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  • Writer's pictureErin E. McEndree

Struggles Bring Growth

I've been listening and discerning what God wants from my life. Being patient in the struggle while, at the same time, hoping for future promises is difficult and draining. Yet, I find myself closer to God through the struggle.

It was a different kind of Christmas time for our family. COVID was not invited but showed up anyway. My immediate family was not sick, but the far reaching tentacles made it impossible for my husband to take time off to be with my family for four days.

I am sad to put up the decorations. When I am driving at night, I still look to see who is holding onto the season. Slowly, dimness reappears as the lights that lined rooftops go dark. Every January, a little part of my soul goes dark, too. I love everything about Christmas. I'll have to wait until next October to see red and green again--or maybe by next year, commercialized greed will show up in September (haha).

What did you receive for Christmas?

When you received a gift, did you say, “The wrapping paper is ugly.”

When you opened a gift that was not your style and knew you would never use it, did you give it back?

If you received clothes that did not fit, did you give them back and say, “It doesn't fit and I don't like it anyway”?

Most of us are careful to be thoughtful to our family and friends. We appreciate the gift even if it is not our style or our size.

However, over and over again we throw the gifts God gives us in the trash right before his eyes. Sometimes we even wonder why good things never happen to us. We would rather hold onto fear and pride than to take a risk and accept what God has for us because it is not in the 'right' package and how we wanted. We think that the gifts from God are only the ones that make us feel good.

God may not wrap our gifts in a pretty box with a big sparkly bow. He may have gifts for us that include going to see starving kids in Uganda, cancer, loss or political unrest. He may be trying to use our gifts to help the poor, dirty, smelly homeless people in our own communities. We may have to grow into our gifts or loose something so our gift fits.

God may be trying to stretch you into a ministry you are not comfortable with right now, but He will never lead you to something impossible. You may not feel like you can do it or that it is not your ‘style’, but God will grow you into what he wants you to accomplish for him…if you will let Him. Moses was not ready at the beginning nor did he have the skills…God supplied. Jonah was not willing…God pursued him until he was.

When God puts a dream or a desire in your heart, do you suppress it , deny it or foster it? Do you pray, research and gain skills to make it happen? Many times fear or pride takes over.

Fear is being scared to take the steps God has put in your path. Fear lives because you are lukewarm and causes you to be numb. Pride is thinking you are above the work God puts in your path. Pride is defiant and causes rebellion.

Challenge: Instead of using fear and pride to guide you, mature into being acceptable to God and concerned about His people. Instead of accusing Satan of causing all the problems, focus on what God is teaching you in the problem and pop Satan’s bubble.

If you can identify that fear and pride are guiding you, you can make changes by intentionally changing your thought process to see what big things God has planned for you. Stop denying God and thinking He can’t, because he can if we, me and I will just get out of the way.

What thoughts do you need to change? Do you live in a state of fear and pride? Well, cross the boarder to accountability, forgiveness and cooperation. I will pray for you!



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