If you had to summarize your life in one nutshell sentence, what would you say? Perhaps you would talk about your background, schooling, and degree. You might mention family. Some would talk about career. Others would reflect on additional things they cherish. You might talk about very real struggles that have changed your life. Boiling life down to one statement is hard. But if you had to do it, what would you say?
Life is filled with many great experiences. Yet, it is also peppered with sad things. Tragedy, disappointment, and even betrayal pierces into every person’s life at some point. You may have already experienced your share of upheaval. Whether from your own choices, someone else’s choices, or just because we live in a fallen world, most people find their life turned upside-down sometime in their journey. Very few people escape this tragic experience. Perhaps you are there now. So, what do you do when life completely up-ends you?
God loves you so much. Christmas is His way of proving it. He became a person just like you. God-in-a-Baby grew up in this challenging world, now so different from how He created it. Baby Jesus entered shattered creation to become a Savior. He says, “Look! I am making everything new.” (Rev. 21:5) He invites you to trust Him for this “new” in daily details, disappointments, tragedies and sorrows, and in losses that cannot be fixed. Jesus is the prize of Christmas because He is the only one who can help.
Did you know your choices about thankfulness reflect your relationship with God? They reveal your level of commitment and love back to God. They measure your trust in Him. And they determine whether you will follow through in 2 things: obeying Him and resting in Him. All these show how much gratitude you have and what kind of perspective you live with daily.
If thankfulness tells this much about you from your inside out, what can you do to get more of it? And how do you live unafraid to show who you really are?
Years ago when I was a teenager, I heard a song that touched my heart. The words of the chorus went like this –
“All He wants is you. No one else will do. Not just a part – He wants all of your heart. All He wants is all of you. All He wants is you!“
And no one sang that song like Frank! Tears ran down his face as he poured out his heart and this song into the listening ears of the teens at summer camp.
How do you increase your faith when you realize you don’t seem to have enough? How do you dare to leap from where you are to where you need to be?
Apparently, it is impossible to please God without faith! (Heb. 11:6) In other words, there is no other way you can please God and build a meaningful relationship with Him without faith.
Magical Ingredient blog article presented faith as essential to your life. Honestly, this article needs to be taken one step deeper.
What happens if you don’t think you have any of that magical ingredient – faith? You know . . . when you realize that without faith, you lose in life and you don’t please God? That’s a real bummer. What do you do to increase your faith?
Depression and Pain are cousins. Sometimes they come visiting . . . and linger too long as your “guests.” More often, they feel like predators. As much as you want them OUT, you feel helpless to make them leave. You cannot shake the depression. Or perhaps it’s the pain, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, mental. So, instead you find yourself asking questions like:
- Why is this condition present?
- Why won’t it leave?
- What have I mismanaged that this continues?
- Am I being punished?
- Why do I have to live with circumstances I would never wish on anyone?
Life is hard. Broken. It wears you down and tears your heart up. By the time you get half way through your life, if not before then, you are stunned at the wear and tear of this world. With your heart broken and your strength well stretched out of shape, you realize, “It’s not going well. Life is not what I hoped it would be. I’m so tired. I am broken into pieces, scattered about, dry, empty.” When you are in this place, what do you do? How do you gather yourself back up and come together again?