For the most part of my Christian life I always had this notion that being Christian meant having a harder life. It meant that you could no longer succumb to temptations and claim ignorance when caught. I now had to accept and confront the consequences of all my actions and live with them.
But, that was before I started living the “real” life. You know, when you’re still in college and all your stress comes from being broke because you partied too much, or you’re not able to afford that hot pair of shoes, or because your heart got broken by the guy you thought you were going to marry.
Please don’t think that any stress is different than the other. Or that those problems weren’t real problems. I think stress is real when YOU feel it. If you feel it, it’s real stress and it comes from real problems. They are just your problems at that moment, and you can’t compare them to anyone else’s.
Now that I’m living the “real” life (my version of it), married to the handsomest man in the whole, wide world (except for Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch or Harvey Specter of course…sorry Juan, you can have Ms. Charlize to make it up) I’ve gained a new perspective on the Christian life. Having Jesus doesn’t make like harder. On the contraire, IT IS SO MUCH EASIER!
So, why did I think it was harder back then? It was because of me. Yep. I made it harder. WE make our own lives hard. Sometimes we make life harder because we take the wrong decisions, choose the wrong paths. And sometimes, when life just hits us out of nowhere like a ton of rustic bricks or subway tile (I just learned that from Chip and Joanna Gaines, ha!) we make it hard by being tough on ourselves, by holding on to that thing that we should just let go. We work, work, work (yes, I know what you’re singing right now) and expect a different outcome when it’s already out of our hands. We take situations and problems out of God’s hands and try to work them out ourselves.
We’re basically being toddlers who want to teach our parents how to tie a shoe. Now, I don’t have kids,(yet…in the name of Jesus) but I have plenty nieces and nephews and boy can they be stubborn…and cute, of course cute. Can you imagine your toddler telling you that the way you’re going about the bunny rabbit ears and loops is all wrong and that they could do it better? HA! So, as the gracious parent I imagine you are, you say, “Sure baby, try it out yourself.” And you watch at that poor baby trying and trying, and going about it the wrong way time, after time, after time. “If only he’d let me do it, we could be out and about in no time,” you think to yourself.
Picture that scene up in heaven. God is our Father, and He’s graciously letting us “have at it” with our daily struggles. He knows that He has the right way, or the solution, but He’s patiently waiting for us to just hand it over, give up, surrender and say, “I’m yours Father. This is yours. Help me.”
I run a small business. That sentence, is H E A V Y. For all you entrepreneurs, business owners, you know what that entitles. It becomes what you eat, what you drink, what you dream of, what you sleep. And when there are struggles, you just can’t seem to clock-out at 5:00pm and go home and deal with it the next day. Nope. They follow you, everywhere.
My small business hasn’t been doing so well. Summer is a very slow season for a fish market, and somehow, this summer was pretty sad. So, come Fall, when everybody is back in the college town where we’re at, I’m all pumped up that we might get back on our feet quickly. But, this year that hasn’t been the case. We’re behind a substantial amount of payments with our main vendor, a few on rent and a few on some advertising.
For weeks, I have been focusing on how to get more money to pay off our gracious vendors who have had tremendous amounts of patience with us. Nothing came to mind. I would wake up and think of that number owed, I would drive to work and have that burden on my shoulders. I would drive home and feel helpless. I can’t count the amount of tears of desperation shed, the bitter woman I became for days (God Bless my husband) and how focused I was on the “problem”.
Then, one day, two magical things happened. I know you’re expecting to hear I won the lottery and paid off all the bills. No, I did not. I still have those bills outstanding. But, a new song from Natalie Grant came out called King of the World. I will not put the entire set of lyrics here but, this is my favorite part:
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world?
I try to take life back right out of the hands of the king of the world
How could I make you so small
When you’re the one who holds it all
When did I forget that you’ve always been the king of the world
WOW. God speaks to us in amazing ways, and when He touches your heart, it melts. My heart melted that day (Thank you KSBJ radio!) and I understood once more that He was in control and I just needed to keep on working hard and trusting in Him and all would fall into place.
The next thing that happened was reading the book (in my case, listening to the audiobook) of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ story. You know, from the show Fixer Upper from HGTV. Their life, their journey…I tell you, everybody has a story to tell. And if everybody told their life story while looking back at all God has done for each one, we’d all be eternally inspired. If you want to be inspired READ THIS BOOK called The Magnolia Story.
God spoke to me with music and He spoke to me with inspiration. He told me to stop learning as I go and start reading the manual, His word. And that, was enough for me to let go.
I’m teaching myself to talk about my blessings, and less about my problems. I’m learning to thank God for every, single customer that comes in my store. I’m learning to see every customer as a child of God and not just someone that walks in looking to buy seafood. I’m learning that I can bless everyone that comes into my life if I just decide to. I’m learning to be unselfish. I’m re-learning how to BE a Christian.
My debt is still my debt, and my problems will come and go. But my head and my heart are in a new, refreshed place now. And I remind myself every day:
God is STILL the KING OF THE WORLD.