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Being a Christian is hard, and that's okay!

When people think of Christians, they usually think of extremely happy "good" people. "Good" people whose life is good. Right? I think sometimes I feel the pressure to be that happy good girl that Christians are "supposed" to be. I mean, how often do I see my Christian friends telling me about how hard their day was or opening up about sin or being honest about doubts that have begun to rise? Not often! It makes me feel like I can't do those things either!

What no one told me when I was 6 getting baptized was that life is really hard, whether you take the plunge or not. Life is mean to everyone and there's no escaping it, not even when you have God on your side. I mean, Jesus said it Himself: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, for I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33).

*Sigh of relief* Jesus knew being a Christian would be hard. It's okay that it's hard. It's supposed to be this way! Surely I'm not alone in thinking that the Christian path feels much more difficult than some of the other paths I could have chosen!

You see, while being a Christian is hard, and sometimes ridiculously hard, it is absolutely worth it. Jesus didn't say, "Dang, life is gonna be hard! Good luck with that!" No! He said, "But take heart, for I have overcome the world!" Jesus left His own Spirit with us so that we would never be alone during life's hardships (1 John 4:13, John 16:7). His Spirit intercedes for us in prayer because He knew sometimes we wouldn't have the words to pray for ourselves (Romans 8:26). He promised that He would work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Christ has proven faithful through all of life's struggles because He endured the struggles Himself. And now, because of Jesus' life, we get a relationship with the God of the universe.

Being a Christian won't always be aesthetic or happy or social media worthy. It may mean heartbreak, hard decisions, loneliness, and wrestling with God. And unfortunately, we might not always feel God's presence or faithfulness. But Christ is faithful to walk through it all with us, so that in the midst of the suffering, we may still experience joy, hope, and peace.

And even when life is hard, God is always active in the struggles. When life keeps throwing us curve balls one after another, that is when God is working in our hearts and transforming us from the inside out. That's when growth happens. That's when we can see God more clearly. That's when we learn the hard lessons, the life-changing lessons that shape our character and our perspective. That's when God instills in us a joy that is so much better than the "happiness" this world tries to offer. That's when we learn how to fight with the weapons the Lord gives us.

So let's start accepting that this Christian walk won't be easy. Let's start talking about it in our families and communities. And let's start seeing how God works in the struggle.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16

Challenge: Practice being real about the struggles of being a Christian and life in general. Share something you're facing, or initiate the conversation to see if you can support a friend/family member in something hard that they are working through. This could be about anything difficult going on; doubts, sin, bad moods, relationship struggles, insecurities, jealousy, bitterness, anything. Just be real. WIth everything going on in the world, we need to be supported and supportive.

"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2

"Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." - Hebrews 10:25



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