It seemed like everything fell apart in one day. I went for a run that morning. I was so excited to start my day off on the right foot with exercise. I was already winning that day over. I was only 10 minutes into my run when I experienced dizziness. I completely lost my sense of balance and my hearing in my right ear.
This wasn’t the first time I experienced this. In fact it is something that has followed me for the past 4 years. It has become a physical symptom from the amount of stress I am under. But what was I stressed about in this moment?? I was happy and running. That doesn’t sound stressful at all (well…to me at least. I know some people find that stressful).
I propped myself up on a wooden post that was nearby to wait for the symptoms to pass. As I waited impatiently, in my head, I cussed and threw a fit. I was mad that things were not going my way. I was already running late and knew that would make me rush later. I was upset that I wouldn’t have time to read my bible like I wanted to.
Maybe this was an opportunity to choose God over my own plans? So I did. I cut my run short to read my Bible. I thought I had fixed things and made God happy. That because I did something, He would be content with me. I checked that off my list of things to do today.
The rest of my day went into a downward spiral. I had a very hectic day at work, my boyfriend and I were fighting because of my attitude, I felt utterly alone, and pretty much anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I had a pretty sour attitude about it and made it known to the world.
I felt helpless. If you could see my emotions in a physical sense it would be a person who was tripped, stomped on, kicked, and left aching with no one to help me.
I just craved to have some kind of control in my life. I already lost control over what is served for dinner every night, where I sleep, my career (I can’t just say “I quit” on deployment), when I can see my loved ones, I lost everything about me on the outside. I asked God,
“Why do you keep taking things away from me?”
The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”
– William Booth
In Jon Tyson’s book, “The Burden Is Light”, (Let me just say – If I could I would just post the entire book I would. You just have to go read it yourself! It’s gold!)
When we demand that we control how our life goes, we stop depending on God or trusting him. Jon says, “We fall into the trap of thinking that if we are good enough, or follow rules or formulas carefully enough, we can coerce the Almighty into doing our will.”
When I got divorced I had that exact mindset. I told myself:
- If I prayed more God would of saved my marriage
- If I tithed God would of saved my financial situation
- If I gave my husband one more shot, God would have changed him.
This mindset wasn’t just secluded to my marriage, but other areas of my life too. If I do X, God will do Y for me. “Seeking to control God…cuts at the heart of our faith… the goal of our faith is to enjoy the intimate relationship with him.”
Honestly when I read this, it baffled me. The relationships I had with men were never out of unconditional love or intimacy (and when I say intimacy, I do not mean sex. I am talking about closeness and unity). They wanted something from me and if I wanted something from them, I had to do something in order to deserve it.
This hits the big question as a perfectionist:
How could God be just content with having a relationship with me? No strings attached? I really dont have to do anything?
In the Gospel of John, Jesus feds 5000 people, leaves, and the 5000 follows him to Capernaum.
“Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, you have been searching for Me, not because you saw the signs (attesting miracles), but because you ate the loaves and were filled.” – JOHN 6:26
Jesus points out how they only want to be around him because of what he did instead of who he is.
“We love each other because he loved us first” 1 John 4:16
“…for the Father himself loves you dearly…” John 16:27
When we truly love someone, we want to spend time with them. I would even go as far as saying you probably don’t care what you do, as long as you are with that person, you are happy. That is because you enjoy who they are not the things they do for you. In this deployment, I am so thankful I have the technology to FaceTime those I love, however it is not the same as being physically there with them.
God isn’t content with your FaceTime relationship with him. He isn’t content with the once a week call from church that you give him. He wants you to share every part of your life with Him. Imagine if you only called your significant other once a week, what kind of relationship would you guys have? Barely one! There is no one you would have a thriving relationship off of communicating once a week.
“But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him” Galatians 1:15 NLT
But honestly even after reading about love, I still didn’t really believe it. I know God is a supernatural being and I can’t possible understand Him and His ways fully. However I still was thinking that even people you love do things for you, and that’s why you love them. Maybe that is because of my messed up perspective of what love is. I know this perspective might be different with parents, but again this is something that was very difficult for me to accept (the fact it sounds too simple or too good to be true). Then I read something that helps my perfectionist brain grasp this concept.
Before Jesus feds the 5000, he healed a man that had been sick for 38 years on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders were outraged about it and were trying to find any excuse to kill Jesus. Jesus at one point says to them:
“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life (Jesus is talking about the law). But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” John 5:39 NLT
I saw myself as one of the Jewish leaders in this verse. I desperately searched through “the law”. In today’s context that would be me using my achievements and my good deeds thinking that would make me fulfilled. I can find the right self-help book, I can volunteer enough hours, I can go to every single meeting, and that will make me happy (that will make me good enough). Most people who have that mentality are NOT happy. It is a high until you have to find the next high to get you by. In reality it is Jesus who gives us life and fulfills our deepest desires.
“Then they asked Him, “What are we to do, so that we may habitually be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.” – John 6:29 NLT
THAT IS ALL YOU HAVE TO DO????
Believe, trust, rely on, and have faith in Jesus. Says so right there. Done deal. Sold. Case Closed.
The one thing I love about God is that he meets you were you are at. I know I have a skewed view of what love is. I know as I walk with God he will show me and change my view on it, but he explained it in a way that I needed to understand. He will do that for you as well. So do not be upset if you cant quite grasp something yet. He is working in you.
So yes, God is just content with having a relationship with you and you dont have to do anything to work for grace. That is why he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die, so that he could have more than a FaceTime relationship with us. Because of Jesus, God can live with us in our heart and be a constant part of our life.