Monday, August 25, 2014

Why I Follow....

My best friend since I was 8, Miss CD, challenged me via Facebook (so this will be shared there as well), to explain why I love Jesus.

It could be very simple - pastor's daughter, pastor's wife, grew up in the church.....
But that's kind of the easy way out.
So hold on, because this will be a bit of a read.  Got your coffee (or, you know, pepsi)? Ok, let's go.

First, to really understand why someone follows Jesus, why they love God the way they do, you have to understand where they come from.

I'm kind of controlling. I like to make sure things are done just a certain way, the way I want it done. And so that makes me a tiny bit of a perfectionist, but not really, because I don't always care enough to make everything perfect (confused yet? So am I). Controlling. Check.
And I really want everyone to like what I do and approve of me and be amazed by the events I plan. Needy. Check.
And my family is the most important thing in my life. If I let them down, I've let everyone down.  I need their love and affection, I need to support them (so that someone needs me), and I need to make sure things are done just right just for them. Which means if I feel like I've failed, that I've disappointing them, well, that's pretty much the depths of failure right there. Disappointing my family (especially my dad and husband).
Loyal and hovering and scared of failure? Check, check, check.

Mr. Curly recently informed me my life was ruled by fear.  Yep, fear that I will fail and disappoint him.  Fear that I won't be a good enough wife, a good enough mom, a good enough help mate or church worker or supporter.....

I read a sign once that said "Anxiety (or depression or a nervous break down or something like that) isn't a sign of being too weak, but rather having been strong too long."
I get that. I get being to the point where you're stretched too thin that you just can't take one more single thing.

A year ago I started taking celexa for anxiety and panic attacks.  I was having panic attacks at absolutely random and increasingly frequent times. Putting my kids to bed? Panic attack. Traffic jam on a trip? Panic attack. Crowded restaurant? Panic attack. Walking through Walmart? Panic attack.
Mr. Curly figured out pretty quick that giving me a little bit of control (letting me drive through the traffic jam, pass out the food in a crowded place or just make a decision without asking anyone) could at least slow down the descent into hyperventilation.
But then it got to where it physically hurt to hug my kids. And I was sad all the time.  Just blah. Just no desire to even try because I was going to fail. I couldn't control all the stressful things around me, so why even try? And why was everybody wanting to talk so loud and touch me all the time?!?!
So I went and saw my doctor and got a little pill.

Things got better pretty fast. (For those who care, I'm now on a 'weaning off the pill' regime, we'll see how it goes).

But that is me. Controlling, anxious, needy, dependent on family, and yeah, sometimes my sense of humor can lean towards the stupid (but that's not such a bad thing).

I've always known Jesus. I don't remember being saved, I just always followed Jesus. I do remember at 17 realizing that I had to have my own personal relationship with Christ, that I needed to say it, that I needed to make it real, and not rely on my parents faith anymore.
It was a huge step, even for a goody-two-shoes who had always known Christ.

I've made mistakes. Too many to count. I made some big ones this morning.
I've blamed God for things that were my fault. I've doubted He knew what He was doing.
I've hurt people.

But Jesus loves me anyway.
He gives me peace when I seek Him.
He gives me chances to try again, instead of saying "Sorry, you've messed up too much, just let me do it."
In fact, when I ask for forgiveness for stumbling in sin, He forgets it ever happened.
You can disappoint God, I've done it. But when I confess, He forgets it. Clean slate, new chance. No more disappointment, or anything to live down.

Starting at age 17 my favorite verse has been 1 Kings 3:9 "Give your servant a discerning heart... to distinguish between right and wrong."
For the past year I've been memorizing, and teaching my children, Philippians 4:4-9
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, bring your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Life is not easy. Christ came to bring us life more abundant - as I've said before, higher highs, lower lows.  Life gets pretty low sometime. I know. I've been there. In fact, this morning was a pretty low point and I'm not out of it yet. But I know that no matter how low I go, Jesus has been in the depths of hell and has risen to the heights of heaven. He has conquered all. And if He is with me in the depths, He will raise me up to the heights.
I ran across this verse this morning, Haggai: 2:4-5 (condensed, which means, I cut some out): Be strong, all you people of the land,' declares the Lord, 'and work. For I am with you,' declares the Lord Almighty. 'My Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.'

God is always with me. Always. Period. There is no time when He is not here, not waiting for me to turn to Him. I have no reason to worry, to be anxious. The anxiety I face is a chemical imbalance that needs some help. It's a body thing. But in my spirit, in my soul, I can rest calmly in God's hands, knowing no matter what I do, He forgives, He forgets. He loves.

And that's why I love Him.

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