Free To Struggle by Jacob Blouse
“It is too exhausting to keep up with the Christian life.”
This heartbreaking statement was made was by someone I personally know. He made this declaration when I was conversating with him after he had dropped out of church and off the social grid a few years back.
Like any good friend, I tried to encourage and pray with him. Bottom line… He felt like the pressure of being a Christian was too hard to live up to and he felt like a fraud. His family, friends and co-workers looked to him as the “Spiritual Leader” since his whole life revolved around growing up in church. He just couldn’t take the perfect expectation they had for him any longer.
I had beaten myself up for a while, wishing I had known the perfect words to say in those moments.
A few years has gone by and my friend’s relationship with God has been closer than ever before. Maybe he needed that breakdown for God to build him back up. Could that be why the words I said felt like they had no impact? Maybe. I’m just thankful that our Heavenly Father will never give up on us.
My friend gave me permission to tell of this because his prayer is for everyone to know that it is okay to breakdown. Just make sure that you breakdown in the arms of God.
I wanted to tell this story because I feel the need to encourage every Christian to check their spiritual and mental health.
Why do we let ourselves feel that we have to live a picture-perfect Christian life? Where in the Bible does God command that of us?
God has called us to LOVE everyone and MAKE disciples, but somewhere over the course of time Christians have bought into the lie that we are driven to be the example for – having it all together.
This has lead so many of God’s children to the point of telling themselves, “I cannot live up to the Christian standard.” This is nothing but a lie Satan uses to keep people from the plan God has specifically designed for them.
The reason that I am writing this is because I felt the Holy Spirit pressing on me that someone may read this and realize that they feel the same way. That being a Christian feels too hard to keep up with. The expectations are too high to reach. You may feel like you put on a fake personality just to show up at church on a Sunday, because you don’t want everyone to see you struggle. The year 2020 has forced us to get use to wearing a mask, but the truth is that most of us has been wearing a mask for years. Afraid of what people would think if they were to see the real you.
I hope you know that you are not alone. I have felt the same way.
I could point out so many accounts in the Bible of the strongest men in faith struggling. David is one of my favorites. We see throughout the book of Psalm that David has so many highs and lows with his calling. What I love most is how open he is about expressing this through his writings. Here is an example from David struggling with temptation in Psalm 55:4-8
4 “My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
5 Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.
6 So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.
7 Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah
8 I would hasten my escape From the windy storm and tempest.”
Although David was known as a warrior… he was also quoted by God himself as a “Man after His own heart.” It can be an encouragement to see such a great man struggle. In this we know that we are not alone.
The best example we see is from Jesus Christ himself. In the garden before he was arrested, he begged His Father to remove His calling from Him. (Luke 22)
Isn’t it encouraging to know that God made Himself flesh so he can dwell with us and experience human emotions? We can even read that He struggled so much with His calling that blood poured as sweat when He prayed. So what makes us think that we shouldn’t have to struggle?
God let’s us know that it is okay to struggle with our walk as Christians. Without the struggle, we would not have the daily need to fully depend on God and cast our cares on Him.
“Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 TPT
In closing, I heard a song that came across my Spotify the other day that the lyrics just blew me away. I can’t believe I had never heard this song before! This was was by the award winning Contemporary-Christian group – Tenth Avenue North. The lyrics to the chorus say:
We are free to struggle
We’re not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
Children, drop your chains and sing.”
The whole message of this song is to state that – It’s okay, to not be okay.
God’s blood has made us His children so that we have a Father to hold onto through the struggle.
So if you feel that this is you. That the struggle with our calling as a Christian is hard to handle at times. I encourage you to run to the Father. Talk to Him. And as always I am here to talk and pray as well.
Attached below is the song called “The Struggle” I referenced by Tenth Avenue North. Check it Out!