In Ecclesiastes 3, the writer Solomon identifies that there are seasons for every matter under heaven - birth/death, planting/harvesting, mourning/dancing, etc. In fact, our calendar is organized around the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Every living being also follows the same course: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, death. Life overall is very much an orderly and predictable process.
Each New Years Eve, I join many in reflecting over the past year. I can typically identify overarching themes and experiences that represent that year. Some examples are as follows:
- 2006 was a year of graduating college and launching into adulthood.
- 2009 was a year of death and loss, marked by job loss, my brother-in-law's tragic death, and our miscarriage.
- 2011 was a year of joy and beauty as we became first-time parents.
2014 has been an interesting for us. Of course, every year has its "ups and downs." For instance, this is the year we became foster parents. This is the year my husband finishes his second Master's degree. This is also the year I discovered that I am not a bad mom for putting my kids in Parent's Day Out a couple days a week so that I can preserve my sanity!
But a major theme of this year has also been brokenness. Trey and I have been amazed at the brokenness we have seen and experienced. Much of the vision and content for this blog has come from these experiences.
Throughout this year, a haunting question continuously has surfaced in my mind as we have walked through these experiences with others: what if they/he/she had dealt with this sin/hurt/secret sooner?
I think of the friend who was molested as a child but never told anyone. His experiences as a victim led him into a world of sexual sin that is now breaking his family apart. But what if he had told his story sooner? What if he had received the help he needed early on to deal with this secret struggle?
I think of the woman who has battled years of depression and self-loathing, all centered around the abortion she had in college. What if she had told her story sooner and processed in light of the cross of Christ the guilt and shame she carries now?
I think of the marriage that is ending because of deception and abuse that occurred behind closed doors. What if they had opened up sooner about their struggles? Would things have turned out differently?*
My purpose in asking these questions isn't to make anyone live in regret over past decisions but to instead encourage everyone to think of future repercussions. Dealing with your "junk" now when it is your decision is so much more preferable to facing it later when the stakes are higher and you are forced to face it.
Said in a more positive way: living the genuine, authentic life is worth it!
Speaking to Christians, Paul tells us in Romans 8:1 that, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." He makes this incredible claim after wrestling in chapter 7 with the reality of the old sin nature versus the new nature in Christ. While the war between the two still rages in the believer who is in the process of sanctification on this earth, ultimately we stand free and clear before our Holy God.
As believers, the only reason this darkness has power in our lives is because we allow it to do so. We have greater power in Jesus Chris, who already conquered sin and death. He brings victory to our lives, not because of anything in us but because of Who He is and what He has done. So why live in a world of condemnation, secrecy, and shame when we are already, ultimately, free of it all?
I don't mean to sound simplistic or to make less of the very real struggle we still have on this earth with sin and brokenness. It is a struggle, and it is often painful and humbling. But what I do hope to do is inspire other believers toward lives that embrace the freedom we have in Christ. Again I will say, we are overcomers of sin and death, not by our own power, but through the power of Jesus Christ.
I challenge you, dear reader, to think on this: that thing that paralyzes you with fear the most when you think of others finding out about you is probably what you need to start working on now. Because I guarantee you, it will be a lot less painful facing it now in an open and honest place with trustworthy and loving people than it will be facing it later, after it has taken deep root in you and destroyed so much of you, your relationships, your life.
In coming posts we will examine what an authentic believer looks like and identify the steps it takes to becoming genuine people.
*Any examples in my posts will have names and significant details changed to protect the privacy of those whose lives these examples represent