Purely Personal Pieces

Deconstructing Difficult

by Emmanuelle Gomez & Gia Garcia


We dislike difficult.

Difficult disrupts what was once peaceful. Difficult is uncomfortable, unpleasant, painful.

No matter how strong or unfazed we’d like to be as Christians, we are still humans and are not devoid of emotions; there is no point in denying that difficulty affects us just as much as it does anyone else.

When we think about it though, more often than not, it is not really the difficult we dislike; it is the feeling–of discomfort, of sadness, of restlessness, of helplessness, of pain that comes with the struggle, of anxiety amidst the waiting, of fear of not overcoming. We get overwhelmed by challenges because the difficult intimidates our soul. Oh, if we could only go through them without feeling their weight!

But as Christians, we have Jesus, whom by nature was 100% God, and also 100% human–not devoid of the very same emotions you and I feel today. He was not exempt from facing challenges and struggles. He wept when Lazarus, his best friend, passed away. He felt offense and anger when he saw that his Father’s temple was becoming a “den of robbers.” Above all, he knew he was to face suffering, and at Gethsemane even pleaded three times with his Father to take the suffering away. He felt every lash, every thorn, every nail. On the cross, He felt the weight of our sin. And even in his final moments he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Did Jesus like difficult? Apparently not. But He did not opt for what’s easy.

“Your will be done,” Jesus prayed to his Father in Gethsemane. Before his final breath on the cross, while carrying the pain of his torn flesh and the weight of our sin, his final words were “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” He endured his life with each challenge and suffering, and every unpleasant emotion that came with it. He endured, not because he liked difficult, but because above anything else he wanted his Father’s will–to reconcile the world back to God. That sacrifice was the very expression of God’s constant, unfailing, and unchanging love for us–that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What does this mean for us?

This means that because Jesus endured the most difficult, painful, and gruesome sacrifice, our “difficult” has long been overcome;

This means that a struggle can intimidate us, but it can never defeat us, because Jesus already faced and embraced what was most painful so we can live–and live victorious!

May we ever remember that a change in our circumstance does not change the faithfulness of God. Difficulties are not proof that God’s love for us fluctuates. Rather, difficulties expose our fluctuating faith while proving that God is just as faithful to us in our trial as He is in our breakthrough. Let it be that when we face difficulties of all sorts, we respond like Christ, in complete surrender and trust in God, with a desire for our Father’s will to be done, knowing that in every circumstance we are already coming from a position of victory.

Purely Personal Pieces

Keep Calm. You Are Loved.

What makes you anxious? What are you most afraid of?

Yesterday, I was asked to do something that made me so restless. In my head, I knew there was no reason to feel that way, but my soul – my emotions – say otherwise.

This morning, while waiting for my turn to do what I was tasked to do, I felt like there was a lump in my throat, my whole was body shaking, my thoughts were afloat. Man, was I anxious and panicky and afraid! And the thought of me having to do the task twice made breathing extra hard.

And then the lyrics that silenced my soul’s unrest was sung:

Even when I fail you
I know you love me.

I thought I was anxious because I feared I would fail. I realized later that I feared because I had forgotten how loved I am.

Before the song ended, I knew why He wanted me to do what I feared to do. He wanted me to know that He loves me – even before I do anything, even if I fail.

I was anxious and fearful because while my head knows that my Father loves me, my soul needed some more assurance and reassurance. While I was singing along with those lines, I heard Him whisper:

Do you really know how much I love you? Do you know in your heart, not just in your head, that I love you despite of, in spite of, regardless?

What makes you anxious? What are you most afraid of?

1 John 4:18 says “…perfect love drives out fear.”

Do you know how much He loves you? Do you know in your heart, not just in your head, that Jesus’ love for you is perfect despite of, in spite of, regardless? Would you allow His love to calm all your fears?



Purely Personal Pieces

When Your #SquadGoals Aren’t Met

You’ve finally found your squad in church and they get you perfectly! They’re like brothers and sisters from another mother and you’re sure nothing can ever come between you. Your wavelengths are like clones of each other. Sure, they’d have quirks that irritate you a bit, but you can live with that. Until that fateful day –

  • Someone promised to go with you and then cancelled.
  • You see a photo of them together on social media and no one invited you.
  • You’re trying to prove a point, but they seem to be ganging up to prove you wrong.
  • You’re going through a tough time and no one seemed to care.
  • Someone had to correct you and you think they didn’t do it right.

Looks like it’s #SquadGoals no more.

Your quest to finding the perfect squad in church must end the soonest. 

I love how the church provides us with a community we can share lives with and I love how our movement puts so much premium on relationships. Thus, “Discipleship is relationship.” and “We are better together.” have easily become a household battlecry. But I realized there are things we need to know and understand as we walk through the Christian journey with our newfound family.

1. Our most important relationship is our relationship with Jesus.

If glitches in our relationships cause us to grow cold in our relationship with God, we should be concerned. When we begin to find it hard to worship, listen, and obey God whenever we are offended, it is time to ask: Is Jesus still the anchor of my faith or have I made people the basis of my ability to stay faithful?

2. Our relationship with Jesus should fuel our earthly relationships, not the other way around.

It is the love of Jesus that saved us. Our ability to love others unwaveringly, unconditionally, comes from an understanding that we can love much because we are known fully, forgiven entirely, and loved deeply by the King of kings and the Lord of lords. “We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).”

This excerpt from a book I read a few months back perfectly encapsulates this point:

“The shattered relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the cross provides the basis for our reconciliation. No other relationship ever suffered more than what Father, Son, and Holy Spirit endured when Jesus hung on the cross and cried, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Jesus was willing to be the rejected Son so that our families would know reconciliation. Jesus was willing to become the forsaken friend so that we could have loving friendships. Jesus was willing to be the rejected Lord so that we could live in loving submission to one another. Jesus was willing to be the forsaken brother so that we could have godly relationships. Jesus was willing to be the crucified King so that our communities would experience peace.

– Timothy S. Lane, Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

We would think that relationship challenges reveal the kind of friends we have. There is truth to that. But it is also true that a strain in our relationships reveal the condition of our hearts. 

Do we stay in relationships to get or do we stay to give? 

Do we expect others to be gracious with our imperfections and then expect them to be perfect or do we constantly acknowledge that we are all a work in progress, and that we have to constantly choose to understand and forgive every day?

Are our #SquadGoals a list of expectations we want our friends to meet or are they goals we can work towards together?