Adulting and Hard Things

One of my favorite Jesus girls, Lisa Whittle posted something today that had me smacking my desk at work and nodding a big “uhh huh… yes ma’am” out loud. (I was on a distracted Instagram break… I know nobody ever does that.)

“Here’s what I’ve realized. People can do hard things without God. But we can’t do hard things without God and be truly ok. Eventually everything will crack and crumble.”

Isn’t that the truth. I’ve seen this little saying all over the place, maybe you have too:

“We can do hard things.”

True? Sometimes. I imagine this to be some kind of rally cry response to that other popular t-shirt catch phrase “Adulting is hard”.

Being a grown up is hard. It requires us to do crappy, difficult things at times. We can do it alone or with Jesus, it’s our choice.

That’s the beauty and hardship of it all I suppose, we get to choose to walk it alone or with His help. Whittle addresses this in her book, Put Your Warrior Boots On:

“Self-help talk that sounds good but isn’t exactly true is becoming more and more the encouragement of choice in this society. How we are enough, in and of ourselves… and I just want to weep because I know these things that are close are moving us farther from Jesus. The answer to all of this is not offering more creative ways to help people in this world feel good and strong; it is to effectively persuade them to follow God. People will never come to God if we keep telling them they can do it all themselves.”

We can be so close… yet so far off the mark. Maybe I’m just old now or too traditional, but I’ve never been drawn this raging individualism, I’m actually repelled by it. We just don’t want to rely on anyone or anything but ourselves, and the world sees that as a great thing. The new wave feminists have this down pat, girls must be brave and self-reliant. All the while, we are slaves to slaves to an image, money, approval, and worse.

For the believer, dependence isn’t weak, it’s necessary. His strength, working through us. The beauty of living in the power of the resurrection is that we’ve been given the freedom to not go it alone.

The teeny tiny Bible verse printed on that picture up top… “with God, all things are possible…” should be the first thing you see, not the afterthought. Things are possible, even the hard and difficult ones, but not because we make it so – because HE makes it so.

“Come to me, all 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

Sometimes the greatest thing I know to do for a friend who is hurting is not to hash out a solution to the problem, but point them to the One who I know has the solution. No need for fancy sayings or worrying about the pros and cons, just His strength working it all out through our weakness.

…that your faith should not be in the wisdom of me but in the power of God.” I Corinthians 2:5

Kneel, Roll and Be Free

camel_one_previous_owner4Photo courtesy: moxon.net

This post is about how to act like a camel, so bear with me for a moment.

Every once in awhile I come across a familiar verse and see it in a whole new way. There’s this little section in my Bible they call “word wealth” and it aims to reveal the true meaning behind certain words. The original meaning, from the Hebrew or Greek. What’s fascinating is that some of our English words just don’t cut it when it comes to understanding what God was conveying to us through His word. In the same way that Eskimos have several different words for what we just call ‘snow’, there are layers and meanings to our ‘ordinary’ words.

Here’s the verse, which we’ve probably all heard a few times:

“Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5

Commit your way. Words like dedicate and devote come to mind. If I commit my way to Him I’m making a kind of pledge or promise to follow Him. All good things.

Here’s what my Bible had to say on it that just was such a powerful picture to me:

commitgalal (gah-lahl) Strong’s #1556; To roll, roll away, remove. In this text the reader is encouraged to roll his works into God’s care. The picture is of a camel, burdened with a heavy load; when the load is to be removed, the camel kneels down, tilts far to one side, and the load rolls off.

Did you catch that? Read it again. We’ve all probably seen a camel kneeling down to drink or let someone off it’s back. It has to get down on it’s front legs and roll the load off it’s back.

Kneel. And roll.

This is such a simple and profound thing for me. We all have loads to carry. Some is just life responsibilities, like work or kids or marriage. We carry them everywhere we go. It’s our God-given ‘load’ and in the right context, it’s a joy to carry. On the other hand, we pick up things along the way that are simply backbreaking, things we aren’t meant to haul around.

Guilt. Disappointments. Old scores to settle. Resentment. Opinions of others. What a long list we can all make.

Is your back hurting? Is your spirit heavy? God is saying it’s ok to bend the knee and take a rest. Furthermore, after you’ve bent the knee, feel free to roll all that junk right off. Lighten your load. Get rid of it. Roll it AWAY from yourself and ONTO a God who can actually do something about it.

How very freeing. Remember what Jesus says to us:

“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. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28

Rest for your SOUL. I don’t know about you, but I desire that kind of rest. You know how you feel after a solid nights sleep? I imagine soul rest is even better and more important. It doesn’t mean the troubles disappear, it means though that they are off our backs. Rolled onto a Savior who willfully takes them. What is required of us? Kneeling and rolling. Pretty basic.

Ask God today what you need to roll off your back and onto Him. We aren’t required to walk around heavy-laden on the verge of collapse. It’s not heroic to be overburdened. Camels aren’t the most graceful of creatures I suppose, but neither are we when we are overwhelmed. Kneel down, awkward as it may be, and roll all that stuff off. I imagine we’d all walk a little lighter and straighter without a giant load weighing us down.

Blessings friends.