This struggle is real.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
- Psalm 91:1
There’s this battle I fight every day.
Most days the battle starts before my feet hit the ground. My first fight is against the desire to just go back to sleep. I must confess that I LOVE to sleep. I used to say it was my favorite hobby. Heck, I’d probably claim it outright if it didn’t make me sound like such a lazy sluggard. Seriously though, when my cozy pillow beacons me to stay just a bit longer, it’s a hard fought battle to get out of bed. But I know if I concede, I’m giving up the only quiet, solitary moment in my day to spend time with Jesus. Not to be all dramatic about it, but when I fall into that fall-back-to-sleep pattern, I’m practically preferring sleep over God’s presence. I’m certainly not judging on everyone else's patterns over here. But for me, as a mom of 5, that time is beyond precious. And, my need for it is just real.
So you see, this is my battle: choosing God.
I know. You might be thinking, “I already chose God. We’re good. I did that years ago.” Sure you did. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about placing your faith in God the first time, I’m talking about choosing God on the daily. I’m talking about this constant battle against yourself and your selfishness. I’m talking about all of those desires in you that constantly want your own way or that are completely fine flying solo or that would rather avoid than confront hard things… the list goes on. Well, at least mine does, and I’ll wager so does yours.
My personal battle to choose God over other things is pretty much constant.
Funny thing is though, it’s not like there’s any real competition between him and any other possible thing I could choose. He’s my best, my all, my most necessary, constant friend. But, somehow, I just choose other things. What the heck? Why? I could get all theological on this point, but suffice it to say that I just keep on fooling myself into thinking that somehow sleep is what I really need to feel rested, or that Netflix is going to calm my soul, or that the perfect family outing is going to help me reach the parental promised land. None of those things are bad in and of themselves. But the truth is, I can get my priorities all out of whack and start living like those things are THE things that are going to make me happy. See what I’m saying?
So, what can we do? It feels impossible.
Well let’s just go back a second to that bit about already choosing God (and him choosing us). When we first put our faith in him, when we believed Jesus for his sacrifice on our behalf, God united us forever to himself in Christ. We are one with him not just in faith, but in his perfection, in his life, and in his victory over this daily battle we all fight! We are set free and empowered by his Spirit to choose him and we are also walking in the boundless grace that picks us up and dusts us off when we stumble off the path. It’s that grace that propels me forward to strive against my selfishness, it humbles me and shows me my constant need of Jesus. One of the faith heroes, Paul, modeled this thinking to us by commending this saying, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” We are the worst who honestly know ourselves the best. And this is the good news! Christ saves the worst of us. He loves and has grace for us. He commends us to follow after him, but he also knows our struggle and give us grace all the more.
This is why I get out of bed early.
This is why I forgive and have compassion for my enemies. This is what makes me give up my preferences and instead follow Christ wherever he leads. Our God has made it all possible. He has won the victory, even for me.
What about you?
How can you trust God in the daily battle to choose him?
What about his grace makes you strive even more to choose him?
Natalie co-founded Dwell with her sister, Vera. Together, they're committed to helping others connect with God each and every day. Natalie also hosts our weekly podcast, Dwell Differently. She and her husband, Jason, live in Chicago with their 5 kids, where Jason pastors First Free Church.