This is a long one guys, a real heart spill, so I hope you stick with me.
Yesterday J and I were sitting on the couch, and as I started sharing my heart with him tears came to my eyes. I think, in general, my heart needed a release that I’d been fighting for days, and he was gracious like always. I shared how out of step I feel lately, fighting indifference and weariness, being unmotivated and passion-less about things. I don’t want to put all of these feelings on the back of this neck injury, but it is the reason for changes in the past three months. I’m perpetually uncomfortable physically, running is out of the picture (a true enjoyment and stress reliever for me), and I feel bummed out emotionally.
I shared that I don’t feel like myself, that I don’t feel put together, and then finally admitted that I’m having trouble loving myself. For the sake of this conversation, let’s use the aspect of running. Running is a way for me to relieve stress, it’s a way for me to flesh out emotions building up inside, it’s a way for me to push myself and set goals, it’s a source of accomplishment and especially, confidence. Running is a part of my identity, and these past few months I’ve realized that too much of my worth rests on my ability to run. Since I can’t push myself in exercise like I wish, I don’t feel I’m at my best. I don’t feel confident, I don’t feel energized. I feel as if I’m lacking, and sometimes like I’m inadequate.
These feelings have then seeped into other areas of my life, especially my attitude. I’m unmotivated when it comes to work projects, cooking, keeping up our home, engaging with friends, etc. This is not a good feeling, friends; maybe you’ve felt this way before. I’ve let myself fall into a trap that because I can’t engage in a favorite activity, like running, that I’m somehow less – that I can’t function the same, that my life isn’t as full.
While valid and natural feelings, to some extent, these are lies. (I’m thankful for a husband who graciously calls lies out and puts truth in their place.)
This morning on the ride to work, I posed the question,
Why is it so difficult for us to rest on our identity being in God, solely and completely?
Why do I feel like I need to add to it? Why do I feel like a prerequisite to loving myself is doing x, y, and z.. worldly accomplishments?
God never changes, therefore if my peace, joy, contentment, satisfaction, and being are found in Him, they won’t be shaken. But if I put identity and worth in worldly activities, like running (or career or status or wealth), and it’s taken away, then I’m broken. Instead of being a little bummed and adapting to a temporary change — my not being able to run for a couple of months — I live burdened and discouraged. I need to step back and look at the entire picture, the whole span of life – wouldn’t you agree?
“Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:24
I often tell J that I think of the marvels of marriage is that when I am weak and self-doubting, I can look at myself through his eyes, and feel whole and at peace and beautiful. Because he loves me deeply, and sees me as a whole person, not just a runner or a graphic designer, etc. And how much more does God do the same? To an extreme level!
Easier said than done, Chelsea – you say. I know, but at this point I need to latch on to what God thinks about me — who I am, bottom line, never changing — because I’m in Christ.
Loving myself is important, but if it isn’t based on God’s love, if it isn’t fueled by my life in Him, it will rise and fall every day, or every second. It will falter when I’m weary, or discouraged, or when life changes.
He knows the number of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:30), He knows what I am going to say before I think to say it (Psalm 139:4). I am saved, once for eternity and daily from my sinful nature (Romans 10:13). I am an adopted daughter, part of His family (Ephesians 1:5, 1 John 3:2, Romans 8:16-17). In His eyes, I am a new creation, alive in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:11).
I am free, forgiven, cleansed, righteous in God’s sight because of Jesus (Romans 8:1-2, 1 John 1:9, Romans 4:5). I am secured in Him, and can never be snatched from His hand (Romans 8:39, John 10:29). He will never ever leave me, He’s present me with always (Hebrews 13:5).
My life, the fullest life, is found in Jesus – the Jesus who lives inside me (John 14:6, Colossians 3:3-4). His Spirit is in me to guide, help, and comfort me (Romans 5:5, John 14:17). My future is hope and glory, being delivered from this body, to live with Jesus (Romans 7:24-25, John 14:3). I am chosen (Revelation 17:14), victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57), and have a glorious future (Romans 8:18).
“All this miraculous experience of Christ’s supernatural joy and peace and love and strength is rooted (grafted!) in the reality that the life of Christ in us. That is, the living Christ in us. “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:3–4).
Christ is our life — not only the guarantee of it in heaven, but the down payment of it by the Spirit now, as he lives in us. His joy our joy, his love our love, his peace our peace, his strength our strength. These are not gifts moving from him to us. They are his life experienced as our life.” John Piper
Christ is my life. Even if I had nothing else but Him, my life could still be abundant, full of wonder and joy, peace and satisfaction, if I choose to believe the truth of His Word. Right? How often I forget this. Sure, I can’t wait to run again, I enjoy it too much. But my life isn’t running, it is only a small part of my life. I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that puts me in Him. And it changes everything.
I also want to share this hymn, written by George Robinson,
His forever, only His;
Who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah, with what a rest of bliss
Christ can fill the loving heart!
Heav’n and earth may fade and flee,
Firstborn light in gloom decline;
But while God and I shall be,
I am His, and He is mine.
But while God and I shall be,
I am His, and He is mine.
I boldly decided to put this out there, and even if I’m the only one, it was helpful to flesh out. But I hope, friend, if you can relate, that this was encouraging for you.