Does Life feel like a Struggle?

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Last year I decided to go for a walk out along our local Pier. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the water in the bay was super-flat – not quite glassy, but there was no swell and barely any ripples on the surface of the water.

There was barely any breeze and everything was still. Just as I walked up to the the start of the pier, I noticed a guy in the distance on a stand-up paddle-board.

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The guy on the paddle board was out near the end of the pier, about 10m or so off to one side.

Now his presence in itself wasn’t unusual, there are heaps of people who get out and about on paddle boards near the pier when conditions are calm.

What was really weird on this particular day was the amount of splashing going on.

Paddle Guy was right down near the far end of the pier and not only could I see a heap of splashing, I could hear it too. And he really was a long way away from me!

As I walked out towards the end of the Pier, Paddle Guy ducked underneath the pier and through to the other side – still making heaps of splash and seemingly working really hard to get the little bit of slow movement he was making in the water. He was huffing and puffing and using his whole body to stab the paddle into the water at a weird angle.

A woman called out from the pier:

“That looks like a really good workout!”

“It sure is” puffed Paddle Guy, as he kept stabbing at the water.

Now if you’re not familiar with stand up paddle boards, they’re like an oversized surf board that people stand up on – and their operators use a long handled single bladed paddle at one end, and a handle or grip shaped like a T at the other end.

Everyone I’ve seen paddling one of these boards, especially in gorgeous calm conditions like the ones on this day at the Pier, seems to glide majestically across the water. Even when people are racing each other there isn’t that much splash.

And well, Paddle Guy was different.

There was splash everywhere and despite the fact he was working hard, he wasn’t getting a great return on the huge amount of energy he was investing.

He was barely moving!

Now that I was closer, I could see what was happening… Paddle Guy had the blade of his slightly scooped paddle turned around the wrong way.

He was using it backwards!

That’s why he was splashing so much, because as he pushed the blade through the water, instead of digging in and propelling his board forward, the water was instead being pushed up the scooped back of the paddle and turned into splash that was going everywhere.

Because his method was so ineffective, Paddle Guy had to make up for it by doubling his work rate, and because he was getting such a cardio workout, his paddle strokes were suffering.

Here’s the thing though…

Paddle Guy wasn’t even aware that he had a problem.

He probably thought that struggling to make progress was just the way that paddle boarding WAS.

Every single human being on our planet is familiar with the feeling of struggle… although to be fair some struggles are bigger than others.

If you’re in the middle of a struggle that seems so big you can’t see past it right now, I’m here to tell you that God has had a plan for you since before you were born, and that plan was NOT for you to live a life of struggle.

Jeremiah 29:11 says that God’s plan was to prosper you and NOT to harm you – it’s a plan to give you both a hope AND a future.

So how do you move past the struggles and find out more about God’s plan for you?

Well, Paddle Guy was struggling because although he technically had all the right equipment, no-one had taken the time to show him how to use it.

As a Christian, when life is a struggle – whether that’s a big struggle or a nagging feeling that there MUST be more to life than this – we don’t tend to discuss it with anyone else. When it comes to separation and divorce there aren’t too many Christian leaders who speak on the things you need to hear from a position of lived experience.

I can safely say that these Thrive messages will be about a lot more than divorce and remarriage. They’ll help you step away from a life of struggle and into the purpose and calling God planned for you before you were even born – a plan to prosper you, give you a hope and give you a future that is beyond anything you can imagine right now.

Until next time, blue skies!

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Are you living in Struggle Town, barbed wire fence

P.P.S. if you have a friend who might benefit from this message, make sure you take the time right now to share this with them!

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