How Often I Fail at Being a Good Christian
Inside: The problem is my expectations when difficulty comes and doesn’t let up, I find myself being discouraged. How do I live out this Christian life? I suck at being a Christian.
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I spent a month in the New Year struggling with insomnia. There was no sleep at all, not at night or during the day. I’d lay down and toss and turn all night.
After 48 hours of not sleeping, I went to see my doctor.
She did help me with sleep medication, but the struggle for sleep for over a month caused some other health problems. My anxiety kicked in because I didn’t think I would be able to fall asleep without sleep medication.
All I can say is I have taken sleep for granted in the past. It’s a huge blessing to be able to sleep at night.
Are you struggling with something right now? I pray you’re not, but somehow I know something is making life difficult right now, or it was yesterday, or it will be.
How do I know this?
Because God tells us life will be difficult.
Christianity lived to the fullest involves struggle. ~Matt Nelson
I don’t know about you, but acknowledging this is a real downer. I dislike difficult, hard things and pain, and I can’t bring myself to roll out the welcome mat and invite them in. Nor am I excited they have graced me with their presence.
Who embraces difficulty?
I used to think being a Christian should be easy. I expected that was how it worked. It seemed logical if I was following the Creator of the Universe, who is omnipotent, He would make my life a cakewalk.
What about you, did you realize being a Christian would be such unrelenting hard work?
I assumed when problems would come, my Heavenly Father would extinguish them before they got to me. I imagined I could just enjoy the good life while He did all the work.
What I don’t understand is: if God believes rest is important, why was sleep so hard to come by for that 6 weeks? I’ve asked God this question multiple times and still without an answer.
The problem with my expectations is when difficulty remains and it’s not letting up, I find myself being discouraged, despondent and despairing.
Why doesn’t God come through for me?
How Do I Live: Expect Difficulty
Most of us are familiar with the story of Job in the Bible. Job was a rich, believing man. He lived a good life, but he was struck with difficulty after difficulty. He never wavered in his faith. Job is the model we should be following when our own lives are hit with a problem.
8 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”
9 Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God.10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! 11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence (Job 1:8-12, NLT).
Satan ended up taking everything from Job. His family, livestock and his health. The last verse in this chapter says Job didn’t sin by blaming God for all his loss.
Can I be honest, I blame God. Many nights in December, I would pour out my heart to God and lie awake until morning. I did a lot of finger-pointing and blaming. A few weeks of a struggle, and I’m a sucky Christian.
9 Truths When You Go through a Struggle
- God is still in control.
- Satan doesn’t have free reign over us.
- God limits the degree that Satan can cause problems.
- The struggle provides an opportunity for greater faith and a deeper relationship with Him.
- This difficulty will accomplish God’s purpose.
- The devil is the only one who fills us with doubt, discouragement, and despair. Watch for these 3 Ds.
- God will work it out for our good.
- This hard time will lead us to a free and blessed life (difficulties will still be present).
- The process prolongs when we fight the struggle in our human ways,
My New Expectations
As for my sleep, it did eventually come, and I have been sleeping like a log since without any kind of sleep aid.
As I look back, I was able to grow in my relationship with Him. This time frame caused me to find refuge in God. He did answer me, not in my time frame, but in His.
Instead of trusting He had it all planned out, the process prolonged because I searched for answers and solutions.
Those weeks of feeling unheard actually caused my faith to grow stronger. I think I’ve looked at this Christian life all wrong, maybe struggle after struggle is what I need to be the best Christian I can be.
I’m confidently accepting another struggle is up ahead, but I can anchor myself to the truths God gives me in the Bible. He won’t let me down.
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We can be comforted by knowing God is in control. Life may be stressful at times and we wonder what is happening and why. Knowing God is with us is a blessing.
This is a great reminder that God is in control of all, even in the challenging times. Believing that He is still working in our hearts brings comfort during the trying seasons.
Chloe-yes, He is always working!
Our Christian culture needs to hear this message that yes, we can expect troubles. It hasn’t been a popular message, but Jesus never promised us a life free from difficulties. He promised to be WITH us.
Linda- yes, Amen! I think remembering this can help us encourage and support our brothers and sisters in Christ!
Oh I fail as a Christian a lot. I also get mad at God sometimes during times of struggle.
I’ve also struggled with insomnia – how quickly I forget! The end of my last pregnancy was so rough – including insomnia. I so wanted to build up a reservoir of rest (as if that were really a thing) before the baby came. I struggled sooo much to sleep & then when she came I struggled sooo much to stay awake through the long nights of screaming.
