Life has been great, but hectic lately and I’ve been meaning to put together some important lessons I’ve learned through and in the last couple of months. Chris and myself build our foundation on the only One who can ever bring true peace. What has that looked like? What does it mean? Well, we have had to seek Him out in ways that we never had before. When we stepped out of the institutional church, we had no idea what walking with an indwelling Lord looked like in our lives. So we loved Him, spent time doing devotions, and served the needy, and we taught our children about Him. Having a taste of life in a group which expressed an inward Lord in an outward way gave us life and a vision of freedom we never knew we had. Since living in Kansas City, it’s been so beautiful to see Christ in a new way, as our family is together (when living in Florida my husband worked in another city and it took him 2 hours, sometimes more in bad traffic, to get to work). I have noticed pretty serious problems and offenses in my heart replaced by Love as we seek Him together as husband and wife. Here is what I have learned through the good and the bad in the last 4 months…
1) One of the most difficult aspects of Christianity has been learning to listen for Him. It’s always been a struggle to actively listen for Him and only Him as others speak. Every time a soul speaks he or she is opening themselves up for scrutiny. Has my judgement ever fallen on them? I have learned to actively listen for His voice and tune in to what Christ is seeing as I watch or listen to another speak. Is He judging them? Is He wanting to shower love (Himself) through me? In knowing how much He loves me, which is more than I can express, I have learned to look out for how He loves others, especially those I don’t agree with.
2) Be prepared to suffer. Christ promised me that in this life there would be suffering. He doesn’t hand out grace each day like a ration of food to a starving victim. He promises His presence and when He says His grace is sufficient, it is. All suffering has meaning and purpose in Christ. He is the Kingdom and nothing goes in on Him that is not meant for the betterment of his Kingdom. Bearing some loneliness and hurt feelings when I moved here caused me to cling to His life, we had nothing else. Finding His life inside and bravely thanking Him for all of it has been one of the greatest paths to freedom. Suffering finds meaning when we seek Him in it and find joy still.
3) Relax. Not everything is so serious or so deep all the time. Some days are full of Him and nothing great or bad happened. Some days are full of Him because He is good. Singing a song of praise as I sweep my floors, reading with my children, taking care of a home and a yard we will live in for good, is relaxing because Christ has made Himself known in every breath. Some days are hard. But, I have learned to laugh. I have learned who I am in Him and the confidence it gives me to just be still. I can accept imperfection because He is the only truly perfect thing and He has filled us with Himself. I can just relax for the first time in a very, very long time.
4) What I do, my path which is lit by Christ, is not the only good one and not “the best”. This is an important one. When Christ is my all in all, my eyes shouldn’t even be able to look at what a fellow human being is doing. I do not know another’s heart. I can not say what is right and wrong because the ONLY thing I know is the Christ who lives inside of me. This is the toughest and most important. To become broken by the Lord, to truly break into pieces and become a shell for His life causes something great to happen. My husband and I are so grateful for our freedom in Him. We only knew that freedom after He broke us and we became like brand new Christians knowing nothing, but needing Him for our dear lives. What I have learned is that freedom is freedom, it is not freedom if it only applies in certain situations. I used to think that I possessed a life that was superior because of the way I met with others to express Him. Well, I have been meeting with others organically and expressing Christ in a way that looks totally different that what I knew a year ago. It has shattered my perception of my holiness compared to others, as if I could ever claim such a thing. Those who have been broken by the Lord can see when we are putting our expectations for how one should live in Him on others and hopefully we let go of judgements. Sometimes it takes a while, but eventually He shines through and I can’t judge anymore. There are as many kinds of Christians as there are people. Some homeschool, some are evangelists and missionaries, some believe in expressing supernatural gifts more than others, and none of it is even worth looking at when Christ is too glorious to take my eyes off of. That’s freedom.
Of course I believe in what I do, otherwise I wouldn’t do any of it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in what others do too. I know people who attend a church building, yet display and express Christ organically. I know of families who have children in the public school system, yet have such a beautiful, tight knit, Christ loving family. A few years ago I would have placed judgement on anyone doing things the “wrong” way- I did not possess freedom, but locked into passing judgement. I can’t claim to know something others don’t just because I have a handle on what Christ wants for us.
It has been a long journey. I am 32. The older I get the less I know (and the more expensive wrinkle cream gets). The only changing, yet unchanged element is Christ. The only sure thing, who can be counted on in all things, is Christ.
Thanks for reading!