Good struggle or Bad struggle – how do we know?

Good struggle or Bad struggle – how do we know?

Good struggle or Bad struggle – how do we know?

A common – but life-threatening – infection has been receiving lots of headlines recently; the number of cases is rising, the symptoms are compounding, and the statistics for recovery can be confusing.

This infection reached epidemic proportions in America during the recent election; election day didn’t end the health crisis – instead, in many cases, it seems to have aggravated the condition.

As with other illnesses, the problem preventing and curing the disease is two-fold:  compromised immune systems in most people, and the over-use of a common antibiotic.  These unrecognized conditions and common treatments are making the problem worse.

The symptoms for this particular life-threatening infection include (but are not limited to):

  • emotional tenderness
  • blame
  • anger
  • worry
  • pride
  • denial

The name of this life-threatening infection is “Struggle” and it has reached epidemic proportions, even in the most civilized countries.

Struggle is difficult to treat because we need the good kind of struggle, but not the bad.

Think of good bacteria and bad bacteria.

For purposes of clarity in this post, I will use “struggle” (lower case s) when referring to “good bacteria” or good struggle, and I will use “Struggle” (capital S) when referring to “bad bacteria” or unhealthy Struggle.

Good struggle is an important part of everyday life; struggle makes us stronger.  Dealing with struggle helps us grow, and growing gives us hope.img_2232

Hope provides integrity because it builds boundaries of protection when we struggle – from lies, not consequences. Hope can be defined as a well-developed immune system. Hope develops as we deal with good struggle – and learn to resolve it.

Without good struggle, hope never develops.

Good struggle invites healthy relationships because it encourages us to ask for and receive help.  Without good struggle, we’ll never live a full and free life.

Bad Struggle often begins as good struggle.  Two unresolved pre-existing conditions often create bad Struggle from good:  abandonment and shame.

Abandonment is an experience of being left alone in the midst of struggle; it develops when we’re not encouraged or not protected from lies. These lies often become labels (“lazy,” “slow,” “ADD,” “stupid,” “ugly,”…) and our brains begin to operate out of these invalid identities.

Hope begins to fade; our immune system is compromised. Abandonment invites shame.

Shame involves an invalid identity, too; shame tells me I’m a loser or a misfit.  Shame tells me I don’t belong until I change or get better – even though getting better requires first, I must trust that I already belong.  It’s a cruel trick.

Abandonment and shame work hard to destroy hope.

Bad Struggle develops from good struggle when we self-medicate, instead of asking for help.  Some self-medicating treatment options include hiding, avoiding, medicating the pain instead of resolving the issue, and increased self-effort when mutual-effort is required.

Hope comes from belonging to a community of grace; it is impossible to self-medicate with grace.

Symptoms increase – and Struggle becomes debilitating – with common treatments.  The most over-used antibiotic, “SPO” (“standard performance objectives”) is proving more harmful than helpful in treating the disease.  SPO requires we prove that we’re cured, instead of providing a cure.img_2233

Exposed to unresolved abandonment and shame issues, and SPO, the symptoms of Struggle increase – to dangerous levels:

  • Emotional tenderness can turn into emotional lockdown; we get stuck because bad Struggle reduces our emotional fluency.  The ability to “return to Joy from every unpleasant emotion” is important for emotional – and overall – health and maturity.  When we avoid struggle because of tenderness – instead of asking for help – we increase our risk for emotional lockdown.
  • Blame hardens into bitterness and wreaks havoc in relationships – often destroying them.
  • Anger escalates into violence.
  • Worry grows into chronic anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
  • Pride wears extreme masks and builds walls, elevated platforms, and stadiums; pride demands applause.
  • Denial grows into a full-blown identity crisis; we begin to believe we are “god” – and become the authors of our own truth.

At the stage that denial causes hallucinations and delusions (evident by inventing truth instead of resolving struggle), Struggle is in stage 4.

Hope is never lost until the patient actually dies.  All stages of Struggle – including stage 4 – are not only treatable – there is a 100% reliable Cure!

The Cure is not new; it is more than 2,000 years old.  The street name for this antiquated remedy is “Grace.”

Caution: only the original Cure works, never the GMO variety.

The original Cure (“Grace”) has two vital ingredients, not found in GMOs:  unconditional Love + unwavering Truth.  Both components are available only from a supernatural source.

Problems with today’s common treatments can appear complicated, but are relatively simple when focused on these key ingredients:

  • Supernatural Truth is vital.  Think of it this way – the kind of truth we manufacture is like the kind of gluten we manufacture.  It wasn’t part of the original “bread of life” recipe.  Man-made “truth” is like man-made wheat; sooner or later it’s going to make us sick.
  • Supernatural Love is vital.  The kind of love we manufacture often includes artificial ingredients, linked to shame.  These ingredients (keeping score, pleasing instead of trusting, manipulation, compliance…) are not part of real Love at all.  You’ll know you’re experiencing real Love when it is 100% pure – never any possibility of added abandonment or shame.

This combination of Truth and Love is our greatest protection from Struggle that eventually leads to death.

And more good news, especially because this Christmas season often comes with a budgeting crisis, this Cure is free for the asking – and 100% effective for the trusting.img_2229

So here lies the problem for most people.  Because struggle has developed into Struggle – as a result of abandonment, shame, or SPO, millions of Americans are afraid to trust.  Many of us are afraid to even ask for help – for fear of abandonment, shame, or getting another SPO shot.

But there are still reliable sources of Grace.  Look for these criteria when seeking real help and supernatural Grace:

  • Humility.  Grace carriers don’t deny Struggle – but are learning to actually live in communities of Grace when dealing with both struggle and Struggle.
  • Restored relationships.  Not free of conflict, but learning to do more than simply resolve conflict.  Restored relationships are the greatest evidence of the healing power of Grace.
  • Joy.  Grace carriers often define “joy” as “it’s good to be me, here with you.”  Grace carriers know that struggle is not only required to reach our potential, it can be a daunting part of the journey that is our destiny.  We must trust each other for daily doses of Grace – sometimes mass doses – if we’re ever going to live the adventure that comes with our new life that is the result of this Grace.

There is a growing community of Grace – learning to apply this supernatural power to education.  Read more about this adventure in my post DOCUMENTING GRACE…our greatest hope.

I look forward to your comments and questions; your responses are a gift I treasure.