I’m thankful that today I mostly feel rested even though I still get up through the night. It’s like some kind of miracle, really.
It is those bitter times though that make the good times even sweeter. Thank God for His mercy & that we can’t offend Him by expressing our true feelings towards Him. I think, in fact, He may prefer it – rather than we pretend to act as we know we should. He knows our truth anyway.
The two points l love is God is in control and He works things out for our good. You have encouraged me today. Thank you for sharing this.
Ava- thank you!
I hope you’re sleeping well again, but you are so right–we do struggle, and that’s ok! God is with us in the struggle (before, during and after). Often we can use our struggles to help others and lift up the Gospel. Love that quote: “Christianity lived to the fullest involves struggle”—Matt Nelson. Thank you, Julie!
We all “suck at being Christians” at times in our lives, and it’s good to talk about it. We got to be real. People need to know that struggle this side of heaven is part of the journey. Glad you’re sleeping better!
It’s funny how the more frustrated we get from a lack of sleep the harder it is to sleep. Our minds just roil along. Only God gives the peace we need to rest in Him.
So glad to hear you’re sleeping without medication.
Great post that many may rejoice to have read. God bless!
Great reminder for me when I try to control the problems in life. My efforts will only cause frustrations and leave me feeling defeated. When I let go and let God, He will provide me the strength for the challenges.
So true, life is just one struggle after another. But when you look at it through the lens of the 9 truths you shared, that puts a whole new spin on it. I think we all get discouraged and frustrated in the midst of struggles, but just knowing that God is in control and that He is constantly shaping and molding us into who He wants us to be is comforting. If only I could always remember this in those hard moments!
Nicole- the truths make it a little more swallow-able (is that even a word?) 🙂
Thanks for a great post! I so related to your words “I feel like I suck at being a Christian” me too – my life experiences had me wrestling with this long ago…you are right, Life is hard when we adopt the idea that following Christ equates to healthy, wealthy and wise. The truth is it’s a gritty road of trials and hard choices. Standing out, being ridiculed, enduring hardship..:but momentary and light in the face of all my Savior lived and endured. That isn’t to minimize suffering and pain – it’s what helps me accept it.
Liz- thank you for sharing your experience! We are work-in-progress girls!
Thanks for this great reminder. I love your 9-points. I need to be reminded of this one often: The devil is the only one who fills us with doubt, discouragement, and despair. He is a destroyer and accuser of the brethren. Don’t believe his lies. Thanks for sharing.
Beverly- yes! The evil one is sneaky!
I love this, because it’s the truth. I really feel like a failure as a Christian right now. I was reading a book about early martyrs today, and started comparing their faithfulness to mine (I know, bad idea; me who over the last two months has been having a “argument” with God about something I want in life but He knows better.) There are certainly times in life when it seems like the longer we travel, the more we get to know ourselves…and what we find out often isn’t very encouraging. 🙂
Shanna- I agree with your sentiments! I am a work-in-progress! So glad that God transforms people!
Suffering causes me to lean into the Lord in ways good times never could. How I wish that weren’t true, but it is. Thankful for this silver lining in suffering!
A great post! The struggle to be a “good Christian” is lifelong. So easily, whether it’s insomnia, a chronic illness, or a spat with our spouse, we’re able to quickly descend into downright non-Christian behavior. How desperately we need Jesus!
I have been studying the Book of Job for the book I m writing and I have learned so much about suffering and how it transforms us, builds our reliance on God, stretches our theology of suffering. We learn to love and trust God not just for what he can give us, but for who he is.
So encouraging to get the reminder that Satan does not have a free hand.
Love your honesty in this post! Who hasn’t felt like a sucky Christian at times? Yeah. We all have, and it is just downright hard some days.
I did like that you pointed out that Satan is limited by God, in harassing us. I do think we are in a spiritual battle at times, and need to pray along those lines.
God bless you with more sweet sleep!
Insomnia is awful; I’ve wrestled with it for years. In my case, one of the causes was “performance anxiety;” in other words, worries about not getting a good night’s rest was, ironically, keeping me from getting a good night’s rest. Great tips here; thanks for sharing!
Oh, how do I fail to be a good Christian, let me count the ways. So very true for all of us. Thanks for sharing and encouraging me to keep trying.
I can’t imagine a month without sleep, Julie. So sorry you had to endure that, but glad God never left and was in control. What would we do without Him? Praise Him for being present.
Thanks Julie, I am in the darkest valley ever. Love every one of the 9 truths for when we go through a struggle. Those are the kinds of truth I am clinging to right now.