Me Versus Me
Enduring challenges can be less of a struggle and more of an exercise in patience and trust.
Written by Tim Myers
01 Tim reminds himself that he is a work in progress and that patience is a part of growing.
02 Tim has found solace in his faith, which reminds him that endurance doesn't need to be violent. Instead, it's about finding the peace and strength you need to move forward.
When thinking about it in a spiritual sense, I often think of enduring in the context of being present in the midst of less than desirable circumstances, and trying to summon the strength to persevere through them. I looked up the definition of endure and it said:
1. suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently.
1. the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
But there has been an idea rolling around in my mind recently in regards to this notion. I’ve been thinking about how the concept of enduring is most often related to an external struggle. When we’re talking about mental illness, personal spiritual conflict or temptation, it is generally the idea of “me versus something”.
The idea that I’m wanting to explore is that maybe a large part of our enduring doesn’t look as much like “me versus something” as much as it looks like “me versus me”. And actually, let’s take out the “versus” as well. Maybe it’s not a battle.
What if my practice of endurance can bear the most fruit if it is turned inward rather than outward?
If I look honestly within myself, at myself, I may be hard pressed to find a more apt term to describe my experience of me than “a difficult process.” I’m incredibly thankful for what awareness I do have regarding my own struggles and imperfections. I believe that it is healthy to be honest to myself and others about who I am. I believe I am a ransomed, redeemed, rescued child of God. And I am a (difficult) work in progress. My Father loves me with total abandon, without restraint. And I am on a journey of returning.
I think of the fall of man. The moment humanity’s eyes were opened, sin entered the world and we hid. And this process began. The corruption of our bestowed innocence set in motion the greatest process in the history of time. It involves mankind as a whole while simultaneously affecting me personally and individually. There was now a flaw in God’s good creation. We found ourselves separated from who we were made to be. And from that moment on, we have had to endure it.
The definitions of endure and endurance offer insight into what it looks like to be someone who endures. They are characterized by two key phrases; “patiently” and “without giving way.”
I think it’s the combination of those two concepts that conjures a fascinating image. When I normally think of enduring, I think of a violent struggle. Blood, sweat, pain.
But when I hear, “be patient” and “hold on” I hear the soft, loving whisper of my Father. I hear a voice telling me that if I can be patient, there is something better coming.
Enduring isn’t a battle cry. It doesn’t have to be a lament. Enduring is knowing who I am. Enduring is finding peace and strength in the presence of the Healer while I am broken.
The good thing about being in a (difficult) process is that it’s going somewhere. I can see myself and acknowledge my progress. I can learn from where I’ve been. I can trust that I am working. It has a purpose and a point of completion.
My prayer is for endurance. It is a prayer to take part in this process that is me and be patient. It is a prayer that I will not give way. It is to know myself and be at peace.