Who I Am in Christ
Have you ever wondered why me? Why is this happening to me, to my family, to the people I love? I used to be an extreme realist. I lived logically and sensibly, always searching for the answers to all my whys. The one question you learn and continually ask as a child never seems to leave as you get older. It is also the one question that God tends to not answer, at least not right away. It could be weeks, months, years, but usually more often than not, He doesn’t answer it at all.
There are situations and circumstances that we all face, and sometimes we never get to know why. I think it’s because we don’t really need to know. We only ask because we are afraid of the unknown, we don’t like not knowing, we believe that we’re good people, and we don’t deserve for bad things to happen to us. I know for me I don’t like the uncertainties, but the fact is life is uncertain, it is always changing. You never know the cards you’re dealt until you pick them up and look at them. And by then it’s too late to change the facts. The realities of what is, have already happened. All you can do is the best you can, with the life that you have right now.
I’ve been thinking about this the past couple of months and I think I’ve been asking the wrong question. Maybe I’m not getting an answer, because I’ve completely missed the mark. I’ve written the wrong question. Instead of asking why me, or why in general, maybe I should be asking why not me? Maybe instead of asking the why questions, I should be asking what am I suppose to learn from this, and what is it that I need to fix about myself? I’m not anywhere near a perfect person, I will always need to better myself, for God’s standards far outweigh anything I could possible achieve on my own.
Have you ever found yourself in a place looking outside your self for strength and confidence? Not knowing that it comes from within, and that it is there all the time? The world and what it has to offer is going die, it will not always be there. People are not always going to stay in your life forever, sometimes they are only meant to be there, for a season and once their purpose is over they’re gone in the blink of an eye, leaving nothing but memories and footprints on your heart that will forever change you. Instead, the strength and confidence to carry on comes from within, it is in us all the time. We cannot reach it on our own, we need Christ’s help. Through Him, we have all we need. He gives us the strength to carry on, the confidence to live despite the uncertainties. The faith, hope, and love that we need to live an abundant and joyful life comes from Christ.
Realist v.s. Optimist
I am not an extreme realist anymore. Due to circumstances I’m not going to mention, I have changed drastically. I’ve changed all for my benefit, all for the glory of God. So what have I turned into if I’m not an extreme realist? Believe it or not, I am an optimist. What better way is there to live life? Once being a realist I can honestly say that at times it can be depressing, at times I failed, ultimately because of my realist mentality.
Being a realist I gave God minimal opportunities to work in and through my life without even knowing it. If I’m a realist, is there really a place for God to work His power in my life? Logically there shouldn’t be. God’s power is unimaginable, it is unattainable by the human mind, and by living realistically I left myself with minimal opportunities for God to work in my life. As an optimist I allow God to work in more places of my life than He has ever had access to before. He’s able to come out of His box that I and the world put Him in and show His true power, His wholly sacrificial, undying love for me, and for the rest of the world.
Have you ever gone to church, sat through the sermon been convicted and went home thinking I’ve changed, I’m going to live differently, but days later realize that nothing has really changed? Thinking back, I feel like I’ve done that more often than not. What I said and thought was real, I wanted to change, I wanted to become a better person for myself and for God, but my heart wasn’t in the right place. I wasn’t ready to fully commit to a daily struggle of following Christ whole heartedly. With one hand I would praise Him and give my life to Him, but with the other I would draw into myself, and pull away from all that I wanted in Him. I would do well for awhile, but unless I made it a priority to follow Christ, to daily commit to intentionally live for Him, what was really going to change? Until I was aware of this fact, I couldn’t change. How can you possible change something, you don’t realize is broken?
God has been breaking my heart for the past couple of weeks. He has been teaching me and showing me just how big His world is. More than that, He’s shown me how much bigger my heart can be for His world, His people, ultimately for His kingdom. The breaking of my heart has been a huge part of the healing process for me as an individual. Not only has it taught me how to love in a new way, but it has taught me about the joy of everyday life with Christ, I’ve learned how to suffer well, and to trust completely in God. My faith has changed and has grown a whole new aspect that I’ve never had before.
