Obstacles and hardships are not just a possibility in life, but an absolute certainty. That’s just a fact of life. Life is going to be hard. We just know it. I remember my mom once blithely saying “Life is dangerous! No one makes it out alive!”, a difficult truth, wrapped in all too funny phrasing.
All the time in life, we have that dull ache in the way our lives progress. We all have that thing that seeks to complicate what should have been simple and straightforward. For me, it’s my brain injury. It complicates more than a couple of areas of my life, and I’ve had to learn how to overcome and adjust. It’s not going away any time soon. It’s always going to be there. It’s always going to be something to contend with. It’s a part of my life, but it’s also not the end of it. Sure I’ll never be doing life at 100%, but that’s just it.
No one is playing at 100%. No one.
Anyone who’s ever played any kind of sport also knows what it’s like to play injured. There’s always that aching knee, sore wrist, twisted ankle, weak shoulder, an old injury, a recovering injury. We clap athletes on the back and respect them all the more for still entering the arena at less than perfection. It’s worth it. Don’t let pain keep you out of the game. I kept working out even though my shoulder ached, and I felt all the more accomplished when I finished because I had pushed through to the end. I have the same responsibility to carry on in life with my brain.
If you wait for optimal conditions to start you will absolutely wait forever.
Life, and all that you want to do with it, will never be perfect. It will never be whole. It will never be flawless. It will never be without struggle. It will never be any of those things, but you know what else it won’t be? Hopeless.
This is not an obstacle God was unprepared for. He knew where and when you would find yourself broken, lacking, and wounded and still called you to purpose.
One of my favorite passages in the entire Bible comes from Exodus chapter four. At this point, God has outlined his plan to rescue the Israelites from Egypt, and Moses is reacting less than bravely. Rather than packing his bag and getting the next ticket to Egypt, Moses starts listing off every reason imaginable why he shouldn’t be the one to go, practically running down a prepared list of inadequacies ending in a stutter. A long list of reasons pointing out why he shouldn’t be the one to go, and what’s God’s response?
“Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” (Exodus 4:11-12)
Moses is understandably scared by the things that hold him up, but God’s not about to let that be the reason the whole mission stops. God didn’t hear Moses’ list and say “Oh man! I didn’t think about that! You’re totally right. I’ll go find someone else.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I’ve been pulled up short by this passage by the simple consideration of it being spoken to me instead “Who made Avalon’s brain? Was it not I the Lord? Now go! I will be with you.”
Inadequacy is not a reason for inaction.
Brokeness is completely understandable, but it is not a sufficient reason to quit. There is too much life ahead to grind to a halt because of your inadequacies. If God was powerful enough to know about the nature of your obstacle long before you were even a thought, it just might be possible that he knows how to put it to use far beyond anything you might have imagined.
Because with God, weaknesses, brokenness, and obstacles are not things slowing you down and keeping you out of the fight. They are the fight, and God is always put on brilliant display when we give him the reigns over our struggles.
That’s the catch, though, we have to be ok with being weak. We have to be ok with being rescued and lifted out of our struggle. We have to make our peace with not being able to do it all on our own like so many of us desperately wish we could. We have to understand that the struggle and the hardship might be an ongoing theme, but one that serves in the bigger picture.
Paul understood this and wrote about it brilliantly in 2 Corinthians when he said “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) He knew he was weak and powerless, he knew that wasn’t going to change, and he knew that God could do so much with that. That is the reality of Christian living.
Christian living does not mean living without struggle, but living struggle with purpose.
So if you’re following God with a litany of weaknesses, brokenness, and inadequacies, you’re in good company. You’re not down for the count, and you never were. This is not some accident that is knocking you off track and keeping you from a greater purpose. This is part of the greater purpose. So do life broken. Do it broken, or risk not doing it at all.
When life tries to tell you you’re too injured to play, remember it’s not life’s rules you’re playing by to begin with. God didn’t leave you when you started, and he won’t abandon you now. You’re going farther than you ever could have known.
Let’s find some joy,