I want to be known for my blending of Grace and Truth exactly perfectly…
Unfortunately, I tend towards Truth naturally and really have to work on being better at HOW I say things.
And, in the spirit of honesty, one of my biggest struggles is learning how to blend Grace into my words to mitigate my natural leaning towards Truth in a way that reflects the Holy Spirit and Jesus well.
You see, I believe that one of the biggest tricks the devil uses against us is making us to feel like we are isolated. I think often many do not share openly their lives in a way that could be helpful to someone else because it is personal, private, and feels intimate… But, if we are alone, and if that thing we are struggling through is believed to be abnormal, if we are the only one, then clearly we are weak or there is something wrong with us…
I regularly find myself in conversations with people that allows for me to share my own story, struggles, and in a completely honest light offer them authentic encouragement because, after all, we are now in this struggle together.
Over the last few months, I have been given this amazing opportunity to share about my ministry/job with other churches around the country. Some of them were referred to me, others found my name and title (First Impressions Director) on our website, and others I am not entirely sure how they found me. But, I have gotten to talk to them, encourage their ministries, hearts, and share whatever information I could about how and what I do… As well as simply connect over our common bond of “overwhelmed but passionate” for our ministries.
One of the biggest things I have come to realize, regardless of the ministry, church size and even occupation, it needs to be said frequently:
What you are feeling, that’s normal.
It doesn’t really matter what you’re feeling:
Like you’re drowning,
AALLL of the feelings are normal, they are being experienced by someone else also in your same place trying to keep that same pace.
I have been asked SO many times, “How do you manage it all?”
And, my very real and honest answer:
Sometimes I handle it well, flawlessly, and feel energized!…
Aaand then other times, I find myself binge watching Netflix with a glass of wine and snacks, locked away in my room with my puppy for six hours. – Totally healthy coping mechanism 🙄
Sometimes my daily Jesus time is SO GOOD! Then all of a sudden I look up and it’s been TWO WEEKS and I’m not entirely sure where my Bible is even located.
Sometimes my journal and prayers are overflowing, and other times I just sit and stare blankly.
Sometimes I wake up looking forward to my day, having slept well and stoked about what I have planned. Other times I hit snooze until I’m late for work (sorry boss!) and have to bolt out the door without brushing my teeth (I promise I make up the work time)!
Sometimes I go to the gym and eat so well totally dominating the meal prepping for the week. Other times I can’t even remember the last time I ate something other than fast food.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the love and joy for my job and life. Other times I am just overwhelmed with a heavy and discouraged heart.
Life is hard.
Following Jesus is hard.
Life and following Jesus are all real things, real struggles, authentic joys and sorrows, love and hate, anger and repentance. These are normal life things that so many try to hide or pretend are not a normal part of their lives. Why are we not highlighting the good, bad, beautiful and ugly as ENTIRELY normal?!
Some days we will feel ready to go and like we can conquer the world. Other days we will do all we can to merely survive the day.
So, Yes, it (whatever “it” is) is normal.
Don’t let the smiles, adventures, Instagrams, Facebook posts, snapchats or 30 second conversations of and with others fool you… We are all swinging back and forth on this pendulum of so good, and really just trying to survive the suck.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.”– 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Trust me, those feelings are normal, and experienced by others! Share your feelings with others, be honest, choose to help someone else see their feelings are normal and accepted too.