When I first wrote this, it was a saga about my recent struggle in graduate school, hunting for God’s beauty in the stress engulfing me. The whole time I was writing it, though, I kept thinking “This sounds so petty. There are so many people out there with tougher struggles than this. My life is really okay. No one cares.”
And that made me pause.
Because we all have struggles. Big. Small. Life-altering. Life-bothering. Heartache. Heartburn. It’s all a struggle.
I feel like there’s beauty there.
You see, we all have something that we’re struggling with. For me, its insecurity. For others it’s cancer. Some, acceptance. Other times, it’s a stubbed toe.
We can come together through all our individual struggles and create beauty - through encouragement or laughter, wailing or silence, hugs or dancing. We can find ways to reach out others and meet them in their needs.
God didn’t call us to a life of ease, but he did call us to community.
“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2
When we come together to listen and understand we are becoming more like Christ. When we work together to overcome our struggles, we are creating pockets of his kingdom to earth.
Don’t you think that’s beautiful?
You see, the beauty of the struggle is how it can build a supportive, understanding, interwoven community. We all have pain, and there is beauty in the pain. But when you’re in the midst of the struggle, you often are blind to this. Our role as fellow Christ-followers is to try to bring a bit of beauty into the lives of the people we care about - to show them the compassion, love, and freedom of Christ. In return, we hope to receive the gift of beauty from others - and to be vulnerable enough to accept it.
When I first entered graduate school, I tried to keep my struggle to myself. It seemed like everyone else could handle it, so why couldn’t I? Slowly, as I opened myself up, I was able to accept reassurance, understanding, and focus. I found I wasn’t completely alone, and that my friends were struggling with similar fears - and now we’re able to conquer them together. This doesn’t completely remove the stress from my life, but it gives me a brighter light as I wade through the darkness.
And what’s more beautiful than light?
There is no better place to practice community than around the table. While classy dinner parties and fancy restaurants are fun places to do this, it is not required. In fact, when someone is facing a struggle, sometimes they just need a frozen pizza and a listening ear. While the foodie in me wants to present you some sort of fancy recipe, I want to challenge you this week to think of a friend or family member who might be struggling and figure out their favorite meal, or their current craving and share it with them - it can be homemade, eaten out, or ordered in. The important thing is that you show them you care about them, their struggle, and their soul.
“We Are Stronger” - Gungor One Wild Life: Soul
I know, that when I’m feeling the weight of my struggle, I can find beauty in the smallest things: a kind note, a funny GIF, a special dinner, a night with my friends, a hug from my husband. This week, think of someone’s struggle you’re familiar with and attempt to be a bit a beauty for them: send a text, make the call, bring them flowers, write a card - do what you think they would need. We all have our personal struggles, but we all also know others who struggle. I think you’ll find that in an effort to make someone else’s week a bit more beautiful, yours will be too.
Lord, you are an almighty creator. We thank you for our struggles for it gives us a way to relate and take care of each other. We know you created us to walk this life together, through the good and the bad. Reveal to me a way I can care for a brother or sister this week and give me the vulnerability to share my own struggle. May we find the beauty in our struggles together. May we find the beauty of together.
Katelyn Butler | Instagram: @katelynacae