The first time I read the phrase embrace the suck, I was actually reading an article about…parenting? War? Marriage? Work? Being black in America? I don’t even remember. I just remember the phrase catching my eye. It was one I’d never heard or read before, and it resonated deep in my chest. I had to look up the phrase (of course), and when I saw what it referred to, I understood why my spirit wouldn’t let it go.
Embracing the suck is a military term that kinda goes back to sleeping in foxholes and witnessing the carnage of war that we regular-degular folks don’t see. It is the soldier’s literal ability to not utterly lose his mind in a mind boggling situation. In day-to-day terms, embracing the suck means that you intentionally decide that no matter what happens, you will not allow circumstances to break you. You create a temporary new normal that allows you to face each day until that trial is complete–with humor even! I mean. It might be dark humor, but anything to lighten the load. Right?
If this ain’t a Christian principle, then it ain’t none.
James 1:2-4 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (NLT).
Romans 5:3-4 also says, ““We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (NLT)
See? Both James and Paul telling you to “embrace the suck”.
Even Jesus–especially and particularly my Lord and Savior–talked about the suck that comes from following Him. The persecution. The hatefulness. The despiteful use. The mocking. The death. Following Jesus is not always sunshine and blue skies. Pursuing Christ comes with great benefit; it also comes with some really hard times that we endure (as He did) for the joy set before us.
See, it matters how you face and fight through hard times. Hard things are made even harder by a defeated attitude. Forgiveness is made nearly impossible. Moving forward does not happen. You gotta learn to smile anyway. Be happy anyway. Enjoy life anyway. Be your best self anyway. Give grace liberally. Walk in mercy. Be a light. Nehemiah and nem said it best: You eat, drink, be happy, celebrate! Because the joy of the Lord is your strength. Not your own might or power or hard work or trying: the joy that comes from the fullness of God’s presence.
The thing of it is—the revelation behind the principle is the trust you have in God’s plan for you just like our beloved soldiers trust the plans and strategies of those who send them into battle. At the end of the day all things work out for the best that God planned for you before the world was created. If you trust God’s thoughts toward you? Then the trouble doesn’t matter: Jesus has overcome the world.
My prayer for you is that you intentionally meet each day with the attitude of “this too shall pass”, trusting that you are on God’s mind and in God’s heart. You can make it: set your face and endure.
Embrace the suck.