Everyday Struggles

11:06 AM

Sometimes I question why I air my ugliness out on this blog. It's not the kind of ugliness that garners sympathy -- I'm not the girl struggling with who I am, not the girl wrestling with self-harm, not the girl fighting insecurity when she looks in the mirror. I know who I am. I'm done with depression. A glance in the mirror never bothers me anymore.

A glance in my soul does.

People say be raw. Be genuine. Which means, on the internet, black-and-white photos, stories of past struggles, dreams waiting to be realized, disappointments, pain, discouragement, and poetic prose about everyday little blessings.

Is there a place, anywhere, for someone who's everyday stuff and everyday honesty means acknowledging disgusting sin dredged up from years and fed with pride? I can't find it on the internet, where the biggest sin is hating oneself and the biggest struggle learning to live life fully. I can't find it in real relationships, where the people tire of hearing me fall back into old sin, weary of me wounding them, walk away from overly-aired emotions on this sanctifying path. I can't even find it in the privacy of my journal, where Hallmark-style verses promising a happy future and comfort bespeak the ignorant idea that my greatest struggle is feeling alone and unloved.

Does nobody struggle with sin anymore? Can rawness not include those times when you say or do or are something scandalously terrible? Must genuineness be packaged within popular problems -- "I cut myself, I'm depressed, I wrestle with forgiving people" -- even -- "I struggle with pornography or addiction"? Does nobody else wake up on a Tuesday morning burdened with her chronic pride problem that manifests itself in anger, hypocrisy, and sharp words?

And I don't mean "struggle with sin" as in an already nearly perfect person irons out some kinks here and there and whose confession of "pride" causes people to chuckle and say, "Oh, honey, no, you're not proud." I mean all out brawl with sin -- an ongoing brutal battle with many more losses than victories. I mean a confession that shatters people's perceptions, that knocks their mouths open in horror that such depravity exists in man, that causes people to shift uncomfortably and move away to neater problems.

(Side note: I wrote a term paper arguing that Martin Luther rejected Catholicism's view of salvation because it could not adequately cover his sin and assure him of forgiveness. He needed something stronger. And I think that's why I too am staunchly Reformed and Calvinist. It's my wishful thinking, almost. It's my last hope. If Christ's righteousness is not imputed to me, then I give up trying to find salvation.)

My everyday struggles are not cute and neat. They are ugly. They are repulsive. And that's part of the reason why, I suppose, I continue to struggle with them -- they're so gross that it's easier to deny them and re-imagine them as something tamer and more sympathetic instead of dealing with them. Why write about such trash, such repulsive stuff? Because honesty. Because encouragement. Because grace and hope. The longer I hide who I am and what I do, the longer I deny myself the grace I need to change.

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7 impressions

  1. Bailey, as I read this post I completely found my own struggles in your words. Yes, there is someone else struggling with her pride on Tuesday morning. Thank you for letting me, and everyone else, see your soul written down. It is encouraging to know that you're not the only one in the battle.

  2. That is a beautiful new picture on your blog.

    Are you thinking that it is not particularly helpful, and maybe not even appropriate, for me to compliment you in a comment on your post about struggling with the sin of pride?

    Well, I like the picture and it makes me feel good to tell you so. Please consider it a test or a challenge opportunity if that helps. :-)


  3. Ruxi -- I'm sorry and I'm glad at the same time. We can overcome together!

    Adele -- you're a sweetheart. I accept your compliment wholeheartedly. :)

  4. Count your blessings.

    Everyone struggles with pride. The solution is counting blessings, remembering the mighty works God has done. Peculiarly, there is no pride in such an undertaking.

    -Daniel Abbott

  5. This is totally something that's been hitting me a lot lately - the realization that I am weak, and I sin like crazy. Honestly, there is no way of finding any other answer to the problem, no other hope than that Christ has atoned for me.

    I read an article in my university newspaper yesterday, about one of the profs who's having trouble making house payments, making repairs on his minivan, and caring for his son after he and his wife separated. The answer given was that if we weren't all so envious, socialism would solve all those problems. I found it fascinating that they even mentioned envy as being, in the "archaic days of religion", one of the seven deadly sins. It reminded me again that we can't fix what's broken, either in our own lives, or in society, because of this grip of sin. The only hope is the redemption of Christ. The article ended hopelessly, but I was reminded where true hope is found.

  6. Just to say something completely unrelated to this post... I believe this is big house in the little woods 4th birthday.
    So, "happy birthday!!!"
    Thanks for keeping this blog up! I am always excited when I see that you've posted! :)

  7. Dear Bailey,
    I have been reading your blog for quite a while now, and I just wanted to tell you how encouraging it is to me. Keep it up!
    From a sister in Christ


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