Struggle vs the Ruby Slippers

December 26, 2005

Struggling. Our culture believes that emerging victorious from a struggle is commendable. The outcome seems irrelevant, yet many times focus is bestowed on the process, rather than the result. We look at adversity and challenge ourselves to overcome it. We look at adversity and generate respect and honor to those who rise above it, in spite of all odds. Struggle seems to have no limitations: if someone reaches a goal through struggle, we rally around him or her as a hero, a triumphant example of perseverance and persistence. When someone is enveloped by struggle and adversity consumes him, we see struggle as the victor and we rally around him or her as a victim. In either case, "struggle," not the individual, remains the radius around which we measure our personal growth.

Yet as we further examine the outcroppings of "success," we find the result of success lies in personal fortitude. What is fortitude but a different face of faith? True success and strength lie not in the constant struggle with life, but in the power of knowing that life supports us, and the humility to accept the lessons put in our path.

When I'm faced with a challenge, I take a deep breath and ask myself, "Do I trust God?" Yes. "Do I trust Life?" Yes. God didn't put me on earth to get beat up by life. I trust that God intends the best for me and the lessons along the way are just means to an end. Sure, I encounter hazards, heartbreaks, even hiccups along the way, but overall, I see these as challenges and choose not to "struggle" my way through them.

By surrendering the struggle, the worry, the tension, the anxiety and turning the situation over to God for my greater good, my faith rewarded me. I found it a LOT harder to hold faith rather than concentrate on struggle. It's mental work. It's work on a soul-level – perhaps the most difficult work we perform. When everything I hold dear screams inside of me, "wait - think of what you must endure to achieve this," I turn to the most difficult teacher of all, the power of my faith.

I bought a Christmas ornament last year. Just one. A red sequined "ruby" slipper like Dorothy's in the Wizard of Oz. This dazzling ornament, alone on my tree, sparkles in the light, reminding me I hold the power all along. Like Dorothy's, my slipper represents my ability to use my talents, my mind, my creativity and most of all, my faith, to get me through. It's symbolic of faith, and most people carry their own symbols with them all along and don’t know how to use it.

True strength of your character comes not from struggling. Struggling indicates you do not deserve the good things life offers you. You feel you must do penance in advance for good to come into your life. If good things in your life constitute your desired results either through struggle or faith, then dare yourself to deserve the good without pre-payment!

Faith and trust. Two very difficult concepts for our guarded personas to accept. If you trust God and Life enough to provide for your needs, then struggle is unnecessary. Move beyond struggle. Give it up. Release "struggle's" hold on you. It doesn't serve you. Grow into your faith and the fruits of your desires blossom forth. After all, you deserve it!

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