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It's interesting to look at your life, past to present, and think: "It has all led up to this...." And then wonder where it will lead to next.

Friday, January 13, 2012

It Is Well... With My Soul.

Do you ever find your contentment resting on a collection of "ifs" and "whens"?

If I get the job...
When I get in shape...
If I find the right person...
When I start a family...
If I ever get a proper night's sleep...
When I get out of debt...
If we buy a house...
When we sell this house...
If we move to a new place...
When we settle and get comfortable...

The list is endless.

There are all kinds of things to hold us back, and all kinds of things to work toward. There is this idea that if we work hard enough, try, try, and try again, we will reach our goals and then true happiness will be ours for the taking. If we can just get to that point, whatever that point may be, we'll be content, fulfilled, happy, satisfied. It's a nice dream, isn't it?

Let's say we do get there. Let's say we get the job, the girl/guy, the car, the house, are free of debt, and sleep like a baby each night (most ironic saying ever)...

But then, what if we lose one of those things? What if we lose it all? Or worse, what if we just want more? Where does that leave us? Where would that leave you?

I often base my heart on ifs and whens. Most of the time really. I think some where along the way, the American dream and the Christian walk got intertwined and all mixed up. Do you ever find yourself thinking that if you are struggling financially that you must not be in the will of God? I have felt that way at times. Especially when it's really hard. We often marvel at how those with so little are capable of such joy, and act confused if we are not happy when we have so much. When I stop and think about those who have devoted their whole selves to following Christ, those that seem to really "get it", that genuinely live love, they praise God when He gives, they praise God when He takes away. They sing "it is well with my soul" no matter their circumstances, and mean it. Not because they don't struggle, not because things aren't hard, but because they live in the truth that no matter how life may change, God doesn't. I have always wanted to be one of those people who can trust God like that, yet when life is difficult, and it often is, I tend to get upset and wallow in self-pity.

I have realized a lot of really ugly things about myself this past year. It's hard to wake up and realize you are not who you thought you would be. But it's also really freeing to let go of your expectations of yourself. Put the mirror down, release your ugliness to God, and instead focus on His beauty. Not that it's easy. It's hard to ask God to transform you, and even harder to trust that He will follow through. It's painful to be stripped of your arrogance. It's agonizing to accept how weak you really are. It's humbling to ask for help. But if we refuse Christ's grace, we have missed what a relationship with God is about. We can not offer grace if we ourselves do not accept it. We can not cling to His grace until we have dropped all other things we set our hopes on. It all sounds so "christian" and "cliche", but I feel like I am finally learning what it means to find healing and wholeness in pain and brokenness. It feels so different than I ever thought it would.

3 comments:

Sam said...

amen!

I imagine you there...in the comfort of your home, tucked away in your writer's nook (shut up, I know you're on your couch, but this is my imagination...) thinking and typing away :)

thank you.

Faith said...

I was actually in my writing nook! Aaron cleaned and organized, and I've been finding myself here more often now. :)

Caitlin said...

Thank you, as usual, for your honesty. Your words hardly fail to convict me, and allow me to see things in myself that I was trying to ignore.
That, and I'm totally jealous that you have a writing nook. :)

Caitlin