“Don’t let your struggle become your identity”

I have this lovely young friend with whom I’ve been sharing quotes as writing prompts. You see, she’s a great writer, but she doesn’t think she is, and she wants more practice. Practice is always good, right?

My goal is to get her free-writing and really expressing herself. She has so many amazing things inside of her. The whole thing is really reminding me of the very reason that I started this blog and named it what I did. The whole thought of, “No my dear… we’re already on an adventure.”

Life can be very good. But we’re just not very good to ourselves.

So, I gave her this quote yesterday. I also told her that I needed to write about it myself.

The more that I thought about it, the more it ate at me.

What is my struggle?

I really feel like I’m one of the biggest lugs of condescending crud around. I wrestle with being a chubby, volatile mess of emotions that keeps people on their guard to not trip the wire and unleash “the other guy.”

I hate it.

And you know what? I was taught to think this way.

I could get into parenting here, but suffice it to say that when I blow it, blow up, get snippy or anything, I have it in my head that it’s over. I’ve ruined it.

I have the thought in the back of my head that this is all a test, and if you miss one of the answers, or perform poorly on any of the questions, you’ve ruined it.

It’s the first thing that comes to my head when I mess up.

This is my biggest and ultimate struggle day to day. It leads me to want to give up, hide, sulk, fight more, drink… you name it. It takes me to dark places. It used to take me down so far that I would actually, physically punch myself in the head because I couldn’t handle it… I felt so helpless.

And yes, to this day, I wrestle with that helplessness every single day, multiple times a day.

My Identity

Am I a “ruiner” of days? Am I just a big, arrogant jerk that brings storm clouds? No.

It’s hard to embrace it, but no, I’m not.

I am John. I’m the one that Christ loved. He loved me even when I thought I ruined the day. He loved me when I felt so helpless that I would beat my face in panic and get high to calm down.

He loved me.

I will not let my struggle be my identity. No, I won’t.

I will let it roll off. I will back up when I mess up, and move forward in hope because that’s what’s true.

NOTHING is irreversible.

NOTHING is unrepairable.

I’ve seen more growth happen in my children from saying “I’m sorry” than anything else that I’ve done with them. I’ve grown closer than ever to my wife by backing down when I’m all in a wad inside and holding her instead.

This is my identity. I want to lay my head on the breast of Christ.

I don’t talk about this enough. Every day I have something that will happen, I lose it, I pop, I feel so out of control… if only for a moment. And I wonder, sometimes only for a split second, “Am I still that guy? Am I still the violent man who pummeled my sister and threatened my mother with a knife?”

No, I’m not.

When I shake inside, I will get still and lay my head on his breast. When the storm rages, I will learn to lie down in the boat with him and have faith.

Sure, I may have messed up. But he’s the king. I live in his kingdom. He will show me who I am. He will use it and set it all right.

I’m the one that he loves.


3 thoughts on ““Don’t let your struggle become your identity”

  1. allisonrcv

    Oh, John. This is good. We all need more reminders of these things…not just to ourselves, from ourselves, but from each other. For my part, I have never loved or respected you more than when I’ve seen you have the humility to admit your weaknesses and mistakes. It’s at that moment when I feel like I can really relate to you. And just in case you’ve ever wondered, I’ve never felt like you have done or could do anything that would make me want to give up on you as a brother. ❤ Allison

  2. Pingback: Best Scribble Ever | Color Blocks Design

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