I used to think I was less of a Christian because I struggled… a lot. But now I know God wants us all to be wrestlers.
I’ll never forget that moment when I asked a small group leader if it would be okay if all the members of the group shared their sins and struggles with each other so we could pray for one another and hold each other accountable. Innocent enough, I thought. Like iron sharpens iron, right? We are in this together. I was all glazed over with warm fuzzies thinking this group into a little family or a group of besties. Or something. The response? Ummm, I don’t think that everyone is comfortable with that.
I felt my countenance change like a girl who showed up to a costume party in full display only to find out it was business casual.
Oh. Eyes dart to the ground. Ok.
What was wrong with me? I was a pastor’s wife. Who wrestled. With everything.
Constantly questioning and wondering and thinking, but I never felt bad about it. I just thought it was normal. But in this moment I started to think that perhaps I was the only one struggling through life. And why was I struggling while everyone around me lived seemingly perfect lives?
I refused to believe it.
Deep down I knew the only way I would grow was to wrestle and ponder and inquire. The only way I have learned deep truths about life and myself and the character of my God was to wrestle.
This reminded me of the first few women’s conferences I attended. It felt so light-hearted, and the speakers were like flowery comedians. They wrote books too, lots of them. You could check them out at the breaks while you were waiting for the bathrooms. Long tables littered with colorful and cheesy book covers that encouraged readers to laugh and get their minds off their struggles. Encouraging readers to get through the hard times by either complaining or going shopping.
Now this is a blanket statement. Not all women’s conferences are like this, and this particular conference has changed shape over the years into a beautiful, soul-satisfying venture.
But at the time, my eyes would glaze over thinking I couldn’t relate to any of these women. I ignorantly thought none of these women could relate to the struggles in my own life. And why was my life so much stranger than everybody else’s?
It wasn’t. That was a lie.
The truth is we all struggle, we all lose our temper, lose sight of ourselves. We all put our foot in our mouth, we all fight with our husbands and our children, we all fight with our parents and our friends. We all have disappointments and struggle with the lies of Satan and the lies that we tell ourselves. We all ask God WHY? We all wrestle with the goodness of God in the midst of hard times and catastrophe.
We are all more alike than we think. In fact, the woman who lives in the nice part of town has MUCH in common with the woman who lives in the ghetto… LOTS! They both wrestle. With fear, with insecurity, with wanting to be seen and known and loved, with wanting something more out of life.
I once heard a pastor ask his congregation, “Are you honest with God?” I tried to cover when I accidentally laughed out loud in a room of silence. But I couldn’t believe it. Really? Honest with God? Doesn’t God know everything? Was I ignorant in thinking that I couldn’t hide from Him?
But it’s true. Many of us are not being honest. Not with God. Not with ourselves. And not with each other.
So I just have to say it out loud. WE ALL WRESTLE! It’s okay to admit it. In fact, that’s God’s plan – that we would wrestle together.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
It’s okay to wrestle. It’s okay to admit it. God welcomes it. And it’s okay to share it.
And hey, you can wrestle with me anytime. Because you better bet I will share my wrestling with you on this blog. Email me.