Living on the Struggle Bus
Well hello, friends. Sorry that I've been a little MIA. I had to take a short break. And I wanted to just pop on here for a minute today to tell you what I've been going through. This won't be a long post, but just enough to maybe let you know if you're feeling this way, you are not alone.
I know we all talk about being on the "struggle bus" from time to time: spilling our coffee in the morning, forgetting the kids' lunch in the afternoon, and running late to church in the evening. We've all been there. But have you ever felt that you've been living on that bus? I'm not talking the hitch-a-ride-for-a-day type of riding, but the I-bought-a-cross-country-ticket-and-I'm-living-on-this-sucker type of ride. We all have our moments of struggle from day to day, but there are also seasons of striving that come along as well. That is totally me right now. I'm just living on that struggle bus.
This is not to say, "oh woe is me. I can't handle any hardship that comes my way. I'm a delicate little flower." No. But when all that you can see in front of you is just a hazy mist, it can start to get...annoying. Sometimes I beat myself up and tell myself, "Just get it together, Mary Kate!" And that will work sometimes. Because, yes, we all need to just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps sometimes. However, one can only get by for so long doing that. Sometimes the season you're going through demands a little more than pulling on shoestrings.
We should all understand that there are different types of "dark seasons" or "stormy seasons"... whatever you call it. Seasons of difficulty can be felt by entire families, friendships, relationships, communities, cities, countries, etc. But a lot of the time hard seasons are internal-- it's just you in the midst of the fight. They can be times of depression, uncertainty, unbelief, or feeling like a failure. And every instance demands a different counter-attack. So what do you do?
For me, I know that my God is always good. It's who He is. He's also faithful. He has been faithful to me at every moment in my life. You may think that just because you've felt hardship or had bad things happen to you that God isn't faithful. That's just not true. We live in a sinful world, and there is an enemy out to destroy us. So bad things are going to happen. We were never promised a perfect, trouble-less life. But my Father is bigger. He is stronger. And if He has been faithful to me throughout all the times I absolutely did not deserve it, then why can't I be faithful to Him when things are just a little unsettled? Too many people want to peace out at the first sight of the storm. Let me just say: God notices those who are faithful. We see it in Scripture. So relying on Jesus is #1. He is with us always. Just because we can't "feel" Him does not mean that He is not right there. Next, what I do when I'm feeling completely overwhelmed or I'm spiraling into a pit of despair, I take a second and breathe. Then I strip off every thought, expectation, obligation, or worry and I start my day with the mindset of "What do I absolutely know I need to do today? What are the things written in my DNA that I have to do or that I can do today?" For me, that is:
1.) Love Jesus, and show His love to others (especially teenagers)
2.) Create...something. anything. Just create
I am a pastor and an artist. Those things are written on my heart. So I know that, if I can't seem to do ANYTHING else, I can love God and love people, and I can create something.
So when you feel like you have no hope, you can't seem to find breathable air, the weight is pressing down on your chest, there is no optimism, and no positivity can be found, know this: God is bigger than you for a reason (He can handle all of it). Then strip everything away, and do what you absolutely know to do. Maybe that's loving your kids and husband or wife to the best of your ability. Maybe it's doing your job with excellence, exercising, planting flowers, cooking, providing for someone, or coaching a team. Just know this, my dear friend: You won't live like this forever. Keep seeking the Lord. The promises are coming. Hope dwells within you. New things are on the horizon. Daylight is coming. We have the victory.
Leave a comment if you feel like you need a friend.