Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In the thick of it...and some thoughts on Jacob.

I'm in the midst of finals. One has been turned in after a very long Saturday (12 hours in my dining room chair). I have two left - closed book exam Thursday and a take home due a week from today. And then I am DONE. Until next semester...
On a different note, last week Trey was preaching at church about Jacob. Now we have been in Genesis for the last several months, so Jacob has obviously been a topic before. But two weeks ago was the account of when he wrestled with God. They wrestled all night, and Jacob didn't let go. Instead he said "I will not let go unless you bless me." (Gen 32:26). And the blessing? A new name "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." (Gen 32:28).
Struggle. Jacob struggled. He refused to quit until he got the blessing. But struggle seems like a four letter word in our society. We have this notion that struggling means that we have failed instead of seeing the struggle as the process of succeeding. We don't want to struggle, we think it should be easy-so we give up. It is a word that reminds us (or maybe just me) of tiring, hard, painful events with no purpose. But that is isn't what the word means. It does involve tiring and hard and painful events, but it is for a purpose. We fight and claw and work and labor to get the blessing-for Jacob it was a new name. Maybe the blessing is different for me or for you. But if we fight and claw and refuse to let go, there is a blessing...

Easy example...If you struggle with growing out your hair (this isn't about me AT ALL), it is a fight to not go to the hairdresser, especially when you feel the mullet coming on. But you fight the urge-you remind yourself that a cute hair cut is in your future. You work through the awkward phases to get to the blessing-an awesome new do. (in my case, I want this one...

Harder example...If you struggle with school, you study and read, you make flash cards, you struggle with the material until you know it. The blessing? a better grade, a better job - maybe. Certainly an understanding of the material, that light bulb moment can be a blessing!

Hardest example...If you struggle with body image (like most women I know including myself), it may seem that the struggle is against food and motivation-the endless cycles of diets or exercise. But really I think the struggle is against the words that we say to ourselves. We have to struggle to love the bodies God has put us in, and fight with the influences and the messages that say otherwise. I know I certainly have to claw my way out of the pit of comparison. And the blessing? Contentment? A deeper faith in the God that made us? I'll let you know when I get there!

this pic says "One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful" -Freud
(Side-note, I don't ever look this cute while struggling with life,
 I usually have on man-sweatpants and stained T-shirts. :)

Whatever it is, STRUGGLE. Don't let go. I want to fight and claw and work until I get the blessing. And maybe at the end, you will see that the struggle really was beautiful because God used it to shape you.

images can be found here.


  1. What a wonderful post! I so love the story of Jacob. Realizing that it was ok to struggle and wrestle with God was such an amazing light-bulb in my walk. Good luck with finals! Oh goodness, I'm glad I didn't know the struggle that these two weeks would be when I signed on for this grad school things. Can't wait to catch up! Love you!


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