It is indeed hard to be a follower of Christ. But it is much difficult if you are too hard on yourself. You want to be a good Christian yet you still believe that you are a failure and that you’ve messed up despite of all the efforts you’ve done.
You tried to be the best person you can be; a good son, daughter, mother, father, husband or wife but it seems not enough. You keep on confessing the same old sin, five, ten, twenty years ago. It’s like you didn’t improve at all.
Sometimes you just want to give up. You consider yourself as a fruitless branch that should be cut from the vine. You question yourself: “Is this what it’s like to be a follower of Christ? I thought it is all flowers and rainbows, is it not about feeling great and awesome?”
Have you been this kind of a Christian? If you are, then welcome to the club. Congratulations! You are not alone.
Let me share this bible verse with you from St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews in the twelfth chapter.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
It is indeed hard to follow Christ, it is not for the faint-hearted. Just like St. Paul said “We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses.” and who are those witnesses? Those are the people who followed Christ before us. Ordinary people like you and I (Hebrews 11). Great saints and prophets who are watching over us, cheering us on. To “run with perseverance” telling us that if they can do it, so can we by the grace of God.
May we be reminded that this “race” is not a sprint but rather a marathon. As for me I’d like to see it as a bike race like Tour de France, composed of group mates designed to support one another. Employing various techniques like drafting to allow each member to endure each struggles up to the finish line.
Let us “fix our eyes on Jesus”, our lover and number one fan. Knowing that He too suffered, He too uttered the words from Psalm 22:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?”
May we look at this not so much as a cry of a man that despairs but a man that endures everything ’til the end, as the psalmist continues:
“Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.”
So please don’t be hard on yourself. Trust in your Lord and allow yourself to be loved by Him. Allow yourself to stand up again, and again, and again, and again.
“Consider Him who endured… so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Don’t get discouraged. You’re doing great. As St. Therese of Lisieux once said:
“Instead of becoming discouraged, I said to myself: God cannot inspire unrealizable desires. I can then. In spite of my littleness, aspire to holiness.”