May 2, 2011
Based on the ratings, it is safe to guess that one of Americas guilty pleasures is wasting time watching Dancing with the Stars. There is something oddly fascinating about borderline celebrities performing completely out of their element.
The first few weeks are the most painful to watch as contestants struggle to learn the tango, waltz or salsa. Their movements are stiff and they always seem to be a step behind their partner. Words like spastic and convulsive could be used to describe what happens once their feet hit the dance floor. Fatigue and frustration set in as they attempt to master something that is so unnatural to them.
Maybe it is because I have two left feet, but I admire their ability to embrace and endure the struggle of becoming fleet footed. For the most part, Ive come to grips with not knowing how to dance, but this hasnt always been the case. On numerous occasions, my wife suggested we take a dance class together. My initial reaction was, No way. Id make excuses, like that lessons would be another expense for our shoestring budget or yet another activity to fit into our busy schedule, but that wasnt the true source of my hesitation. My reluctance stemmed from knowing I might trip over my own feet or that my clumsiness might make it necessary for my wife to ice her feet after every class.
Sadly, my initial reluctance in learning how to two-step is a direct result of my tendency to throw in the towel when things get challenging. Like everyone else, I naturally choose comfort and routine over struggle.
Yet struggle needs to take place for me to grow and learn. Change will always be met with resistance. Maturity is found in those moments when we embrace the struggle by facing it head on.
Youre a few months into your My One Word experience, and chances are good youve hit a wall, met resistance or are in the midst of a struggle right now. Your word may have very well awoken in you a deeper struggle than you initially expected. Maybe more than you prepared for. Maybe the reasons to quit seem to outweigh your willingness to endure. Maybe part of you wants to wave the white flag in surrender and go back to your old routine. It might not be an ideal situation or one you even like, but it is, at the very least, comfortable.
Many of us see our struggle as wrong. Somehow, though we understand that every other life change is hard, we believe that spiritual change should be easy. Likewise, we are puzzled when destructive thought patterns keep popping up, or when bad habits are hard to break, or when we feel like were spending more time stumbling then actually walking with God. The truth is, you cant become like Christ in 3 or 4 easy steps. Our transformation is a process in which struggle is inevitable and resistance is expected. This struggle, this resistance, builds strength, but only when we surrender to God.
James 1:4 reminds us that perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. This verse should give you hope: it gives you permission to struggle. When we are tempted to give in is not the time to quit. This is the moment in which we look to God to see what he is teaching us. My One Word is about learning and embracing something new.
Our One Word should serve as a lens through which we see not only how we should respond to things that we encounter, but also to help us see why we dont respond the way we should. We use our One Word to posture us to learn. This makes room for our struggle. Keeping our eyes focused on God is the key to being formed into the image of God, because what you see determines the direction you go.
Change cannot and does not come without struggle. The encouraging thing is that God wants to meet us in the midst of our struggle. That is exactly where he wants us to be: Where we have exhausted all our human strength, patience and will, and have nothing else to rely on but him.
- How quickly did you experience hitting the wall? How did you respond? When things got difficult were you tempted to lower your standard?
- Read James 1:2-4. What do you believe God might be trying to teach you in the midst of the struggles you are currently facing? What would it look like for you to persevere and embrace these struggles?
Are you looking for a way to keep your word in front of you all year long? Register for a My One Word account! One of the key features of a MOW account is an online Word Journal that allows you to capture your thoughts to reflective questions like you see above. You can go back at any time to read your completed journals to see how God has been moving in your life through your word in 2011. If you already have an account, the questions from this blog have been posted to your Word Journal — log in to your account to start your Word Journal today!