Welcome For the past couple years, it seems the hashtag, #thestruggleisreal, has been showing up everywhere, especially in social media. It seems that everything from curly hair to ill-fitting pants were a call to share, “Hey, my struggle IS REAL!” Many times, this expression was used to make light of something that was simply frustrating or annoying. But for many people, the daily struggle is very real and it can be hard to get people to understand exactly what that struggle is like on a daily basis, whether it be physical, mental, spiritual, financial, or any other range of issues.
Food For Thought I always appreciate Paul’s words here in verse 12: “Not that I…am already perfect.” Well, that’s good, because neither am I!
When we are struggling with something, the last thing we often want to see or hear is someone who looks or sounds like they have it all together. In my mind, if they approach me and my problem like they’ve got it all together, I jump to the conclusion that they couldn’t possibly understand what I’m going through. I don’t want to share my struggles with them because they won’t take me seriously or maybe just consider me a complainer.
Now, I don’t think we should dwell on all our struggles every day. That is not healthy, beneficial, or uplifting to others. But personally, I’m tired of the Instagram-filtered world we live in! Life isn’t always pretty…not for me or for your or for anyone! Life is hard. Life is good. Life has ups and downs and seasons of peace and seasons of struggle. But my 40+ years have taught me a little something about those struggles.
I spent many years trying to live up to my own perfectionist expectations. And while failing miserably at the impossible, I tried to at least appear that I had it all together. I was the one quick to judge, quick to gloss over the ugliness of physical and mental struggles, quick to portray myself and family as something we’re not. And why? All for the sake of impressing some people who don’t care about me one way or the other. I hid my struggles out of shame and embarrassment and I almost lost my mind in the process. And I’m not exaggerating…mental health is no joke.
And when I did hit my personal rock bottom, I knew the first thing I had to do was admit I was struggling. I had to admit it to myself and to those close around me. I needed them to understand that this daily struggle is real, it’s not always a choice, and it’s not always fixed easily. What I discovered about admitting the struggle is that it can springboard into good for others. In my imperfections, I can offer empathy and encouragement. I can speak from faith and experience how God has helped me overcome struggles, or in reality, how He walks with me daily to survive the struggles. I share my story so you can share your story. We share with each other, not to bog each other down or dump our problems on people, but to say, “Hey, I’ve been there. This is hard. Let’s get through it together.”
I don’t know about you, but I need more people like this in my life. I don’t need more fake Facebook friends or Instagram followers (although, I won’t turn you away either 🙂 ) I need more real people in my life. And I can’t help you with your struggle, if I don’t know your struggle. And you can’t help me either. So, instead of judging the next imperfect person who crosses our path, let’s reach out and share the struggles, because the encouragement can be real, too.
Today’s Recipe Some days, the struggle is simply getting the family fed. Whether it be from working late, conflicting schedules, or tight grocery budgets, sometimes dinner is the struggle.
That’s why I like to have some #simplesuppers on hand. Today’s recipe is an example of a meal that fits right into that category.
When it comes to simple suppers, you want something that requires little prep, few ingredients, uses few pans, and has some versatility. Slow cooker, skillet meals, and sheet pan dinners all fit this category well. Today’s recipe is for Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers. The prep is simple…aluminum foil and slicing some veggies are about the limit here. Few ingredients? Check, sausages, bell peppers, onions, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cooks on a sheet pan in the oven in thirty minutes. And, yes, it’s versatile. You can serve your sausage and peppers over some cooked spaghetti with a little shaved parmesan or you can add them to a hoagie roll with some melted provolone for a sausage and peppers sandwich. Either way, it’s delicious!
Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers
Note–I cooked double everything so we could have leftovers the next day. This is the un-doubled recipe.
- 1 package of fresh Italian sausages
- 1 large bell pepper
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 TBS olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooked pasta or sub rolls for serving
- grated parmesan, sliced provolone, or shredded mozzarella, for serving
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Lay the sausages on the prepared pan.
Slice peppers and onions and scatter around the sausages.
Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables and sausages. Sprinkle the vegetables with a little salt and pepper.
Roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Serve with pasta or sub rolls.