If we fail to fill our souls with spiritual nourishment, we will forever be triggered to numb our longings with other temporary physical pleasures that will never satisfy.
Where am I going with this, you ask? I know on a deep and personal level what it is like to constantly strive for perfection, only to end up feeling empty and lost. I was what you would call a "Checkmark Christian," checking off the boxes to do whatever it took to get to Heaven. Don’t drink: Check. Don’t curse: Check. Virgin until marriage: Check. Go to church: Check. On paper I was striving to look like the perfect Christian, but in reality I was so focused on making the attention about me, my wants, and my needs. I overlooked Gods grace and mercy and was completely missing the intimate relationship I share with him now.
My prayer life was focused on selfish needs and desires. I remember crying out "Lord, change him!" or "Lord, if you would just do this for me!". I was convinced that if I stayed the narrow path and checked off the God's 'perfect' boxes that he would fix my shattered heart and help to put back the pieces of a broken and abusive relationship. If I could only go through the motions and check off more boxes, God would fix everything wrong in my life. Things continued to get worse throughout each passing day. The abuse grew more intense and I knew that I couldn’t get through it alone. Checking off the boxes wasn’t enough. I needed God to hear my vulnerability and hear my heartfelt cry. And he did. He always does. It wasn't until I surrendered to him completely that I began to feel his grace and constant presence.
I love Jesus for many reasons, but one of the big ones is that he’s so real with us. He doesn’t sugar-coat things and tell us we will all have fairytale lives and live happily ever after. Life will be hard. There will be challenges. There will be sorrow. There will be pain. But these experiences are some of our greatest teachers in life too.
The Bible says we should rejoice when we encounter problems in our lives because it develops perseverance, which will help us in the long run. This couldn’t be more true in my walk with Christ and it has helped me to completely change my perspective when faced with adversity. God doesn’t want us to check off boxes in order to meet him in heaven. He wants us take the time to truly know him, to grow in his word, to talk to him everyday. We are his children. We are loved and because of Jesus we are free.
Let’s work together to stop checking off boxes and work on growing and humbling ourselves before our almighty King. We are never alone, were all in this race together, walking each other home.
Be the light out there, friends.
You are loved.