Fragile

Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth, so that you have a genuine love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from a pure heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flowers of the field;the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”

And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.
— 1 Peter 1:22-25
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It hits me like a wave. That feeling of weightiness that goes something like this: 

This is your life. Don’t waste it. 

Your life on this earth has a beginning and it has an end and if you’re reading this right now you’re right smack in the middle of it. 

There was a point this week where I felt like I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. Not because I was breaking any rules or using stealthy ninja skills that we all know I don’t have. But because I, in and of myself, did not feel like I deserved it.

It was one of those moments that was bigger than me. Has that ever happened to you? Where you find yourself in the middle of a situation you know only the grace of God achieved. I just keep thinking, "Why, God? Why?" 

Why would He do this for me? Why would He choose me for this? And then, why would He choose me for what's to come? Because if this moment is blowing me away I can't even fathom what He's got up His sleeve for me next. 

There are always two things I feel in moments like those: fragility and gratitude. 

Fragility because life is a vapor and sometimes we get glimpses of how exposed we really are. 

Gratitude because I know that I am fragile but I am also deeply and intimately cared for by a sovereign Father God who holds me together by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).

The same eternal word that stands forever is the same word that holds together my fragile life. 

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I want to encourage you to do things that feel risky for a cause that is bigger than you. You know why you can? Because you are loved. You are completely loved by the Creator of the Universe. Everything that’s of worth is found in Him and guess where we, as Christ followers, reside? In Him. (Colossians 2:10

I don’t fully understand the nuances of this union. What I know is that it is so, and it is beautiful. And realizing that we belong to Him releases within us a freedom to feel the weight of our fragility and the immense gratitude that comes along with it. 

Our only other option is fear.

But ultimately, aren't most of our fears just our excuses? Let’s just admit that when we say we're afraid what we're really saying is we value whatever we’re afraid of losing over whatever God has called us to do. Be it status, title, or material possessions, if our identity is not secure in who we are loved by and found in, then our identity will be wrapped up in lesser, more fallible things. 

My prayer lately has been, “Let my life have a far greater impact for your glory than it ever could by living on my own terms”. 

God can exponentially increase the impact of our lives for His Kingdom. But we can’t do it ruled by fear. 

We are complete and secure in Him and we have to live from that place, because then and only then will we experience the freedom to LOVE with authenticity and SERVE with sincerity - not preoccupied by who sees us or what anyone thinks of us. 

That’s the kind of thing that draws people to Jesus. And that's why we're here. 

 

 

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Conquering Worry

I’m gonna get straight to the point because we all do it. 

We worry. 

Worry, however, is a deception, since it never really solves any problems, it only appears to. 

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The Common Ways of Worry

Most worry creeps in because we lack the faith that God is able to perform what He says He will. 

He says He will never leave us, nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). But, in our lack of trust, we become mentally preoccupied with where we have failed to believe God. And in the failure of that trust, we simultaneously enlist ourselves as ambassadors of our own problems. 

What I mean is, when we worry, we take our problems on all by ourselves. We own them. Only, they actually end up owning us, because let’s be honest, action and worry are really two separate things. Its not like saying, “Oh, I need some eggs.” So, you go to the store and buy some eggs. Or to say, “Hey, someone left the water running.” So, you turn it off. No, worry stems from that powerless feeling you get when you wish you could prevent something bad from happening. Now, there’s no guarantee that this bad thing will happen. Like getting struck by lightning (the odds of which are 1 in 700,000), it will probably never happen. But for some, just knowing that the possibility exist is enough. 

Despite the fact that this issue can or will likely have any effect on you, the mental preoccupation remains. This is worry. It’s pretending to solve a matter by asserting effort towards a problem that ultimately, you can’t do anything about. I wish I could ____________________, you might say, but you can’t. So, you worry. 

Worry is feigned control. 

You imagine that you’re accomplishing something on behalf of the problem you’re concerned for, when in fact, you’re actually doing nothing. You’re worrying. Sure, you can pretend that your in control, but if you really were, you wouldn’t be worrying would you? 

And now, the problem is yours in it’s entirety. You’re consumed and eaten up by a hypothetical world of “what ifs” and maybes. You’re drowned by a ceaseless slurry of thoughts that give credence to situations which will probably never happen. “What if my child marries the wrong person?” a parent might say. “What if my dad loses his job? What will my family do?” a kid might say. “What will we eat? Where will we live? How will we manage?” 

So, the pattern continues in an endless, onslaught of slamming thoughts, envisioning whatever self-conjured hell might come raining down on you at any any moment. 

 

Want the Truth?

Worry is stupid.

No, really. It’s a mental deposit on a problem that doesn’t presently exist. 

Worse yet, worry is predicated upon fear, motivated by the potential for loss.

 

And yes, I’ll say it again, this fear of loss stems from a lack of trust in God. 

When you worry, you fail to trust that God is as capable to care for you as He says He is. 

But remember, just because the potential exist for something to happen, doesn’t mean it’s actually happened. When you give power to hypothetical situations, you’re actually surrendering your control to everything THAT HASN’T HAPPENED. There’s a greater likelihood that it won’t ever happen. 

In fact, in the menagerie of everything that could happen, only one thing is actually going to take place. 

And whether you can or can’t control it, it’s most likely beyond your control anyway.

When you make yourself the solver of all of your own problems, you’re saying “I’m in control. I can manage it. I can solve this and I intend to do this all by myself.” 

You’re stepping into pride…and pride is sin. 

Well, how do you like that? 

You’ve put yourself in the driver's seat to solve what you know you can’t, and now it’s eating at you from the inside out like some proper disease of the mind. Meaning to resolve the matter, you’ve fallen into sin in the process. 

 

Helping Your Worry

“But all I wanted to do was help,” you might say.

If REALLY want to help yourself, learn to pray. 

Seriously, that’s the solution?

Trust God. Have faith. He is supreme. He is greater than your problem. And you can start, by offering the situation to Him. 

God isn’t asking you to battle the cares of this world on your own. He commands that we surrender our worries to Him.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care (anxiety) upon Him, for He cares for you.
— 1 Peter 5:6-7
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
— Matthew 11:28-29
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
— Matthew 6:25-34

Imagine a stack of paper and that each piece of paper in that stack is like a thought in your head. 

With each piece, you have one of two options: you can keep the piece of paper or you can assign it a new owner. 

If you keep it, it’s yours to own. Do with it what you will, but it’s there. It’s yours. 

Give it away and you’ve freed up some space. 

Your thought life is much the same. 

Your brain is full of thoughts…good, bad, and everything in between. 

You’re free to choose and think on whatever you like, but eventually, your brain is gonna start to feel full. 

Prayer is the opportunity to sign over the right of each preoccupying thought in surrender to God. 

You have a choice: keep your worry or give it to God. 

Own your anxiety or lay it before Him. 

Survive with your apprehension or enjoy the freedom you’ve been granted. 

 

Because this worry…yeh, it’s killing you. 

And you, well, you’re making the rest of us miserable in the process. 

 

So, stop. Now.

 

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