It’s not that you aren’t improving. Things keep getting harder.

The title is a bit of advice I gave to a family member once, and I want to try to give myself the same grace. It seems that once one thing gets better, another difficulty pops up. Or in my case, the same old root starts to spring up yuckiness that I need to pray about so that the Spirit might strengthen me. It’s discouraging when you think a part of your nature has been uprooted, just to find that old familiar filth rise up yet again.

This is humbling, which is always a good thing. Yet, there are temptations to being hard on myself in an unproductive way. So, I think back to something I once told someone else. If I took the me now and placed that person in the life I lived a few years ago, it would be a piece of cake.

So, it’s not that the Lord isn’t working. On the contrary, He is working by making things more challenging. Maybe with enough challenge, that root will be totally burned out. Lord willing. Or maybe there are aspects of my nature that I will fight, with aide of Jesus and His Spirit, until the very end.

None the less, I am taking a small break until I am able to deal with these new challenges without being overtaken by this nature that I hate, because this nature affects many things. It affects my writing, or if it doesn’t, I feel like a hypocrite that says one thing and lives another.

One thing that tends to help with the overcoming process is airing out my sin and attempting to use it to encourage others.

What is the sin? When I feel overworked, overtired, and overwhelmed by life, my self-important ego takes over and old wounds of many past experiences of a similar flavor feed this bitter root and this nasty attitude comes out. I know it is wrong once the emotions subside, but in the heat of the moment, I feel totally justified. It’s easy to justify our bad attitudes. It’s easy to blame others, but we are responsible for our own actions and state no matter what other people do.

Learning to “maintain our vessel” is difficult, but at the same time we know that it is Jesus who does the maintenance. We just have to acknowledge our sin, turn to Him, and look to Him for strength. He knows our frame, and all things happen for a reason.

Sometimes hard things come to chastise us, sometimes to refine us and teach us, and sometimes to glorify God. Whatever the reason, we who trust in Jesus know that all things are working together for our good. We will overcome one day, even if this means fighting to the very end.

If you can relate, then ask yourself: is it true that you are not getting better, or is it true that things just keep getting harder?

We who want to be made into the likeness of Christ can be glad that our Lord cares enough to make us stronger. He works us out, spiritually speaking, so that we can continue to grow. There is no stagnancy when we put Jesus and His Kingdom first—or do our best to grow in our desire to aim in that direction.

That’s been my experience at least. Don’t compare to me, but if you do relate, I hope you will be encouraged.

Lord willing, I will be able to resume my writing ministry soon–once my life ministry is set in proper order. Yet again.

In all things, keep moving forward and trust in Jesus. ❤

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