but I still can't help judging the "overweight" people I pass in Walmart.

I struggle with managing my time. I think everyone should like me, and I really struggle with accepting people who don't accept me. I mean, it makes no sense to me when someone isn't interested in me or says I'm weird or gossips about me or writes me off as stupid/lame/not good enough. If you want to make me livid, tell me I'm stupid or lame. I'll go off on you. Because clearly everyone should like me.

For major struggles: I, at one time in college, struggled with watching anime porn. (This is so awkward to confess...) It has been years since I've given into this particular struggle, but at one time it was very real to me. Also, in my last relationship my boyfriend cheated on me. I was super upset, so to get him back I went and cheated on him. Not my finest moment. I was terrified for a long time that because of my choices I was now an awful person who would eventually cheat on my husband--but I never will. That's a choice I'll never make again. Thankfully, my past X and I are both Christians now and we have totally forgiven each other and now are friends! It is amazing to have healing in this area.

So yeah, those are some of my faults. I'm not afraid to share them, although I'm not proud of them. No one is perfect, me least of all. The things I've gone through, the bad choices and things I deal with on a daily basis--they all just point me further towards God.

What about you? Are you struggling with anything lately? We are all human, and we all need grace and forgiveness.


Tori Bragg said...

I've struggled with self-worth/self-esteem issues for years. It's more or less a daily battle that I don't always have the strength to win, because it manifests itself in so many different ways in my life. For example, I have a hard time believing God can love me. I know He does, as a fact, but I feel like all I ever am is a disappointment to Him, and I have a hard time really believing He can love a failure like me. It makes it hard for me to sit down and study the Bible or even pray sometimes, because I feel like I don't deserve to talk to Him and that I'm constantly failing Him, that I'm not good enough for Him. I often feel the same about my husband's love. I'll work and work and work to try to make him happy, but if he's upset or something's wrong, the first person I always blame is myself. I find I'm subconsciously scared he'll stop loving me, even though I know he won't. At times his love has kept me from completely falling apart, because it reminds me that if he can selflessly and unconditionally love a mess like me, how much greater is God's love for me, no matter what I've done or how many times I fail?
There are a lot of other ways this issue affects my life, but this comment is already really long, so I'll stop here :P But yeah, that's my biggest struggle right now. Thanks for sharing yours! I really do think it's important for us to share struggles, so we can support one another and help each other grow, but sometimes it's just so easy to push them aside and act like they aren't there.

Rachel G said...

"Making up shallow struggles in an effort to look good"--Jon Acuff talks about that, I think he phrases it as "Confessing 'safe' sins." That's often a big part of Christian culture. My biggest struggle for a long time has been forgiveness. I've come a long way...but until about two years ago, I didn't even realize that I had to/ought to forgive people who hurt me, whether or not they were sorry. Somehow I just looked over all those forgiveness passages in the Bible until that point. Argh. But forgiveness IS freedom for me, and it's worth striving for

Carolynn said...

I used to be scared of that (husbands love) and I still am sometime. What helped me was when my husband told me he was scared of loosing my love! Hugs! My struggle with god is believing that he notices me. That he has time for me. Thank you for sharing! Also I love you and hugs and feel free to talk anytime, you are never a bother dear friend. :)

Kristin said...

I struggle with being a people-pleaser and wanting everyone to like me, which is probably one of the reasons why I tend to keep my real struggles to myself. I'm also a really selfish person and I'm judgmental a lot. And I'm really bad with managing my time. (Sounds like we struggle with some of the same things!)

Susannah said...

Wow, how wonderful for you to be so vulnerable! I've been recently having such an issue with Christians not being honest as well and I've been judging them for it. That's so wrong of me! Thanks for linking this up with the Faith and Fellowship blog hop!