I wanted life to be easy.
I know. That sounds shallow, naïve, “first-world”, whatever you want to call it. I know it’s not even 100% real.
But I’m pretty sure it’s true about you on some level, right? We all want easy. We just don’t say it.
I knew life had the potential to be hard. I had read Jesus’ warning about trouble in this world (John 16:33). I saw it around me; I anticipated hostility from outside the faith. But the personalization of it was mostly theoretical in my mind. I didn’t truly wonder how or if trouble would come for me. Because how much trouble can you really get into by living a wholesome, godly life? There’s that first-world thing again, but hear me out.
I grew up confident in my identity, in love with Jesus, and ready to pursue a life that brought Him glory. On some level, I must have believed all this would protect me.
It has. But things weren’t easy. Not in the ways I wanted.
I lived my life looking up, enamored with the opportunity leaders have to share truth, make people listen, and lift others into their own callings. I knew the blessings that come from honoring authority and walking in great footsteps. I thought it would be easy to respect pastors, leaders, and teachers. Older Christians. Moms and Dads in the faith. I wanted them to respect me in return. But everyone is dealing with their own stuff. No one is a blank slate with only a pure desire to honor Christ with zero connection to fleshly agendas. And so many everyday choices affect the way we lead and follow.
I was obsessed with friendship. David and Jonathan, divinely-knit, pouring into one another. But have you read their whole story? Somehow, I missed the heart-wrenching nights bleeding out loneliness for a while. The divergent paths. The trudging through trouble and clinging to promises with shaking fingers.
I loved God’s design of men and women, complementing and inspiring each other before finally coming together as one. I wasn’t even focused on the development of my own feelings in that department, certain that things would simply fall into place, that my God-seeking feminine heart would naturally draw and delight the first God-seeking man that came along. No confusion. No rejection.
I wanted marriage to be an adventure of opportunity to prove myself all things Proverbs 31. Business superwoman, honored in church, queen of the home. Maximized output, minimized faults. The reason for her husband’s success. A mother. Never sick or rejected. Not afraid of anything. It's in the Bible, and I dared to want it.
I never even bothered to wonder about children. It would just happen. People start asking about it before you’re even engaged, so isn’t that a sign that it’s inevitable? Kids are gifts from God, arrows in the quiver of a warrior, signs of heaven’s favor. So, He would never withhold that from a child of His. At the very least, He’d point to something wrong so I could fix it. Right?
I wanted to work hard and have my passion turn into purpose, funded and supported by people who believed in it and assured me it had the value I’d always been hoping to bring to the world. But there are thousands who do the same thing only bigger. Which means better, right? Not in theory—but that’s how the system works.
And I have to ask why? Maybe you’ve asked this too. Why couldn’t it just go my way? I wanted good things. What would’ve been so wrong with being in the right place at the right time with the right people. Being the right person. Not disappointing myself or anyone else? Having the biggest problem be choosing the color of my bathroom walls.
I know it happens. It could’ve been me. But then, I might have thought it was all me.
And while I was living in houses I didn’t build, enjoying the spotlight, skating by on personality and privilege…I might have said, “my own power has brought me all this” (Deuteronomy 6:11). I might have forgotten the Lord. I might even have allowed that to permeate the message of my life, telling others that being a Christian is all about having everything you want. That God's favor means everything is...easy.
It isn’t. And because of that, I’ve learned:
God’s faithfulness in the dark
The power of praise through pain
The glory in the middle of the story
The opportunity to come alongside rather than tower over others
Supernatural equipping for things beyond my imagination
The perfection of God’s timing
The kindness of God’s gifts
The worth of deeper relationships
My utter bankruptcy without Christ and my glorious authority with Him
In light of what I’ve learned, I can share and give and love in ways that are hard-earned and real.
I can live with my eyes open to the ways things have been very right even in the midst of the very wrong.
And I know something else for a fact.
Every day that is beautiful, every day that I’m filled with joy, every day when I breathe in the miracle of a new song…I know beyond the shadow of any doubt…
It’s all Him!