Lesson From 1 Samuel 1:1-3
Recently I dove into a manuscript study of 1Samuel 1-3, with one of the greatest manuscript leaders ever. Reading through 1Samuel was life changing for me. Hannah’s faith was so deep and real, Christ was able to change those around her through her faith. I connected with Hannah on a level I’ve never done with any other bible character. She went through years of trials and pain. Yet when she had Samuel and had to give him up she was joyful. She rejoiced even though she had to give up her only son. How is that possible?
I believe it’s because she chose to strengthen her relationship with God. God gave her Samuel, therefore, she was blessed with Samuel and devoted him to God. That was her promise to the Lord, and she kept it. She can rejoice in that, because she survived her pain, she outlasted her suffering. Instead of running from God she ran towards Him, and He gave her everything she needed. She grew in her relationship with Him and He became the center of her life. God and joy are intertwined. You cannot have one without the other. It just is not going to happen. She can rejoice, because despite all the pain she went through, she made it. With God she over came her trials, and is now in a better place than she was when she started. The joy that’s in her heart is there because she lives with God and He lives in her.
The same joy that Hannah is experiencing I’m experiencing right now. Not because of any conference that I went on, or any character I connected with, but because I have found the real meaning of a relationship with Christ. He is my foundation, the center, and all that I am. Without Christ I am nothing, but with Him I have everything I will ever need. He alone is sufficient for me.
Happiness Through My Suffering:
I went through what some people consider the worst possible thing ever, was it really? No it wasn’t. Honestly, I would say that I’ve been through worse and that this recent hardship won’t be the last “terrible” thing that ever happens to me. Yes, I’m still hurting and I don’t enjoy it, but I’m learning things that I would never have learned if it weren’t for this hardship. It was because of this trial that I realized how broken I actually was. How much I needed Christ in my life. This trial was not a hardship, but a blessing that I thank God for everyday. It's because of this painful experience that I could learn to love again, to truly love with a heart like God's.
For me, these lessons are life changing, and I view this trial as a blessing. Would I go back and change things if I could? Probably not, because without this trial I wouldn’t get to learn these wonderful beautiful lessons that God had and still has coming for me. Yes I would have preferred to learn them a different way, but maybe this was the only way for God to teach me. If I would have known this was going to happen would I go back and change time, that’s hard to say. I believe everything happens for a reason, so if I were going to go back and change things so I wouldn’t have to deal with this trial, I’d have to go back a long ways, and I am unwilling to do that. I lived that once, there’s no reason to live it again. Learn, forgive, move on, and live with no regrets. That’s my mentality of this recent trial.
Who Are We Not...
Who am I that the Lord of all the Earth would care about me, would care to know my name, the number of hairs on my head, about my trials, pain, and suffering? Who are we not, for Him to care? He loved us before we were created. He thought about each and every one of us as He sent His only Son to die for our sins, so that He could live with us again. We are His beloved children and nothing we do can make God love us any less. His love is unchanging, everlasting, and unconditional. We are all His favorites, and He wants us to enjoy a life with Him and His Son.
My face holds an everlasting smile. It’s one of true beauty, and joyful praise. I smile because I have over come, because when I look in the mirror I no longer see what the world sees. My mirror is not cracked, stained, shattered, or broken anymore. It does not reflect what the world or my own eyes can see; in fact it reflects just the opposite. My mirror shines with the light of Christ. I see myself the way Christ see’s me; His beautiful child whom He loves, His beloved daughter, who in His sight is most precious.
Living For Christ
This doesn’t mean that life with Christ is going to be filled with joy all the time. In fact Christ says just the opposite. Living a life for Christ is hard, I constantly find myself fighting against the world. Being tested, just to see if what I have is truly real. So how can I still be joyful? I can, because I choose to be. I know that God does not give me more than I can handle with His help. Through every hardship there is a great lesson to be learned. I’ve learned mine, and believe that I will probably learn more as I finish growing through this time. The difference is my mentality; I’ve learned to suffer well and to rejoice in the small things. Christ is the center of my life, He is everything for me. With Christ in the center, I have nothing to fear.
To live freely, is to live a life for Christ. To love as Christ loves is life changing. Be who God has called you to be. Do not live by the standards of this world, it will only let you down. Instead, live for Christ and find everlasting life. Find the true beauty and joy of living abundantly.
© 2011 Cholee Clay