Have you ever struggled to get through the day. Why are things so hard? Here are some thoughts that may help you out …
It was four o’clock in the morning and my husband and son were standing in the Pacific Ocean, arms locked with 9 other guys to ensure that the surf didn’t wash them out to sea. After 12 hours of physical training the day before and a mere 3 hours of sleep, they were abruptly awakened at two o’clock in the morning with blow horns sounding in their dorm. They had already run two miles to the beach, conducted battle simulations and endured an hour of physical training. Now, struggling against the waves, a battle-tested instructor was yelling at them to stand strong and “embrace the suck.”
Mark Divine, a former Navy Seal and director of SealFit, the program Bret and Derek were attending, describes the concept of “embracing the suck” this way. “Embracing the suck is developed by leaning hard into challenges” in order to become stronger (Unbeatable Mind, page 157). Another soldier defined it this way, “Face it, soldier. I’ve been there. War ain’t easy. Now deal with the difficulty and let’s get on with the mission” (Learning to ’embrace the suck’ in Iraq, Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2007).
Members of the military know that their jobs aren’t always easy or fun, but they are committed to the mission so they do them anyway. If they quit when things get tough, their life, the lives of their fellow soldiers and the ultimate mission will be in jeopardy. “Embracing the suck” is the only way to survive and make it home in one piece. I think that this mindset applies to our spiritual and emotional lives as well.
Jesus says that, as Christians, we are in our own battle against sin and the Devil. We are told in Ephesians 6:10-12 “God is strong, and he wants you strong… This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels” (The Message). But, a lot of the time we forget that. We think that life is about our happiness and comfort. When trials come, we whine, complain and beg God to take it all away instead of acknowledging that it’s just part of life and God actually uses these trials to help us grow.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-3, The Message)
Let’s face it, sometimes life sucks. Chances are good that you are facing some trials right now. How are you looking at those challenges? Are you holding your own personal pity party that life isn’t fair, begging God to take away the pain, or even ignoring the problems in order to live in a false sense of peace? Today, as we each face the hardships of life, let’s commit to “embrace the suck,” lean into our trials and let God use them to help us grow stronger.