What are you struggling with?

Pastor Matthew Best
4 min readJan 27, 2023

I think this is the question that doesn’t get asked enough — What are you struggling with? It gets asked in certain settings. It gets asked by therapists and doctors. I’ve heard variations of this question in other settings too — What are the financial obstacles that the organization is facing? The military is really good at this question — what is our opponent doing?

But I’m wondering — do we ask this question well in the church? In some places I think we do. And in some places I think we miss opportunities. There’s a variety of reasons for that of course. We can come up with a ton of excuses for why we don’t, but who cares about the excuses right?

I think the question is really important because of what it can lead to. Just asking the question of what are we struggling with opens us up to sharing a reality that we are 1. not ok. 2. not the savior. 3 need other people/help and 4. not the facade that we are putting up. There’s more of course. That’s just the simple version.

What are you struggling with is a hard question to deal with for a lot of folks. It’s about being vulnerable. And our culture isn’t oriented towards vulnerability. But our church is all about a message of being vulnerable. That’s a clash of values. What are people to do? That’s a struggle in and of itself.

What are you struggling with? Hmm. As a society we want easy and simple. Struggle implies something much more complex and perplexing. It implies ongoing. It implies something less concrete and more abstract. Sometimes the things we struggle with are difficult to put words around. That makes them even more difficult. I think that’s part of what he author of Ephesians meant when he wrote “For ourstruggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).

What are you struggling with? We want to put on the facade that everything is alright. We want to make it seem like we are ok. But then what’s the point? Why gather in community if you ok? Why gather with others if you don’t need their support? To show how awesome you are doing? Sure, there are times when you are doing well and you can be a support to others. But no one who has ever walked the earth is ever that person 100% of the time. Everyone needs support and help at some point, and often we need support in various ways often.

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Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.