Friday, August 2, 2013

You don't have to have it all together.

This summer has been that of incredible struggle and joy, all wrapped in one big, messy bundle. As I begin my final year in college, I'm fighting that daily, internal battle of "I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE COLLEGE!" versus "Get me out of here so the real world can begin". Both sides are wrong though, because I think true joy comes from finding contentment in the present moment, not in our futures.

The uncertainty of the future has led to anxiety, mood swings, and some days, depression, because for the first time in my life, I feel like I really don't have it together. I used to be the girl with a plan for everything. I spent most of my life telling God MY plans, refusing to follow through when I felt Him nudging me a different direction in certain categories- like my career plans. The hilarious thing is I never hesitated to move when He would nudge me away from a relationship- I used that God card way too much in my early days of dating (guilty). But for some reason, I held my career plans so closely to myself that it took God prying them away from me to let me see that He has something better for me. I just don't know what it is yet, and that's the challenging part.

It's okay to feel scared, nervous, even a little anxious about the future. 

Stick with me here, you Christians who protest, " You shouldn't feel that way!! Fear isn't from the Lord!!" You're right- it's not. It's from our flesh.  What we miss though is the simple concept that we are human. We are broken. We're not perfect and won't be until we reach the feet of Jesus in heaven. Stop thinking that because you battle with human struggles you're suddenly ill-equipped to do something great in life. Personally, I'll beat myself up for days when I feel powerless, scared, without a plan, or depressed, because I tend to tell myself, "You're a believer. You shouldn't be feeling this way." This is the IMMEDIATE consequence from believing Satan's continuous lies that we have to have it together, all the time.

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Jesus loved you before "you had it together", and loves you just as much now, no matter what's going on in your life. Although He came to this earth and never sinned, let's not forget His struggles. He was " despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). He faced heartbreak, defeat, betrayal, and death. He faced those battles head on by first acknowledging them before the Lord, and letting God's power move through Him to conquer those struggles.

Hear this-  God has an incredible plan for your life, He loves you to pieces, and He will provide a way for you to grow amidst whatever you're going through. Most importantly though, He sees and loves you in your pain and confusion. What a love.

Our mistake as a Christian culture is refusing to acknowledge the low moments within the body of Christ. We instantly throw encouragement verses about strength and perseverance, instead of taking that opportunity to love each other in our weaknesses by listening and acknowledging the pain! A beautiful thing happens in the hearts of many when the words, "I feel and understand your pain", are spoken. After that precious moment, bring on the encouragement. Send those verses! Write those "strength letters!" But never forget to first have compassion- love each other well.

 In 2 Corinthians, Paul talked about having a "thorn in his flesh", which lead to one of his most vulnerable, empowering encouragements to the early church:

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 

Some theologians speculate that Paul's "thorn in his flesh" was his depression and anxiety. The beauty behind it is what God DID with Paul's thorn- He took Paul's weakness and made him strong for the Kingdom by allowing him to persevere through beatings, persecution, and prison all because He was spreading the word about Jesus! This same power from God applies for us today- His power hasn't diminished through the ages!! He has equipped those in Christ with a strength equally matched to Jesus, which allows us to do greater things through Christ than we could imagine.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father." John 14:12 

Don't mistake your moments of failure, fear, imperfection for truth. Give yourself a break that you have to have it all together, because you really don't. Your strength should not come from what you can do, but what God can do through you. You have the power of Christ flowing through your veins, supporting you each step of the way, and His Grace is sufficient for you. Sounds like church talk, but do you know what that means? It means his sacrifice on the Cross covered ALL OF THIS pain, defeat, heartache, trials and tribulations, persecution. Every bit of it.

We didn't deserve His rescuing love, but because He gave it to us, it gives us freedom to be real with each other and most importantly, with Him. If you are in Christ, you don't need to fear His condemnation for anything you're going through.

So here's what you do. Bring them to His feet in prayer. Let Him hold you. Then let Him empower you through scripture, encouragement from others, and through your own story.

 Be real- He can work with that.

If y'all want to reach me, feel free to comment below or e-mail me at I mean that.

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