When it comes to dealing with the problems in our lives, sometimes we look for a way out, not a way to get through. And that’s understandable. Processing the amount of mental, emotional, and physical stamina necessary to trudge through the hardship can feel overwhelming. Add in the perspective we embrace on this side of the difficulty, and it just makes it more complex.

If you’re anything like me, my first response is usually to consider the worst-case scenario. Then I think about what it will require for me to overcome the real (and imagined) mountain before me. It’s larger than life, and often, larger than the actual reality. In that moment, I have a decision to make. As I stand there, looking at the mountain that I’ve mentally created, I have to decide if I am going through it, or if I’m going to try to find a way out.

From my history (ie. past mistakes), I know that the way out does not serve me well. It becomes a longer road, a higher climb, and a more difficult journey. The best way is direct, and it takes me through. It’s a little like those tunnels we experience on road trips, as we go through a mountain, or under a body of water. In PA we have several of those. Driving through them feels fun, it’s a shortcut, the benefit of someone else’s hard work. I don’t have to waste the time it takes (and stress on my vehicle) to go up and over the mountain, I simply get to take the easier way through.

Life is like that. In my mind, I can convince myself that going over, or around, my problem is the better way, but it’s not. Going through is undoubtedly more direct, and it takes less mental energy because I’m not trying to avoid anything.

Grief is like that. Loss is like that. Brokenness is like that. The best way to find healing, and the only way to find true freedom, is to go through it. Avoidance isn’t the answer, grace is. Grace with ourselves embodies patience, it allows us to go as far as we can one day, without the requirement of covering the entire distance. It encourages belief in our ability to make it through.

The beauty of grace is that it’s not manufactured, it’s extended, in compassion from the Creator of our human heart. As we learn to give ourselves grace, we also open our hearts to receive the grace that God offers. In this place, we find his friendship, his constant devotion, and his ceaseless love. In the hard places of our lives, we do not walk alone. God is with us. His grace covers our brokenness, it transforms the way we see the situation and ourselves.

If you’re facing a difficult road, invite Him to walk with you. Ask him for the strength you need to take the first step and each one after. I’ve found that life is rarely my worst-case scenario, and even when it is, he carries me. He is good. His love is constant. I can trust him to carry me through.