I come from a family that was broken in many ways. My parents had serious relationship problems which impacted me significantly, and my father was very distant and not one to express affection or help me to grow in confidence through making me feel loved and valued.
I’ve battled with mental health issues for many years, but psychotherapy and counselling have helped me a lot. My psychotherapist taught me about emotions and confidence and self-expression in a way my family couldn’t, and this helped me greatly. Also, coming to know God in my 20s was incredibly transformative for me. I have a vision of what I want to do with the remainder of my life, which I believe has come from God. It’s a big vision, and it’s both exciting and daunting. It’s the daunting side of things I want to comment on today.
What I’ve realised is that due to having suffered in the past, I have a tendency towards wanting to achieve the greatest amount of ease and peace in my life that I can. My past suffering has made me afraid of future suffering. One of the reasons why I’ve been drawn to the whole minimalism movement is because the focus is on reducing friction in one’s life; essentially trying to experience as much happiness and as little discomfort as possible.
To get right to the point of this post, my recent realisation is that if I’m going to pursue my dreams and if they are going to happen, friction and suffering are inevitable. I am going to have to experience anxiety and fear and frustration. I don’t want to experience these emotions, but the only way I could avoid them is by shelving my big plans and settling for very modest ambitions.
Maybe there’s nothing wrong with settling for modest ambitions. It’s certainly very tempting for me personally to do so. But when I look back over my life, especially my teenage years, I can see that the most growth I experienced was when I was facing challenges and experiencing a lot of discomfort and anxiety. I expect the same will be true of my future.
Perhaps there is a balance or ‘middle ground’ to be struck. Perhaps it’s okay to hold on to some of life’s comforts while also stepping into the unknown and facing my fears. But what I realised today is the simple inevitability that if I want to help achieve positive change in the world, it’s not going to be easy or comfortable. I have to trust that God will help me to overcome every hurdle, but there will be bad days and I will mess up and I will suffer.
My hope is that accepting the challenge of suffering in order to achieve my dreams will lead to growth and blessing, and that God will always give me the measure of strength and guidance I need to evolve and to be the person I need to be for whatever situation I find myself in. I can only do my best, but I have to give it all I’ve got.
All glory to almighty God forever.