I want to be honest: I have not been doing very well lately. Sure, everything looks as good as can be on paper, but in reality, I'm having a really hard time. I guess I could blame it on the stress of planning a wedding, or not working hard enough at my career, or even my brain chemistry being out of whack, but ultimately, I know that it boils down to one thing. One thing that no matter how old or mature or intelligent I think I get, I have to keep learning. Over and over again.
I really, REALLY need Jesus. I really, really do.
Regardless of what you think or know about me, I am not a good person. I am embarrassingly selfish. I am vain. I am arrogant. I am easily angered and annoyed. I am aggressively competitive. I am envious. I am a liar. I am a gossip. I am manipulative. I am flaky. I struggle with lust. I struggle with laziness. I prioritize my own comfort over the feelings and needs of others. Y'all, I am in deep, deep need of a savior.
The problem is that I keep forgetting how desperate that need is. I forget to recognize that without Jesus, I am the worst. And so time passes, and it becomes easier and easier to keep my Bible in my bag. I ignore the longing in my heart to sit at the feet of my Father and choose instead to watch TV. I choose social media over time in prayer. Without a thought, I do what feels good instead of what God's Word commands. And after enough time of simply "checking in" with God every so often and only acknowledging my more obvious sins, I become absolutely miserable. Borderline clinically depressed. Every other aspect of my life suffers for it - my aspirations, my body, my relationships. My soul hungers and thirsts for the Living God, and yet I choose to deprive it of food and water. "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Deut 8:3) My soul has been straight up HANGRY, y'all. Because the enemy and my flesh have deceived me into believing that I don't need God.
Now don't be fooled. I don't particularly enjoy admitting what a piece of crap I can be; it's embarrassing, and I am not proud of it. I wish I could change the needless hurt I have caused myself and others over the years. But the Bible says, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you." (James 4:10) Recognizing my own flaws opens my eyes to the completing work that Christ did on the cross and how deeply I need his redemption in my life. Sure, I am a lousy sinner without Him, but...I know where my worth is found. In Christ, I am a new creation; "the old things pass away, behold, the new is come!" (2 Cor 5:17) I am His beloved, redeemed, forgiven, restored, and renewed daughter. The Creator of oceans and sunsets and galaxies and DNA and strawberries and music and colors loves ME! He says I am made wonderfully and fearfully - and made in His image! "He rescued me because he delighted in me." (Ps 18:19) He sacrificed everything so that we never have to be apart. "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) My Jesus will never leave me, nor will He forsake me. This is the greatest love story of all.
And love shouldn't leave us where we were - TRUE love changes us, it makes us better. God's love sanctifies me daily, when I remember to live in it. Knowing that Jesus has claimed victory over my sins and my life makes me want to dance. And be BETTER. I don't want to be the person I was at sixteen. Heck, I don't want to be the person I was yesterday! I want to love and live fearlessly and selflessly. I want to be more like Jesus, and I need His help every day. I want others to know and experience the joy of salvation! Not just the joy of eternity in heaven - but the joy of a purpose-filled, sanctifying life and A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF LOVE FROM THE GOD WHO CREATED YOU. If nothing else, I hope that this will be your take away: Jesus loves you. All of you. And He's the only one who can "fix" you. I'm willing to bet that you need Him, too...