Today was weird, friends.
Until today, I haven’t really felt sad about the fact that I will be departing from the job I have held for over ten years now. Most of you who read this blog know by now that I talk a lot about feelings; how they are fickle; how they should not be what we rely upon; and how they can also just be a pain in the rear sometimes.
Yet, feelings can be good if they help us grow even more in our personal relationship with Christ. Even the not-so-feel-good kind of feelings can bring this glorious result about. It’s about keeping our eyes fixed upon Christ.
Today I have some of those less-than-pleasant feelings going on and rolling around inside of my head and heart. As I write this, My Lord is helping me to give them over to Him. I have been fighting against that all day long. Of course, like so very often happens with me, I didn’t realize I was even struggling to fully surrender until now.
See, I have found that quite frequently, we can experience great joy and great peace in the Lord even when we have the icky feelings floating around in there. It’s part of what we contend with as followers after Christ. If we didn’t experience such things, we’d just be a bunch of robots – heartless, and incapable of having a relationship with Him or anyone else for that matter.
So we get to have the feelings. And that means dealing with the whole spectrum of them too. We don’t get to choose to never feel the stuff that is less-than fun, and just keep the happy stuff locked up in a nice little box. Having feelings means we have them all. And then when we turn to the Lord to help us with the ones that are difficult, He grows us – He loves us – He teaches us, blesses us, and equips us to understand others and have more and more compassion for them. Most of all, His strength shines right through our weaknesses – bringing all the more glory to Him.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made
perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Today, I felt a bit cold, a little lonely, and a lot sad – like a little lost puppy. Although my last day at this job is not until Friday, today I felt like I was starting the process of walking away from relationships, friendships, and in some ways, what has been my second family for over ten years. I know I will remain friends with some of these wonderful people I have met over those years – but we all know all too well that it will not be the same. It’s part of life.
And despite the feelings, I know I am not alone – I know God is with me – so is my real family….the ones who matter most. I am entrenched in my wonderful church family, and those relationships are growing more and more each day. Yet I still felt that way today – that weird way. Not through and through, but it was there.
I felt like I was beginning to experience the sensation of being on the outside of it all, looking in. Like I was in the hallway outside of the door that I asked the Lord to help me close, yet I could still hear the party going on behind it. It is a party I was still invited to attend – so many of my friends there – celebrating, nurturing their relationships, and having a good time.
And I chose not to attend. Weird.
That’s a hard pill to swallow, feelings-wise. Yet I don’t regret it at all. It’s just still a little sad. I will miss my dear friends there. This made me feel momentarily alone. But then I remembered – like the wallpaper post that’s going around on facebook says right now – I have Jesus is in the hallway with me – I am praising Him….worshipping Him….loving Him. I am relying upon Him.
PLUS, I have a place to go, friends. I have my wonderful family to care for, and a beautiful role to play within my church. How much better does it get than that?
I think often of Paul when he spent time in prison – how often he was alone by earthly standards. But he never was. He always carried Jesus with him. I think that sometimes we need to experience such things to remember who will be the One and Only that will be with us forever and ever more, don’t you?
Have you ever felt the way that I felt today? Where you made a choice to move away from something that wasn’t necessarily “bad” to embark upon a new adventure that the Lord is starting for you in life? Have you ever been in that circumstance in which you know it is the right thing to do, yet you feel a bit lost and disoriented because you are leaving all that is known for something that doesn’t seem certain? Yet you know – you know you are supposed to do it – you even want to and feel privileged to do it – you no longer have reservation about doing it – but you still feel a bit sad. Sad through even the blessing of it all.
If so, please take heart, just as I am doing in the Lord right now. Because He has promised to never leave us. He has promised that He wants to use us to bring about glory to Him. If we have accepted the gift of salvation in Christ Jesus, He promises that no matter what, we will be with Him in all eternity – never alone. And if you haven’t accepted this awesome gift, do so today! He loves you dearly. He is waiting.
For those of us who have chosen Christ as our Savior, these times like I experienced today remind us that great things are brought about when we choose to focus upon Him as we follow after what He is calling us to do. We get to know with no doubt that He is with us even in the momentary periods of cold or sad or loss. It’s about whether we decide to let the sad outweigh the joy – the real and true joy that He fills us with that is not contingent on our fickle feelings of the day. We can focus on all that still seems blurry, or keep our eyes fixed upon the clarity that we have in Christ.
Today I accept that I feel a bit sad. I trust that the Lord has a reason for allowing me to have those silly and pesky feelings from time to time. I have seen Him do wonders with such things before – many, many times.
And I realize this: He can handle even that for me. He can keep my vision straight even in the midst of the confusion and blurriness as well. He can do it in the midst of my sad. He can do it in the midst of my excitement. He can do it in anything at all. He can do it for me, and He will do it for you.
We don’t have to understand it. But we do need to believe it. And that gives us peace, friends…. just like Paul talked about. It’s the kind of peace that only comes from God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts
and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV
Yes, it was a weird day. But God is not confused. And we are not alone if we have invited Him into our life and accepted the gift that He offers us through Jesus Christ, His son. Not ever.
He’s with us in the weird. He’s with us in the sad. He’s with us in the blurry, the confusing, and the cold. He’s with us in the joy. He’s with us in the new. He’s with us in the unknown, the excitement, and the mixed up muddy mess of it all. And He makes it beautiful. He puts it all into focus – in His perfect timing.
Our God? Our Mighty God? He can do all things! Let’s trust Him to do so. And then, let’s move out of the way and just walk where He tells us to – whether He tells us to take one step at a time, or take it in leaps and bounds.
It may sometimes feel like we are on the outside of the party – lost, left out, whether by choice or not. But at the end of the day, who is the One who will be with us no matter what? Who is the One who has the ultimate party planned for us in heaven – one that will last for all eternity – one that we cannot even begin to imagine in relation to how awesome and great it shall be? I’m up for that party. Are you?
He is the One who has promised He will never leave us or forsake us. That is Jesus Christ, our Lord.
And HE…..HE is our focal point. In everything. Even the not-so-feel-good feelings.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the
joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the
right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NIV