I have to be honest. 2018 has been one of the toughest years. I was thinking to myself, how is it that almost everything this year has been a struggle? I had the opportunity this year to be a first-time manager responsible for an engineering team and quality assurance. It was a lot of work; I couldn’t get away from my job no matter how badly I wanted to get away. Yes, I enjoyed the work I did and the team I worked with, but I didn’t have any time for anything else.
It was miserable in a lot of ways.
I felt so consumed by life, dealing with the responsibilities of performing at work, taking care of my wife, making sure I was serving the Lord with the ministries I committed to at church, and finding time to relax and enjoy life. I felt like I was failing on all fronts. I constantly saw so many areas where I could do better. I could be a better manager, take care of my health by eating well and working out, serve my wife better and be more present with her, dedicate more time in the Word and in service through ministry, and just depend on the Lord more to overcome sin I was struggling with.
I could see how Satan was using all these avenues to remind me how much of a failure I am. But wait, no I am not! You know why?
It is not about me and never has been!
I had to take that tough reminder at the end of the year, and to be honest I am still wrapping my head around that.
There was a very encouraging passage from John 16 I read a couple weeks ago that reminded me of my standing with Christ:
Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. | John 16:20-22
For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. | John 16:27
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. | John 16:33
Did you see those words in verse 33? Take peace, He has already overcome the world! All those things that I was struggling with is an unneeded burden that I was putting on myself. Christ has already been victorious on all fronts for me.
There is no need for me
to struggle any longer.
Looking at the ultimate goal and purpose, the reminder that God was giving me was that there will be constants trials, tribulation, and—yes—even sin that I will struggle with. But one fact will always remain the same: He has overcome all those things and by His perfect sacrifice, trusting in Him, and having a relationship with Him, I too am victorious.
What does that change?
Does it mean that I am immediately a better manager? No.
Does it mean I all of a sudden serve my wife better? Nope.
Does it mean I all of a sudden have a perfect diet and workout plan? Definitely not.
What it means is that I don’t have to stress, anguish, and worry about those things! When I look to the Lord in faith to build my relationship with Him, read and meditate on His Word each day, and trust in the Holy Spirit to lead me in the direction I should go, I find peace!
There are several things that we can count on as believers to find while we live in this earth. We will always face trials, tribulations, and shortcomings, but those things are not there to break us down or cause worry and anxiety. Rather, they are there to build us up to trust in our Lord more and rely on the Holy Spirit working in our lives who is constantly sanctifying us to make us more in the image of Christ.
If you were to ask me if I wanted to redo this year again, my immediate answer would be no! But nonetheless I am thankful to the Lord for the lessons I have learned from His Word, how He has built up my faith just the slightest and reminded me that He will never leave my side. He is constantly working in me and molding me to be more in His likeness each day. That brings me so much joy, and I hope it encourages you to trust in Lord as well—regardless of what you may be struggling through!
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. | Romans 8:37-39