I say this phrase on an almost daily basis. It typically follows a sarcastic (read: well place humorous) remark that expresses the frustrations joys of life as a late twenty-something adult who lives in a small tourist town.
It is no secret that one of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail. I am always in the mood for it. Nora Ephron’s writing is honest, has a sense of clarity I love, is covered with a hint of sass and simply makes me happy. I can always relate a quote from that movie to a current situation in my life.
There is a scene in the movie where Joe Fox is stuck in an elevator with his then-grilfriend Patricia Eden who makes coffee nervous. Everyone in the elevator is assuming they are not going to get out and making plans of exactly what they will do if/when they do. Patricia is freaking out because she can’t find her Tic-Tacs in her purse. Her struggle was real, as melodramatic as that scene was, I get it.
This life is sometimes hard.
This life is sometimes not fair.
And most importantly, this life is not eternal.
The struggle is real.
It is real because every season is meant for our sanctification.
It is real because of sin.
It is real because this world is not our home.
Christ’s return is our incentive of hope.
I have spent a lot of time in 1 Peter this week and this is what I know: Peter understood that the struggle is real. Peter knew persecutions. He knew how to move forward without bitterness or hopelessness. He had a faith that I strive for. He lived an obedient life. His hope was the living hope of Jesus Christ and his resurrection and future return. He rejoiced in the struggle. He understood that there is a greater joy ahead (1 Peter 1:6-7).
Nothing on this earth will satisfy us. Nothing on this earth will fill the hole in our hearts except Christ.
I work in a public school district. I have to remind myself daily that this life is not eternal. I have to tell myself that the grace the abounds daily for me from Christ needs to abound daily to the students I see. I have to tell myself that every day, with every child, no matter the cost that I will show them unconditional love and show them that I am fighting the battle for them. I have to show them that I am on their side and I will not give up despite any behavior or resistance they may show me. Even though the struggle is real, I can’t stop fighting.
Peter knew the greater joy. He knew it was worth it. He knew there was something bigger coming, and that was his hope. I have spent a good amount of time with a broken heart and in tears over the situations some of the kids I work with are in. Some of the kids I see are exactly the reason I went into the education in the first place.
This is what I have learned: crying is fine while it lasts but the tears have to stop eventually and I have to decide what to do.
All I am saying is this: we can sit in the stuck elevator and freak out about Tic-Tacs but when those doors open, we need to have a game plan. We cannot waste our time looking for Tic-Tacs.
Joe Fox left the elevator wishing he knew what he wanted. The time spent in the elevator made him think. It made him realize there was something greater. We need to know what we want. I have spent a lot of time stuck in the elevator this week searching for Tic Tacs. The doors opened and I wasn’t ready.
I know what I want.
I want to love the Lord with reckless abandonment.
I want to serve others with a heart like Christ.
I want to make the Lord known despite anything it may cost.
We have the hope that Christ is coming again as He promised.
Until then we fight in whatever situation He has called us to.
Until then we fight for people.
Until then we fight for the lost and broken.
The struggle is real, but so is the hope.