" STRUGGLES "

By Michelle Self

Scripture:  Philippians 1:6

“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 


Some humans struggle with discipline, with consistency in determination. I’m one of those humans. But I do have enthusiasm! I have passion! I find excitement in the start of something new in my life! When that wanes, I struggle – and the struggle is real.


What’s your struggle? I’m not insinuating that you are like me, but if you struggle with keeping on keeping on, what do you feel is the real culprit within your life?


A couple of weeks ago, I found myself working in the recliner in the living room more and more often. It’s no big deal – working in the living room, I mean. For the most part, when I’m home to work, I have the run of the house. But it seemed silly to have a home office I’m not office-ing in. I started to attempt a diagnosis for this problem and came up with a great idea to increase productivity.


When you struggle, have you noticed it’s rarely in an area that is a hobby or something that defines how you relax, i.e. watching TV, perusing Facebook, reading your favorite novel, etc. The struggle is typically related to a hopeful habit, one in which you have determined would be best practice for you. Funny, we just want to be better but it seems to involve such effort.


I realized my office had much too much horizontal space. You know the kind – where clutter, random papers that have no home, collect. I think they may multiply when in this state of attachment! Simply put, it’s an environment that sucks the energy reserved for effort right out through the eyes that witness this. It’s draining, so I knew something had to change! I started to research curtains, and file holders that reflect my tastes, and wall décor perfect for work related success. Surely THIS will focus my energy in a proper way so I can utilize my great office space!


So just the fact that one desires a change can spark an enthusiasm that carries the effort, at least for a bit. An excitement that prepares one for the desired change – a spark that will ignite it. But how long is ignition going to feed the new change when the newness fades?


So I found the perfect curtains. I didn’t just buy enough for the window, I bought enough for the wall! I loved the way it looked and the way it made me feel! Then I found a cute wall hanging that described my feelings when I’m home – a simple caption in calligraphy on canvas that stated, “It’s so good to be home.” I found wire file holders that have wire flowers on the face of the hanging holders. So sweet. It’s feeling like MY office! The switch of my desk for my husband’s and a dresser that works as a credenza, and voila! The home office is complete! My office is ready for my consistent presence for work and personal related tasks. Ahhhhhhhhhh.


And here I am. In my recliner. In our living room. My laptop on my lap and my frustration brimming. That spark carried the effort a whole 12 days. The excitement had me looking forward to sitting in my office chair, but not changing my habits. My ignition got it started, but I’ve run out of gas.

.

Two things haunt me and console me, Friends. First, my struggle with consistency is concealed by my passion! Second, I am not incapable of changing, but simply cutting myself short by relying on enthusiasm rather than seeking for the fuel that will keep me running.


There’s a reason you desire to make a change. God creates many things in our hearts that provide a vehicle for working towards His destination. If you felt led, or a compelling desire that creates a move towards a positive, life-improving change that fits a godly behavior or life, you can seek Him to determine if that leading is from Him. If you have no reason to believe it’s not, or if you feel a peace (not excitement or passion or enthusiasm) when you ask Him if this leading is indeed Him, that peace is the Holy Spirit providing you the answer. He is present! So now what?


Its time I stop focusing on what I’m bringing to my need. It’s time I realize that He has the wisdom, power, strength, and grace that enables me to reach His destination for my life. I have an excitement that can ignite it, but not fuel it. I need Him. Those three words alone will take care of me … the knowledge that “I need Him.”


Say it, Friend. Tell Him you need Him to reach the destination He has identified for you. You may have to give up the credit and the glory for what you achieve, but our duty is to do just that - Give it up to point others to Him so they see what you’ve done and how He’s changed you! If we do this, we will see many more blessings surpassing the glory we could’ve achieved.


When God leads us to it, He will get us through it! This doesn’t only carry us in times of trouble and trials, but also through success and growth. If He leads us to lose weight, stop cussing, pray regularly, stop smoking, make financial changes, improve health, focus on relationships, or even make a change in a home office – He will provide the direction, energy, and focus. We need to only stop relying on our own efforts and allow Him carry us through, and give Him the glory He deserves so others will see what He’s done for us, and recognize He can work in their lives as well!


“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6