Some people think life has been easy for me. Some people think that because I grew up in the church, or because my dad is a pastor, that automatically I believe in God and have a “holier than thou” complex of morality. Others think that I am naïve or that I just follow and do what comes easy. Some people would look at my life and say “wow…she’s got it good.” They think that I haven’t had any hardships…or none worth really talking about, because in comparison to the hardships of others, I am lucky and have nothing to complain about. A lot of people would say…”She’s a Christian because she has an easy life, her dad is a pastor, she’s had good friends, a good education, a little popularity, is married, and now has a great job…she’s had the perfect life.”
The truth is, I would agree with these people about most of what I said…but not all…. You see, I haven’t gone through a horrific past. I haven’t gone through the divorce of my parents or the loss of a child or sibling. I haven’t been bullied and scared by the nastiness of high school like many others I know. I haven’t done drugs. I haven’t experienced alcoholism…heck…I’ve never even been drunk. To the outside world, I’m what people would call, “A goodie-two shoes.” I got through school just fine, I played sports, I went to church, and eventually I got married to the love of my life Hunter. On the outside, I look really awesome…I look perfect.
Where am I going with this? Well, I’m not listing these things about my past with the intention of gloating or bragging. I’m hoping that what I am about to say will allow people to see that my life is not mine anymore. My life, and the journey I have been on is because of Jesus (as cliché as it may sound…it’s the truth). Believe me…growing up as a Pastor’s kid; there came a time when I really had to figure out if this Jesus guy was just a load of crap, or if he was real. I couldn’t take just following blindly anymore. So, in the middle of high school, I started my search for truth. I looked at other religions to see if there was any way that I had been mis-guided. I was not about to put my faith in something that was going to fail. I asked questions, I read more of the Bible than I ever had because how could I accept something I did not know? I wanted to find Jesus for myself…and if I found out he wasn’t who he said he was, well then I wasn’t about to follow him. BUT, after searching and reading and actually trying to figure it all out, while also going through one of the hardest times in my life, it was undeniable that the Jesus I saw my parents follow, the Jesus I saw my youth leaders follow, the Jesus I heard about in Sunday school, and the Jesus I read about in the Bible was actually real.
I had heard this thing called “The Gospel” a million times growing up in church. But it wasn’t until junior year of high school that I really took things into consideration and truly committed my life to following after Jesus and seeking truth. Following blindly wasn’t good enough. Just going to church and listening and doing good things wasn’t good enough. I didn’t understand WHY I was doing what I was doing. I was only doing it because others were and it seemed like the good thing to do. But as I was struggling with who God was and why God was letting bad things happen, and questioning if he was even THERE…I started to actually look at what “The Gospel” meant. And it changed my life. Where did it start? I didn’t go searching for blog posts. I went straight to the source. I decided to get to know Jesus. I decided to read about him from the Bible. I started to study who he was, his character, his love, his grace, his purpose.
What came out of that was a realization that my pride and stubbornness was masked by my passiveness in following Jesus because it was the good thing to do. I had been so prideful in being “perfect” or “good” that I had completely missed the reason why Jesus came and died for my sins in the first place. He didn’t save me because I was awesome or good or because I was a perfect Pastor’s Kid. He saved me for the opposite reason. He came and died for me, paid the price for my sins and wrong doings, so that I could have a true relationship with the God who created me. I deserved death because I had sinned against God. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 6:23. I couldn’t meet the standard of perfection that God had required because I was sinful and had sinned. My selfishness alone made me a sinner and according to the Bible, the punishment for that is death and eternal separation from God. But then the awesome hope of the Gospel comes out. Jesus came. God sent his son to die for me because while I was still a sinner, he loved me enough to pay my ransom. Jesus died in my place because he LOVED me, and now I am able to Love others because he first loved me. He gave us a gift, and that gift if life. The gift is not guaranteed happy life with lots of money. Jesus came and died for us, in order that we would have eternal life and relationship with Him everlasting. We were created in God’s image to be in relationship with him.
It makes sense to me that if we were created for the purpose of being in relationship with God, and we accept that purpose, that it would be more fulfilling than anything else. I mean, you wouldn’t say that a car is created for the purpose of driving around, and then use it as an airplane right? The car would fly for maaaaaaybe 3 seconds before crashing to the ground. You wouldn’t use a car as an airplane. You’d use an airplane as an airplane. These things were created for a specific purpose…just like we were. And when we reject God, we are rejecting our purpose and the true life and value of Salvation that is sitting and waiting for us because Jesus paid the price for it! All we have to do is accept it. Romans 10:9 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Jesus gave us the best gift we can ever receive. And its there for the taking if we want it.
Through my ups and downs, through my searching and questioning, during the lowest points of my life and the highest successes, Jesus has been the constant and he has changed my heart and my life for the better. I have purpose because of Him. I have hope because of Him. I have true joy because of Him. My stubbornness and pride still try to get in the way, but my heart has changed and I am continually amazed at how God is working in my life and others around me. He is the real deal. I hope my story can inspire others towards Jesus. I don’t have the life I do because “I’m awesome”…although sometimes I would like to take that credit. I have the life I do because Jesus died for me and he’s done the same for everyone. No matter what the circumstance, Jesus is better.