The Struggle is Real & Necessary


19024385_10208920304795512_1728583724_oWe have a duck family living here on the pond, a Momma, Dad and three little ones. We’ve certainly enjoyed watching the babies grow and interact with their parents. It’s funny what one can learn from the simplicity of a duck’s life. Or maybe I’m just that simpleminded but upon my front porch observations I noticed a couple things…

Momma lets her babies struggle to figure things out.

We have some dead cattails lying sideways in the water near the bank of the pond. I noticed one of the ducklings was in between the bank and the cattail while the rest of her family was on the other side. She desperately wanted to get to her family but would bump into the cattail on every attempt to swim out to them. Climbing over was to no avail too because of her small size. She cheeped the most pitiful little cheeps that made me want to go rescue her.

Momma was watching but made no attempt to help her little one. After several minutes of bumping and swimming and trying to climb over, the duckling finally made it to the end of the roadblock and was able to swim out to her family. She figured it out all on her own and could be proud (if there is such a thing in the duck world) of her accomplishment.

The next time there was an obstacle in the way she would have more confidence to maneuver her way around. Momma was there for this trial run just in case things went awry but she let her baby struggle a bit in the figuring of things out.

Momma knows someday this duckling will be on her own and if she comes to an immediate rescue every time, this little one will never learn how to face challenges when they come. And they will indeed come.

I hear this often…

I don’t want my kids to struggle like I did growing up.

And so we over-cater, over-do and over-rescue. We don’t let them struggle. At all. Never. And then scratch our heads when they don’t move out and become independent thinkers and doers. We aren’t doing them any favors by never allowing them to figure out how to get around the cattail.

I get it. We all want better for our kids. But we have to realize that it’s in the struggle where we grow. It’s in the struggle where we mature. It’s in the struggle where we gain confidence. It’s why Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-4…

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.

If we allow them to struggle while under our roof and watchful eye, they will be better equipped for the world. Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. There is nothing harder to watch your kid struggle and yet nothing better to see than when they grow into confident young adults who make the world a better place.

Looking back on the past 50 years I realize it was/is in those valley times of struggling where I grew the most. Did it suck to have to go through some of them? Yep. Would I change them? Nope. They have helped me gain confidence and grow in ways I never would have if God (my Father) would have over-catered, over-done and over-rescued.

He knows just what we need. He wants to see us learn and grow and become confident believers. Confident, not in our struggle but in the One who allows it.

Just like that Momma Duck, we can rest assure that the Lord is right there, watching out for us while we grow in the struggle. Watching in case something should go awry. On the ready, to be our Rescuer, if need be.

Duck parents chase their littles so they can gain speed to out swim the real enemy.

I don’t know if this is really real but let’s just go with it. Mom and Dad have been leaving the babies for longer periods of time as of late. All three were sleeping at the edge of the pond when suddenly the parents fly in, fuss at them and chase them onto the pond, swimming directly behind them and nipping at their little behinds now and again.

This zigzag chasing and nipping has gone on for several evenings in a row and at first I thought it was incredibly mean. But if you think like a duck it makes total sense. There is an enemy lurking about in those waters. Something that means to kill anything that gets in its path. Who knew snapping turtles are ferocious duck killing creatures?

They lurk just below the surface, camouflaged quite nicely underwater and as those cute little webbed feet swim by they reach up, grab one and pull them under then proceed to “gator roll” them. Ducks need to learn to swim crazy and fast to get away from the snapping jaws of their nemesis. So they practice to prepare for the real deal.

We have an enemy. In fact Jesus warns us that our enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy us. (John 10:10) We need to practice and prepare ourselves in the off times, the resting times, the non-war times so we are prepared for the real deal.

How do we prepare? It’s simple really. But sometimes simple is overlooked. We want something more fun (?), complicated (?), easier (?), less boring (?), less time consuming (?). Perhaps. I can tell you that those baby ducks will appreciate all the monotonous exercises their parents put them through night after night when Mr. Turtle comes snapping.

So what DO we do?

  1. We must remain in constant contact with our Commander. Both talking and listening. Prayer is a crucial part of the war strategy.
  2. We have a battle plan. It’s in the Bible. It helps strengthen our weak places, gives us direction and encourages us. Don’t just read it; study it…A LOT.
  3. Gather with other soldiers who are also preparing. Surround yourself with people who will make you a better warrior. Those who will challenge you to grow stronger in your faith. Who will “chase and nip” at you to strengthen you. Do not surround yourself with yes people who are afraid to call you out if you are not acting like you should.
  4. Know your weaknesses. We all have them. Know yours. Combat them by staying away from known temptations and by having an accountability person preferably of the same sex (because the enemy uses this tactic of slippery slope sin far too often I’m afraid.)
  5. Know Truth so when a lie comes to the surface it won’t pull you under and gator roll you. Don’t be deceived as Eve was so long ago in the garden. You know the enemy’s strategy hasn’t changed since then. He’s still the master manipulator of words. He simply twists God’s just a pinch enough to trick us. Don’t let him.

So much to be learned on my little golden pond! Struggling is real and unfortunately necessary to help us mature and grow. The battle is real and we must be prepared to fight. Until next time…

Fiercely for YOU!


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