Enduring to Grow

This morning was one of those times where God just met me right where I am. The sermon was about building faith and steadfastness. This is an area that I know I need to grow in, particularly being steadfast. The last 2 weeks have been a little bit of a roller coaster. There has been a lot of excitement and planning for the future and getting excited for those plans. Right in there was lack of sleep and a bit of a struggle with memories but in a new way. Rather than remember through thoughts, my thoughts would be calm, but my body would remember. Things would play and physically feel like they were happening, but I was always fully aware that nothing was happening and feel calm. And there seemed to be a disconnect between my brain and body, because even when I tried to talk myself down it would continue to play through.

That stirred up all kinds of feelings, temptations, guilt, and led to some old coping habits. And that was exactly where the message this morning met me.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

That is a high standard, to count it all as joy and know that this will lead to being complete and lacking nothing. James doesn’t leave any room for questioning for what God’s promise and intention is through the struggles. Which is explained beautifully in Romans:

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

This leaves a conviction about how many opportunities for growth have I missed? And how much shame have I felt because of turning to an earthly means of coping? In those moments when it seems like a quick solution is better, God has something better planned. All He asks is for endurance, and to find joy in the midst of the struggle because He has a plan and has it under control. This leaves my heart completely in awe. It’s so simple, but so powerful. I think of the times that I have chosen to endure and how God has covered each of the gaps and always provided a way. That’s where I have control. I don’t gain control when I turn to something that turns into a cycle of having to use it again and again to get a moment of peace. Control comes in being a conqueror, in letting God come in and fight for me because He already won the battle. I want to have endurance, character and hope. So it’s time to embrace it, depend on God, make it a spiritual marker and know that it is going to be another part of my story that God gets victory. This is how I know God loves me, He speaks to my heart, gives me clear direction, and has a wonderful promise.

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