“Being negative only makes a journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.” Joyce Meyer
All of us have times in our lives when the journey is difficult. Sometimes the difficult part seems to last forever. Our cactus is heavy, burdensome, and an inconvenience. How you carry your cactus makes a huge difference. Hold it too close, and you will be covered in cactus spikes; hold it too far away, and you will drop it and chance ruining it. You can put it under you to hide it, but you will end up with spikes in places you don’t want.
Being negative is a choice. It’s hard to see a way to be positive when it seems your entire path is lined with cacti. At some point in our lives, we all have faced, what seemed to be an impossible journey. Everything we did, everywhere we turned, seemed to be lined with difficulty. Everyone around us seemed to be walking in a field of flowers while puppies ran at their feet and butterflies fluttered above their heads.
We aren’t promised a life free of difficulties, but we are promised a life where our burdens and worries can be lifted if we are walking with Christ. As humans, it is hard to let go of whatever is bothering us. We like to hold onto our problems like a favorite teddy bear. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus also tells us to place all of our anxiety on him. “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
It can be scary to give your cactus to Christ. Giving up that control is so scary. But giving up your cactus will be such a relief. You aren’t burdened and heavy, you can live life without fear, and you can help others to find Christ. Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 18:6 tells us, “But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Don’t let a difficult part of your journey encourage you to sit on your cactus. Lean on the Lord when this life is difficult. Giving your worries and burdens to Christ will keep you from becoming bitter and having a hard heart. It shows others around you that you are living by faith and fully trusting in Christ to see you through your difficult times. This simple act of faith will help others around you find their faith and help lead them to a life in Christ. “Cast your burden on the Lord — He will support you! God will never let the righteous be shaken!” Psalm 55:22
One of my favorite passages is 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” Everything in this world will try to crush us because this world is not our eternal home. This world is temporary and will one day be struck down and destroyed, but if we are in Christ, we will not be crushed. We are treasures in jars of clay that Christ is protecting. Even when our paths are lined with cacti, we will not be destroyed.
If you are carrying a cactus today and are thinking of sitting on it to rest, I urge you to just let Christ take the cactus from you. Give Him all your burdens and worries. Learning to lean on Him for everything will completely change your life and is a work in progress. You will always have some sort of cactus to hand over, but keep doing it! Your example of strength and faith will help so many others on their paths.
Where I live, school is back in session and football has already begun. One of my favorite gameday treats is the delicious jalapeno popper. It’s spicy, it’s crispy, it’s cheesy. I mean, what’s not to love, besides the fact they are usually deep fried and make you feel heavy and sluggish. This week’s recipe is a version of a jalapeno popper that you can enjoy without feeling heavy. It is packed with extra veggies and is sure to be a crowd pleaser! You can enjoy it with veggie dippers, over rice, or just own its own. I hope you love it as much as my family does.
“God is our refuge and strength, a great help in times of distress. Therefore, we will not be frightened when the earth roars, when the mountains shake in the depths of the seas.” Psalm 46:1-2