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It's Time We Normalize our Struggles

Never have I met a pristine man or woman. Every man or woman I've ever met has struggles. Some of us struggle with confidence. Some of us struggle with depression. Some of us struggle with anger and lust and greed. 
Our struggles may be different but we all struggle. 
It's time we normalize the reality of our personal challenges. It's not normal to be perfect. It's not even possible. So it's strange to project perfection when our experience is complete imperfection. 
Here's a list of honest struggles, even intense sins (past and present), I heard from people's personal stories this week alone:
- Pornography addiction
- Three abortions
- Relentless grief
- Fear of the future
- Doubting God
- Not able to understand scripture
- Scared about physical health
- Regret over a comment made in a social context
- Unloved by a father
- Working through life with a counsleor
While none of us want to be characterized by sin or intense personal struggles, it's normal to wrestle with imperfection. We need to talk about our issues. It's normal to struggle.
Are you ready to normalize your imperfection as you encounter other people? Here are some ways to get started:
- Accept your imperfection. 
- Trust your identity in Christ and Christ alone. 
- If you trust Jesus, then rememeber that you are completely forgiven. 
- Choose to share your struggles with people. 
- Brace for weird looks or silence or even rejection. 
- Hope for open ears and humble hearts. 
- Accept the imperfections of others. Be willing to listen. Have compassion. 
- Give all the Glory to Jesus! He is able to heal us and change us. 
Walls fall down when one person chooses to be courageous and real. It's time we normalize our struggles. When we do, we're all going to see the power of grace race through our hurts and sin and pain faster than we ever could have imagined. 
You Are Loved!
Posted by Brent Halvorsen with

Smelling the Breath of a Lion

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Smelling the Breath of a Lion
Imagine being so close to a lion that you can smell its breath in the still, chilled air of the night. A friend's wife experienced an African safari this week. She's on a medical mission's trip. 
On the team is a doctor who's been on fifteen or more of these exhilarating safaris. He told my friend's wife that there's only one time he's been scared. It was the time when a lion walked so close to his tent that he could smell its breath. 
Can you even imagine that?
Have you ever stretched yourself so far in faith and action that you found yourself in the crosshairs of danger? When was the last time you stepped out in unrestrained trust and actually had to grip the power of God with the desperation of your faith?
Maybe it's time to explore once again?
It's very likely the Holy Spirit's been nudging you for a while to uncomfortably risk in some area of your life. Take a step back and think about it. Where do you need to reach forward in faith?
Are you being called to trust the Lord on a mission's trip? Is the Holy Spirit leading you to start a new business? Do you believe you're called to approach a co-worker to share the Good News of Jesus Christ? Or maybe God's asking you to die to lifelong expectations that will just never be fulfilled, you know?
God loves it when His people risk their comfort for the infinite purposes and plans of eternity. 
Let these words from the Lord to the newly-appointed leader of Israel, Joshua, fill your heart with a renewed desire to experience the great adventure of the Christian life.  

Joshua 1:5-7, No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 

It's time you smell the breath of a lion. 

You Are Loved!
Posted by Brent Halvorsen with

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