My youth group started doing a new series this year and, believe it or not, it’s about how to do hard things. When my youth pastor told us we were studying this I thought to myself, “Really?” I have spent the last five years of my life having to make hard choices back to back.
Year one was my dog bite. That was the first time I really dealt with hardship, and I absorbed every little thing I could learn. It took my about three years to fight through it, and with each year came it’s own branch of new things to learn (at the time I really didn’t see it that way). Throughout those three years I learned the value of hardship. I learned how God can make us stronger through all of it. And, I learned some great ways to deal with hardship when it comes my way.
Last year I discovered I had a nervous stomach. At first I thought it would go away as soon as I learned how to control it, but that didn’t come until NINE MONTHS LATER. Being an extrovert, it was rare that I didn’t want to go out and do something with people. I turned into a hermit, and really wanted to stay home every Sunday from church, and most Wednesdays from youth group. I shut down. I wanted to give up. And, honestly, I gave up hope that I would ever feel normal again. On top of that, I really struggled with depression and anxiety during those nine months. There has never been a point in my life when I felt worse.
Things are a lot better than they have been, but I’m still struggling with those same things. Still trying to learn from them, but also trying to move on, and leave them behinde me. So, when my youth pastor comes over and tells us we need to go out and make hard choices, I wanted to laugh. It was like I had just run a marathon and someone was telling me I had to go and do another one.
I learned a lot from those nine months of struggle, and the last five years of my life that were hard. But, right now, I have two pretty big struggles.
- I’m struggling with feeling bad for myself, and thinking I deserve a break because, “I went through five years of hard things”
- I’m struggling with the fear that things will get as bad as they were before; I am honestly terrified that I’ll have to go through those nine months again
I could get on my soap box and preach, and preach, and preach about how important it is to face your hardships. The reason for that is because, even though I had no hope, I still had faith. I knew that eventually something good would come out of my struggles, so I was determined not to give up. I only remember a few Sundays that I stayed home from church because I felt nauseous, and that was because I made the hard choice. I knew that if I gave in, and stayed home, I would be giving in to Satan for throwing all of these struggles at me. And I was determined not to give in. Now, after nine months, I’m seeing the good.
I talked to one of my youth leaders about what’s been going on the last couple months. A week prior to learning about the study, she asked me if I’d ever be willing to share what I’ve learned. It looks like I’ll have the opportunity to share quite a lot this year, and maybe help a lot of people out.
Last week I actually considered telling her I didn’t want to share, because I didn’t want to spend too much time dwelling on it. I’m really afraid things will get bad again if I dwell on it to much. So, instead of giving in to fear, I decided to make the hard choice and share. Trust me, as someone who has had to make hard decisions left and right for the last five years, the last thing I want to do is make another one. But I know I have too.
There are so many things that come with our struggles, both good and bad. The hard part is not getting absorbed in how bad you feel, trudging on, and doing the best you can with what you have. You won’t be perfect, and some days you will feel like crap. But, you always have God with you, you don’t have to face anything alone, and not everything lasts forever.
Pretty soon I wanna try and write a blog post about one way I keep going when I feel like crap. It’s something that has helped me multiple times, and I really hope it’ll help you all as well.