I'm going to be as honest and transparent as I can be today (especially for a church leader- nail biter right?). But seriously, it's not that I am usually dishonest but it's fairly unusual for a church leader to talk about themselves in a way that seems vulnerable or for fear that others will look at them differently. But, here it goes...
The last few weeks I have been on the "struggle bus" myself with various things and quite honestly nothing really all that important. Don't get me wrong, it's important in the worldly sense and if someone in my position didn't have Jesus, well, quite frankly they would be a mess. I find myself on a roller coaster of emotions at times and the potential to get really down about different things lately. Could it be that I'll be 40 this year (blech!), or my job, marriage, a home, kids, finances, health, changes in general, A MILLION OTHER THINGS???? Yes to all, superficially just saying those words brings joy for most (and they are, truly they are) but when you get the microscope out and analyze those things, each one is so very deep and consume our time and most importantly...........drum roll......our HEART.
Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I don't have struggles or hurt or get angry, I AM human but it's a stigma that comes with being Christian (as though we aren't suppose to express those emotions) that we are to handle them differently and turn them over to Jesus. But even for a Christian that isn't always the first thought. A little fun fact here, both Christians and non-Christians alike use that stigma against people (all people) for feeling which I find quite comical because the best Christians I know that are in an active walk with Jesus feel ALL of the emotions! Now, I don't want to scare anyone, nothing has happened and I haven't done anything wrong, and I'm not going to do something LOL. I am just is a season of change in my life and am analyzing it. Oh, did I mention I do Christian counseling and am a case manager? That may help you understand my analytical mind at work here. I am often thinking of other people, what they go through/deal with and it's a huge part of my job as well. I like to analyze why people do what they do and I am no different when analyzing areas of my own life.
Here is where the heart comes in...we often approach things (even following Jesus) as though we are self-propelled, the problem is that we CANNOT handle certain (most) decisions and situations we often get ourselves into, especially the ones which God never intended for us. Proverbs 4:23 says "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." When we don't handle our situations with care and allow Jesus to work in it, we turn bitter and with bitterness comes sin and with sin comes a life away from Jesus and it's all down hill from there. Ephesians not only talks about who we are as humans and our relationship with Christ, but the power we have in that relationship. We are to put on the full armor of God EVERY SINGLE DAY because I promise you, the moment you leave off your breastplate your heart is unprotected and anything can get in.
Now, I'm going to run through that again for myself because, honestly (again with the honesty) I've been running out the door lately with most of my armor off and am feeling the weight of NOT having it. Ironic isn't it? We are much lighter with it on than not....think on that.