Allowing Struggle To Happen

— Dana

I have this deep desire to help others when they’re in the middle of a difficult circumstance. Some Christians might call this the “gift of helps”; however, I know there are times in my life when the desire to help extends far beyond my Spiritual Gift. In my own life experience, I know that I grow closer to my Heavenly Father when I’m knee deep in the muck…struggling to break free from the current circumstance that I’ve found myself wallowing in. I have to rely on Him to reach in and pull me out!!! So, why would I step in and get in the way of this process for those that I love?

Because I hate to watch people struggle.

Today, the Lord reminded me of the whole process that a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. After weeks of going through metamorphosis, the butterfly is eventually ready to emerge from its cocoon…only to find that the emerging process is extremely difficult. At first, I muttered under my breath unpleasant thoughts. This process is “unfair”. Why would the Lord design a system that consists of immediate and prolonged struggle? Couldn’t He make is so the butterfly just pops right out and gracefully flies away?

From a distance, I continue to watch the butterfly as it struggles and writhes for hours in its attempt to exit its former home. “It’s stuck…I want to help!!!” However, I know that if I step in and help this poor creature, I will be giving it a death sentence in the days to come. You see…it is in the struggle that these delicate butterflies develop the strength that they’ll need to survive. All the pushing, pulling, stretching, writhing, struggling…it serves a greater purpose in the future than what’s happening right now. If they received any premature help from me (the outside source), they won’t be strong enough to spread their wings and soar later.

I’m beginning to wrap my tiny mind around the concept that I need to back off and cheer the butterfly on instead. “You can do it little butterfly…the Lord is with you in this struggle.” For too many years I have been the one to give detrimental help to those that are in pain. And these people have found themselves unable to survive as a direct result of that assistance. Instead, I should take my example from the prophet Isaiah, as he encouraged those that were in exile with words directly from the mouth of the Living God, “You’re my servant, serving on my side. I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.” Isaiah 41:9-10

So, the question I’ve been wrestling with this week is…”How do I help others in a way that is fitting with my Spiritual Gifts? And, at the same time, have the wisdom to set boundaries so that I won’t get overwhelmed by their circumstance or check-out and stop caring because I can’t fix it.” Through prayer today, one thing that the Lord revealed to my heart is that I’m suppose to be the one that reminds people that God is near. That is my job. His job is to be near to us daily…and give us different opportunities to strengthen our spiritual wings, so that we can give Him glory in the manner with which we fly.

He also made it very clear that He will answer my prayer when I say “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8). I have to rest in the promise that the Lord will be faithful to move my heart to action when it’s time to move (I don’t need to step in and be the savior…because there’s only one Savior and I am not it). What do I do in the mean time? How can I sit still when there are things that need to get done? I’ve been handed an extremely difficult task…

Wait. Pray. Watch. Listen.

This is my metamorphosis. My cocoon process. This is where my struggle begins and where I learn to exercise my spiritual wings so that I can soar. Waiting. Something that I really struggle with. The Lord is near.