The Stuff That Grows Us

It’s easy to look at her life and her load and want what she has and what she carries.

Because well…maybe her life and her load looks more pleasant and less frustrating, more affirming and less tiring, more exciting and less lonely, more important and less heavy, more perfect and less broken, more normal and less messy, more happy and less hard…and way, way more preferable and better than yours.

You look at her lot, her life-stage, and her luggage, and you’d switch places and swap struggles with her in a quick, hot-minute.

You look at her journey and her shoes, and you think, “I’d gladly walk a mile marathon in those shoes of hers.”

You look at her grass and her yard and well…it just looks a whole lot greener and a whole lot nicer than your grass and your yard.

But ya know what I’m learning the longer I live and the more I look around?

God knows the stuff that grows us best. 

For some, it’s being at home and for others, it’s working full time.

For some, it’s unemployment and for others, it’s a stressful promotion.

For some, it’s an empty womb and for others, it’s a growing home.

For some, it’s singleness and for others, it’s marriage.

For some, it’s behind-the-scenes serving and for others, it’s up-front-leading.

For some, it’s struggles with depression and for others, it’s battles of faith.

For some, it’s sleepless nights and for others, it’s tiring days.

For some, it’s fear of failure and for others, it’s a frustrating friend.

For some, it’s failing health and for others, it’s waning finances.

For some, it’s finding a church and for others, it’s a tension-filled church.

For some, it’s loneliness and for others, it’s a tight-packed schedule.

For some, it’s aging parents and for others, it’s a struggling student.

For some, it’s a war against arrogance and for others, it’s tests of confidence.

For some, it’s the unknown paths and for others, it’s the known realities.

For some, it’s routine and for others, it’s the in-between.

For some, it’s a hyper-mischievous child and for others, it’s an angry-defiant child.

For some, it’s cancer and for others, it’s criticism.

For some, it’s the loss of life and for others, it’s the gain of fame.

For some, it’s an angry boss and for others, it’s a busy husband.

For some, it’s a fight with a proud spirit and for others, it’s a skirmish with a jealous soul.

For some, it’s a broken heart and for others, it’s a crippling fear.

For some, it’s intermittent applause and for others, it’s never-ending chores.

For some, it’s a war within the mind and for others, it’s a duel within the home.

For some, it’s a “yes,” and for others, it’s a “no.”

And though it’s tempting to look to the left and covet her load, or to look to the right and desire her life…

He has a plan for your life.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11

He has a purpose for your load. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kindsfor you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

He has given you His grace and strength to carry your load. 

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30

Your load may not look like her load, but that’s okay…it’s your load. 

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6 thoughts on “The Stuff That Grows Us

  1. You know what’s funny, as I read this– even though you wrote them almost like opposites (or “the other side of the coin”), I still identified with nearly every single one of them because I have experienced all of that at some point in my life (and then some). In thinking about that, it made me think about how that is probably the case for everyone, though what is completely unique, as you say, is the “load” we carry and the unique path we take. No one’s path looks like anyone else’s because each person’s purpose is different, but the commonalities we share are the human struggle and that we’re in community with one another while we’re carrying our unique load and each person is equipped by God to carry that load– which doesn’t make any load better or worse, but just different. This illustration brings to my mind Galations 6:2, “Carry/share each other’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” I also like how you’ve described that while we are carrying our loads, they are also uniquely designed by God to help us grow. I’ve also thought it was very interesting how different people intersect our lives at different points at just the right time we need it, but we don’t know that we needed their influence to help us carry our load until we got into relationship with them. Then some people stick around in our lives and others leave, or the distance by which they influence changes. Sometimes it makes me sad to think about those people who are so dear to me that have influenced my life, but they are no longer there or walking with me on my path in the same way they were before. Yet, isn’t their *lack* of presence the very thing that is helping me grow? And their “lack” of presence means that in my growth in that area, God is there to fill the lack with my dependence on Him as I’m growing in that new area. Other times, it’s the people that come *into* our lives that signals an ever growing dependence on God to grow us in an area or two (or three or four) 🙂 And at the end of each stage of growth, I’m realizing that what it looks like is “less me, more God.” Thanks Jess!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michelle, I ALWAYS enjoying reading your thoughts and hearing your perspective! I have OFTEN grieved the changes of relationships over the seasons of life…and I, too, have had to remind myself of God being my ALL! I read a great book called “When People are Big, and God is Small”…SO SO SO good for this heart who so easily can idolize relationships!

  2. I remember reading in a book the short but insanely precise phrase “compare and despair.” Ain’t that the truth? Seriously, when I look to the right and left and see what others have and think what I have is less than, that nasty 6-letter word creeps into my life…. enough. That’s satan’s constant challenge to joy: “Is it enough?” But the Lord’s answer, settled and steady and secure, is where joy abides: “It is sufficient.” Thanks for this reminder, friend.

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