I don’t often question if my life should have taken a different road. Too many things, both good and bad, are interconnected and I don’t know if I could have one without the other. But I do have the occasional dark nights of the soul where I wonder if it’s all worth it. This life of faith is never an easy one. (To paraphrase the Princess Bride, anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something).
That doesn’t mean my life is destined to joyless drudgery, rather the opposite. Recognition of my belovedness can give even the most menial tasks of service meaning. But I know that contrary to the Evangelical American Dream that I have bought into, my journey in Christ was never meant to be one of ease and luxury, but of suffering, sacrifice and profound growth.
But sometimes I want ease. My husband and I will look at each other and ask
“Why does it always have to be so hard?”
It’s tempting to wonder if another way is easier. A way in which I don’t have to worry so much about how my kids turn out as long as they don’t grow up to commit felonies and take advantage of others. Where I can stop the constant treadmill of feeling inadequate because my attempts to be like Jesus will always fall short. I just want to watch Netflix and eat brownies and let the world fade away without feeling guilty that I should be making the world a better place every moment of every day.
But if I leave it all behind in anger and bitterness what do I have left?
In my mind, nothing. Which is why I come back, again and again even when I doubt because I have yet to find a better option. All that remains is truth. I can be mad about it, sad about it and even throw a little tantrum in the direction of heaven about it but that won’t change a thing. So I put down my fist, I fall to my knees and my father is faithful to open his arms again.
Because in my journey of faith, I have bought another lie. I was never meant to worry about making sure my children follow after Christ or take all the burdens of the world upon my shoulders. I do not personally have to answer for all the suffering of this life. I have forgotten in the trenches of my faithfulness that his burden is light. I am not laboring alone, but yoked together with Christ. I only have to hold open my hands and say, “I am here, Lord, send me.” and he will. Maybe to a remote village in a foreign land, or across town or just into my kitchen to do dishes and wipe noses and pray. I may be working out my salvation in fear and trembling but I should not be worn to exhaustion and defeat because he has given me rest.