One of the greatest lessons that I learned as an undergraduate student was how to study. I admit that in high school I really did not have to study a lot. I went to class did the minimum that was required and earned pretty good grades. Once at the university I soon realized that I could not get away away with doing the minimum if I wanted to graduate. It wasn't enough for me to just go to lectures, complete required readings, and turn in assignments because there was too much information for to retain. I struggled to pass classes during my freshman year, yet through that struggle I learned how to study, when to study, where to study, and what to study. Not only did I learn the required information, but I also learned how to figure out how to handle life's difficulties. That is why struggle is a gift- if we never struggle we never have the opportunity to stretch beyond our own limits and comfort zones. I compare it to lifting weights. When starting a weight lifting regimen one may start by just lifting the bar (about 45Lbs). Once the bar become easy to lift he/she may place 10 extra pounds on the bar. Once the new weight is no longer a struggle an individual may add more and more weight overtime until they are able to lift a few hundred pounds. That is what struggle does- it helps us to lift, carry, and hold more things with greater ease.
Many of us can look at where we are in life today and say that the person we were a decade ago could not have handled today's problems without going crazy! That is because ten years ago we were not as strong as we are today. Each year brings new struggles and each struggle builds more strength. Stop seeing struggle, burdens, problems, pains, troubles, and issues as totally negative experiences. These setbacks are actually set up for comebacks. I thank God for struggle because each struggle really has helped me to be the person that I am today. I am blessed because when heartbreak happened, when burdens occurred, and when pain showed up I didn't fall apart. Somehow through struggle I kept enough of my good sense to keep living, keep working, and keep trusting in the process of growing through struggle. The holy spirit was my strength and comfort. I encourage everyone to stop trying to avoid, ignore, and flee from struggle- endure it! Grow from it! See it as a beautiful gift. -Love wins! Rev. Derek