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Someone I wish I knew better recently responded to a blog about a situation that I can identify with in many ways.  When we look at our battles, we can look around and see others who face tougher battles, at least in our eyes, and who do so with grace.  They teach us lessons that are valuable.

Yet, they are only lessons.

As I’ve journeyed through my dark valleys, I have had many who marched beside me and who have taught me many valuable lessons.  They have helped me to see my situation in a different light.

They helped me see the lessons.

I have found the comfort of others and the lessons they teach only last so long because, at some point, I am back in the muck and the mess of my life and I have to LIVE it.  The listening, seeing and understanding of problems can teach me lessons but I have to LIVE the lessons.  I have to decide to trust God or not trust God.  I have to decide to live gratefully or live fearfully.  I have to decide to press on or draw back.  I have to decide how I WILL LIVE the rest of my days.  And do it!

I can decide today that I will live gratefully but that doesn’t mean I’ll still be living that way tomorrow.  It’s another decision I have to make.

I’m thankful for the stories of others, for their encouragement, for their lessons, for their faith in me to share what they know.  Very thankful.  But at some point I come to the end of other’s lessons and have to make the decision for myself of how I will live this day and how I will take on the obstacles and share in the victories.

From Jesus Calling on February 6…

Come to me and rest.  I am all about you, to bless and restore.  Breathe Me in with each breath.  The way just ahead of you is very steep.  Slow down and cling tigthly to My hand.  I am teaching you a difficult lesson, learned only by hardship.

Learned only by hardship.  By me.  That’s exciting (heavy sarcasm intended).

My lessons have to be my own.  Lived out by me.  I much rather live my life through other people’s stories but it doesn’t work that way.  Today, I will choose to cling to the hand of God, to prepare to take the steep path with Him giving me strength.  And I ask Him for the strength to keep making that decision in the days to come.

Grace and peace.