How is it possible to have your heart so full and yet so broken all at the same time? I don’t quite understand it, but I am there.
I am honed in on the gifts around me: my beautiful, unique kids. My handsome, loving husband and our wonderful marriage. My home. My family. My church family. My relationship with God. And so much more.
Reading that, the temptation is to think “Wow! Leah’s life is so together. Pinterest perfect, really…”
But that is far from the truth. Every soul has its’ cross to bear. Mine is not yours.
And at the same time that I count my blessings, I am also so broken for the needs of others, as well as the needs I still have.
Anxiety. Abuse. Broken homes. Depression. Eating disorders. Guilt. Hidden addiction. Phobias. Poverty. And so much more.
So, what is it? Did I win the genetic/universal lottery, that my life is the way it is? I can count major personal crises on one hand (though I expect them everyday). We have normal problems. Are my struggles just lame, or is my perspective just too sunny? What makes the difference?
My answer will make many cringe. It seems too simple, too self-righteous and too blasé. I can tell you- the answer is neither simple nor difficult. The answer is entirely based not on my own goodness, but is in every way a part of me.
I acknowledged my reality many years ago. I am a sinner. I am not enough. I don’t measure up. Seeing the dark reality for what it is gives one a desire for resolution, because nothing is settled- it’s all upset.
Only God gives us that resolution we long for. The dark sin that is our upsetting reality was taken care of by Jesus Christ. He took care of our sin problem by not only taking our punishment, but defeating our punishment.
When I depended on Christ’s sacrifice- not my ability to believe, or being moral, or even being churchy- His life became mine. His goodness, His enoughness, His perfection all became mine to claim. I stand forgiven.
But this is not just a moment in time- it is a lifestyle. Choosing Christ has to happen daily, hourly, minutely, secondly (and firstly too!). Putting aside my own reasoning and ways and putting on Christ’s ways is a lifelong pursuit and commitment.
This choosing Jesus changed my life trajectory. It morphed my future. Instead of choosing a career that built me up, I committed to one that built up others. Instead of marrying the guy who said all the things I wanted to hear and did all the things I wanted him to do, I picked the man who encouraged me to be more like Jesus.
It goes even deeper. The thoughts that I want to think about others, thoughts based entirely on feeling with no fact, I must choose not to dwell on. The fear and pain that I want hold tight to, I must let go. The real life problems that I want to freak out over and fix any way I can’t, I must give over to God and follow His commands for handling them.
It is that simple and that difficult. It is entirely based not on my own goodness, but is in every way a part of me.
And lest you think that I think I have arrived, nothing could be farther from the truth. Sometimes, too often, I fail to choose Jesus.
The unkind word spoken in anger. The hand wringing over the small and big problems. The priorities out of whack. The times I think my way will work better than God’s way.
I know who I am. I also know who God is. And even when I don’t choose Jesus, at any given time, a course correct is available and God will always help and accept me in that turn.
So I am spilling my heart to say this- there is always a way to course correct and choose Jesus. It’s a simple choice that may be difficult to execute. It is a choice based not on you and your abilities or lack thereof.
When choosing Jesus, I find no guilt or regret or shame. I find no need to overthink or have absolute control. There is peace. There is joy. There is an abundance in spirit that is hard to explain. Even when life gets really rough. The benefits to my soul far outweigh the difficulty in choosing Jesus.