Okay, I’m going to be super real with you all and paint you a picture about where I’ve personally been the past month: If my relationship with Jesus and my walk in faith was a destination on a map, I would currently be driving the ‘struggle bus’ trying to reach that stop.
Now, let me give you some backstory as to why I’m wanting to write about this, because most people don’t typically jump at the chance to publicly discuss their struggles and shortcomings.
In the past month I’ve had a few things happen that brought me to this point. First, I had someone give me recognition for being a person who displays the “joy of Jesus”. Second, I had someone tell me how they wish they had my life because it’s “perfect”. Third, I had someone tell me how pretty they think I am. Most of you are probably thinking that those are all nice compliments and there shouldn’t be an issue with any of that. Well, I had the same exact internal response to each of these compliments – “why?” – and it was my internal response to these compliments that made me realize I wasn’t in a good place with my walk of faith.
So, here are my real responses to the comments I just shared with you:
1. There have been countless times when I felt so much joy in Jesus and had no problem displaying that. Lately, not so much. And, if people have seen joy in me recently, it was probably me trying to seem okay. I’m someone who gets so wrapped up in the things surrounding me and I allow stress and outside forces to determine my joy that should come from the Lord and my relationship with Him. However, I absolutely fall short of allowing myself to be taken over by the joy of knowing Jesus. I mean seriously, what could possibly bring me more joy than knowing the Savior who loves me deeply more than anything? By letting the world in, I kick Jesus out.
2. My life is nowhere near perfect. Life is crazy, marriage is hard, and even the mundane becomes difficult. We struggle with selfishness, money, time, and so much more. Does my life look good from the outside? Probably – I’ve been blessed with far more than I deserve. Is that really what our life is like all the time? No. The only thing we know is perfect is Jesus and that we choose to put him in the center of our marriage and our life together. I don’t want to be the kind of person that only displays my life “highlight reel” to the point where people believe the lie that I have a life that doesn’t really need Jesus because that’s CRAZY. I need Jesus every second of every day because I’m a broken sinner that can’t do it on my own. I want to display how Jesus works in our imperfect lives.
3. Every girl and woman loves to be called pretty, it feels nice. But, do you know when it doesn’t feel nice? When you don’t believe it yourself. I 100% struggle every single day to truly see myself through the eyes of God. In His Word He tells me He loves me and created me in His image. He tells me I’m treasured. The Creator of the universe says I’m a beautiful jewel – yet when I look in the mirror I allow myself to forget that and look at my image through my acne scars and long-gone basketball body. I allow the eyes of the world to be more important than the eyes of my Savior.
Now, the good part about all this – Jesus heals all of it. I guarantee there’s someone reading this blog right now who struggles with one of the things I mentioned, and that’s why I wanted to share this. This past week I had an emotional breakdown moment and blurted all this out to my husband (bless him) and he had a very gracious response. He simply asked me when the last time I truly spent time with Jesus was. With that question it was clear that I had taken Jesus from the forefront and placed him where it was convenient.
Sharing these personal struggles is not an easy thing to do, but I know that someone may be touched if they see Jesus in the words he has graciously provided me. I chose the tagline of my blog – realizing brokenness; receiving grace – for a reason. I chose it because that’s what our relationship with Jesus is; it’s realizing that we are broken and weak people who need our Savior, and he provides us with grace on top of grace in our weakness and our struggles.
Jesus forgives and provides healing to those who truly confess and seek it. I fully know who I am in him, but I allow the world and life to intervene and that causes me to lose sight of the Truth. When I stay focused on him and the relationship he wants with me I feel the joy and peace that he provides. I want you all to know it’s okay to struggle. Our Savior already knew how much we would falter when he chose to die for us – that’s love, and that shows how much he desires a relationship with us. God wants to hear us. He wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to talk to Him in the good, the bad, the unsure, the difficult, the amazing, and the mundane. We can’t do this on our own, and God sent His Son so that we don’t have to.
To my friends and readers who feel like you aren’t good enough or feel like you’re failing, or even feel like you’re stuck in your walk with Jesus – TALK to him. Spend time with Him. I don’t say this just because I know it’s what God’s Word says and it’s what we’re supposed to do. I say this because I know how much I fall apart without it and how much peace and joy I feel when I am focused on that relationship with Him. I am in this walk with you. I am failing and stumbling just as you are. You are never too broken, too stuck, too lost, or too far from where you should be in your walk to be out of reach for Jesus. He doesn’t care what you’ve done, or how far you’ve fallen away. You are still wanted and loved by him. He wants you because of those things. Jesus seeks us, so let’s seek him in return.
“I could search down here
for the rest of my life
and this one thing is all that I’d find –
That only You can fill my heart
the way You do
Only You can take what’s worn
and make it new
So take all these broken dreams
and petty things
Replace them with something that’s true
I’ll take them replace them with You.” — Only You by Hawk Nelson
Here is my challenge to you, and to myself: Spend time with Jesus every single day in prayer and in the Bible for one week. At the end of the week, sit down and write the difference in the way you feel.
Your sister in Christ – kayley jean, a wife redeemed