Embracing the Struggle

You know when you hear a morsel of truth and all you can do is slap the nearest desk and say, “Yes! YES!”?

That recently happened to me when I ran across this quote by Madeleine L’Engle:

“Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God and not in God himself.”

file1701347712205 - CopyIs it just me or does that quote make you also think of Jacob and how he wrestled with God (Genesis 32: 24-28)? The story has always intrigued me, probably because I’ve struggled with God for as long as I can remember. In this path of faith, I do my best to follow, but it’s hard, it doesn’t always make sense, and I crave more answers than I’m given. While I know there’s no other way, it’s still an uphill climb. But I know I walk closer to God because of it.

As I contemplated Madeleine L’Engle’s quote, I thought of how the worst of struggles make certain aspects of life richer, deeper, and more meaningful. I thought of writing. Just as I can’t relate to people who rarely struggle to have faith (or at least pretend not to), I’ve never been able to relate to people who gush about how much they love writing.

Lately, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, in which writers challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word first draft of a novel before December 1.) It wasn’t easy. In fact, some days were downright miserable and I nearly gave up once or twice. But I also saw highs and parts of myself I’d forgotten existed. It was a struggle, but it wasn’t in vain.

As much as I’m not a fighter and as much as I wish I could rest in God’s love effortlessly or bat out manuscripts with a smile on my face and not tears, I wouldn’t trade the results of the struggles. I’d rather limp like Jacob. Not so that I could show off my scars or get sympathy, but so that all I am and all I do would be genuine.

Do you agree? How have struggles made you stronger?

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4 comments on “Embracing the Struggle

  1. Lizzie says:

    Woot! 🙂 Was so excited to see that you had a new post up when I opened my e-mail this morning! 🙂 Have been eagerly awaiting when you’d have a new one.

    This is a great post. We do learn so much through the struggle. Have been thinking a lot about Jacob myself lately. I never got his whole “wrestling with God” thing, but I think I’m starting to understand a little bit more now. I wonder if sometimes when our heart is right, wrestling with Him can be a way of honoring Him, you know? Because the Bible is filled with talking about seeking Him, searching for Him and His will, praying for discernment and knowledge, all of which kind of imply that it takes work from our human perspective to see things the way He does. To wrestle with Him and the questions, in a way. And if our end goal is to understand Him better and go deeper in our relationship with Him, maybe it’s not a bad thing…?

    Not sure if that makes sense, haha!

    Great post again and glad to see you back here! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Lizzie! And that does make sense. Completely. I suppose at the end of the day because we are mere humans, if we truly seek to know God, it’s going to involve struggle because His ways are so much higher than ours. It’s a refining process, and pretty incredible when you think about relating with an infinite God. Now it’s my turn to say I hope that makes sense! I probably shouldn’t talk theology at 5 am. 🙂

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  2. donnalhsmith says:

    Great post Meagan. Seems like I’ve been wrestling with God a LOT in my life – but usually it happens more when something good is about to break through. Oh – that’s breakthrough. Jacob wrestled with God before his breakthrough with Esau. But struggle is part of the process, just like a caterpillar goes through transformation to become a butterfly. 🙂

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