Struggles. Just the very word makes you shudder. They can be physical, mental, or emotional; and if life is being extra cruel, sometimes it can be all three. Now that the bad stuff is out of the way let me give you the good news. Your struggles are good for you. No need to reread that part. Yes, the thing that grates on your nerves and makes your life a living hell is good for you.
We've been taught to associate struggles with the thing that have a negative impact on our lives but it doesn't have to be. Once you transform your mind to view struggles as a source that is meant to strengthen you, your life will become a little easier when dealing with them.
Picture this: You’re going through life in a straight line. The line is a representation of the quality of life you’re in. If you’re constantly moving in a straight line, sure you have no dips but you don’t have any elevation either. That struggle won’t last forever. It may seem like every day is an uphill battle but at some point, you have to rise again and because you endured the struggle with such positivity then you will be moved above the position you were once at.
Contrary to opinions, I’ve never seen someone not experience a struggle but continue to reach elevation.
Without your struggle, there cannot be any elevation to the next level. Do you want to level up? Go through it and don’t just go through it because you have to but because you know it’s a beautiful thing that will make you stronger on the other side.
So, what is I.C.E and why should I trust it with my struggle?
Isolation. Concentration. Elevation.
Let's begin with Isolation. Ever wonder why you feel alone and misunderstood when you're going through something? This isn't a mistake. It's by design that we have to go through it alone when God tests us. He wants us to put our faith solely in him and the situation.
Imagine having a carload of people. It never fails that we have a passenger seat driver. Just think of how God must feel as he navigates our lives while we try to take over the steering wheel, making things worse than they are.
The isolation isn't meant to be permanent or a punishment. See it as growing closer to God with no outside interference, learning something new about yourself, and seeing it as a way to draw strength from being independent.
Next is Concentration. Yes, I'm telling you to concentrate on the struggle that disrupting your life. God does not enjoy seeing his children suffering but it is necessary. There is a lesson or reason why this is happening to you. By concentrating on it you learn why you were going through that hardship. It could be that it'll help you for your next struggle, prepare you to properly receive a blessing, etc. But understand that there is ALWAYS a purpose to why God does something and why he chooses people. Be still, listen, and meditate on the things happening around you to gain clarity that will help you.
Lastly, is Elevation. This is where everything you've been through hasn't been in vain and God is elevating you beyond your current position. It is also a testimony to others, proof that the challenges you've faced are endurable. In your elevation, you should be a little better than you were before whether the test was for you mentally, emotionally, or physically you'll see the difference.
We loathe them but challenges are required in life. God never said it would be easy and he was right, it isn't. But rather than oppose the struggle, surrender to it and trust it to do what it's supposed to do; which is build character, strengthen you, and elevate you from your current position.
James 1:2-4, 12
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Romans 8: 17-18
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.