My journey the last few weeks…..

Posted: August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

My sin
I am driven. I have goals for what I want to accomplish in the next month, the next year, the next 3 years and the next 5 years. I push the limits of how much I can physically and mentally handle every day. Most of us know what it is like to grind things out for few weeks when we have a lot to do but I do it 365 days a year. I work hard, my work ethic is second to none, I do everything I can to help every person possible and I strive to live a life that is fruitful in every way. I rarely rest or take any time for myself. At times I am horrible at maintaining healthy friendships because I am so busy doing things for people that I never do things with people. I have an amazing family, I have the best friends anyone could ask for and I have an amazing church yet I feel distant from them at times. The worst part is that I find myself at times so busy doing things for God, that I forget to do things with God. It breaks my heart and as I write this I am seriously destroyed over it.

Where it started
I grew up very poor. I can vividly remember just wanting there to be food in the fridge and clothes that weren’t falling apart. I can remember stealing clothes from stores as a kid so that I wouldn’t get made fun of in school. I wished my house was nicer and in a better neighborhood. I was always so envious of what everybody else had. Every single one of my childhood friends were in jail by the time we were teenagers. Many of them have had serious drug over doses that have left them mentally not all there. Some I haven’t seen in years but hear stories about them that bring me to tears. I wanted a different life. I refused to be ok with how things were.
I graduated high school in June of 2001 at age 17. Within a month I had found a good job, I bought a new truck and moved out on my own. Over the next 4 years I would become the most prideful arrogant prick you have ever met. I prided myself in what I had, what I had accomplished, how much better I was doing than most of my friends and what direction my life was going in. I began to lie about everything and make things seem even better than they were. I always made a point of it to tell people how much money I was making and how good I was doing. Somehow because of the way I grew up it made me despise my past and do everything possible to cover it up. I had no sympathy on people who were in similar situations. My past just fueled my ambition to become someone. I had created this entire image of how I wanted people to view me and it was disgusting.

Where it changed
Seven years ago I met a girl who invited me to church and it would change my life forever. I thought I was going to church to hook up but what actually happened is I met Jesus and He changed my life. I have always prided myself in what I have accomplished in life….. but Jesus showed me that it wasn’t my doing at all, it was all by His grace. I judged others by the mistakes they have made in life, when in fact I had made those same mistakes and by By God’s grace I made it out of them. On multiple occasions I should have died but Jesus decided to save me…. not only from this world but from myself. Just the simple fact that I have a healthy body and mind that works is a gift from God.

How this all came about
Two weeks ago I met with my Pastor and he recommended that I read a book called “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”, written by Tullian Tchividjian. He explained to me why he wanted me to read the book but when I got home I found myself not fully understanding why he wanted me to read the book. The title of the book is literally a phrase I have used for as long as I can remember. I felt that if anyone knew Jesus + nothing = everything, it was me. But I was sure there was a good reason so I got the book that same day and began to read it.
As I started reading the book I began to see things differently. I was seeing God’s truths and how I had been straying from them the last few months. I began to see how I wasn’t finding my worth in Jesus and what He has done for me, I was finding it in how hard I worked. I wasn’t finding my rest in Jesus, I was finding it in how many hours a night I slept. Somehow I was seeing all these needs in my community group and in my church and somehow thought I could fix all of them if I worked hard enough. When I felt myself not being as close to God as I wanted to be, I would work harder to serve those around me and do more “good things” instead of spending time with Jesus. At the end of each day I would decide wether or not it was a good day based on how much I was getting done instead of the fact that by God’s grace I was able to live another day. In fact I would say that many days a good saying for my life was actually Jesus + Something = Everything.
This book reminded me of so many things that I so desperately needed to hear. I am a sinner. By myself I can do nothing to become blameless in God’s eyes. I was condemned. But thanks be to God that He sent Jesus to die in my place and pay the price for my sins. I am no longer condemned! I no longer have to try to do good things to try to please God! The only thing I did to contribute to Jesus saving me was the sins I committed that made it necessary to need a savior! My worth is not found in how hard I work, it’s found in the fact that I am a son of God saved by His grace! How rested I feel is not found in how many hours I sleep, it’s found in the fact that Jesus lives inside of me and gives me all the strength I need even when I feel like I have none! My community group and churches health is not dependent on how much I do, Its based on the fact that they belong to Jesus and are led by Jesus! I can’t save anyone. I can’t fix everything. I am not fully responsible for every person I know. Who do I think I am, God? My responsibility is to be faithful to what he allows me to do, to point people to Him, to bring glory to His name in all that I do and tell people how badly they need Him! There is no good thing I can do to get closer to Jesus. He lives inside of me and is always with me!
Over the last week I have been reminded over and over again that Jesus is all that I need. I’m making some major changes in my life so that I can spend quality time with Jesus, to read His word, to spend quality time with the people I care about the most, i’m resting each day and taking some time for myself. Im certain Jesus isn’t done with me yet. I have a long way to go. Luckily there is never going to a day when I am perfect or doing everything right…..its a glorious reminder of how much Jesus + Nothing = Everything because He is all I need! Thank you Pastor Nick for being one of men in my life who constantly points me to Jesus.

because Jesus was strong for me, I was ok to be weak;
because Jesus won for me, I was free to lose;
because Jesus was someone, I was free to be no one;
because Jesus was extraordinary, I was free to be ordinary;
because Jesus succeeded for me, I was free to fail.

Tullian Tchividjian

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