When Life Doesn't Add Up+
All through school, even in college, I would stay up late working on homework. I would sit at the dining room table, with only the dining room light on, late into the night. My dad would be in his chair watching the news or some historical/political documentary, my mom would be doing the dishes, and my brother and sister doing whatever, I mean I don’t really know, I was busy. I was struggling with math. It was difficult to remember the different rules and formulas. Not only was it difficult to remember which rules to follow, but also in which order. And quite honestly, word problems were the worst! I would agonize over homework, counting how many problems I had to do before the assignment was completed, knowing that it would most likely be completed incorrectly. There were only a few times, I wouldn’t be in tears, waiting to receive my D or C grade. I remember sitting with my mom in the middle of the night wondering how I kept getting the wrong answers when I thought I was following all the rules.
Usually the odd-numbered questions would have answers printed in the back of the book. I used those answers as a guide, and to help me get at least a 50% grade. ;) But they also let me know if I was getting the answers correct. When I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting the right answer, my mom would carefully examine the lesson in the text, then go through my work and erase only my error, so I could try again starting from the point in the problem that I started getting it wrong.
Life is like math. So many ways to do it and so many ways to NOT do it. It’s complicated. I have learned something else about math that is true. Though math is complex, it is also complete. No problem is without an answer. I believe life is exactly the same. There is an answer to every problem in life, even the complex ones. So why is life so hard? Usually, the issue is we don’t like the answer, or we don’t like “showing our work” to get the answer, or someone else in our lives isn’t contributing and showing their work.
Let’s keep this simple: Math has principles that don’t change. Addition is always increase, and subtraction will always take away, no matter what the equation is. Yes, sometimes there are other principles included in complex equations, like in some equations you work all the multiplying/dividing first, then the adding & subtracting. But just like math, no matter how complicated the situation, the Bible communicates God’s expectations of us, and those expectations are called standards. Holiness is always holiness, sin is always sin, no matter how life changes through time. How we live to achieve these standards is living a life of principle. Does that make sense? Please consider re-reading that paragraph. It’s the most important one in this entire post.
Now, here is the Christian struggle. We aren’t perfect and we don’t have the entire bible memorized, and there is no perfect equation for life. But there is a perfect answer! Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6
If you are looking for a way through or a way out of a situation, Jesus is the way….
If you are looking for the truth in a confusing situation, when both sides of the story seem right, or you just can’t win, Jesus is the truth…
If you have something to celebrate, Jesus gave you that life…
If you are feeling like you are at rock bottom, Jesus can give you new life…
...if you’ll show your work!
So when life gets complicated and since we can’t read the whole Bible and Jesus doesn’t always show up in our devotional time with an easy answer, how can we find Jesus in our complicated situations? There are 6 things we can do to find Jesus (X) in real life.
How to find (X):
1. PAUSE. Take time to just breath. Try not to act or speak (Facebook, Text, or Email, etc.) based on emotions. Emotions can cloud our perspective and change over time.
2. PRAY. Ask God to show me something in the Bible that will support the idea/decision we are facing.
3. RESEARCH. Study the bible. Is there an individual or people group who experienced a situation similar to ours? How did they respond? We can look for God to show us more of His ways and thoughts, through reading the bible. And if you were a Christian in the 90’s you may think it’s cheesy now, but really, find out WWJD? (What would Jesus do?)
4. ASK. Find someone wiser and older in the faith to speak into your life. (Like my mom with my math homework. No Wait! Mom! You’re not old, you’re wise. Ummm…Luh you!) Choose someone more experienced in life, they know God, they know the Bible and have wisdom to share from it! It’s important to have people around you who can support you.
5. DO. Make a plan to do something based on what you have learned. Set up a coffee appointment, schedule work out times in our calendar, plan to say “I’m sorry,“ etc. Show your work. If you make a mistake, try again, pick up where you left off. You’ll learn as you go, and that’s okay! (It’s normal actually.)
6. CHOOSE. Choose to trust. Trust is a mindset. Choosing a mindset, instead of listening to an emotion is difficult. God will reveal Himself to us and cause us to draw closer to Him, especially in difficult times. He wants to be there for us.
Looking for Jesus in real life, and learning how to live up to the expectations God has set can be difficult in a critical and fast paced world, a world where Christians do not fit in. But living a life without Christ can leave you feeling incomplete, and symptoms of a sinful world (stress, depression, anxiety, pain, confusion, lack of peace, etc.) begin to settle in. Learning to live a life based on principle is difficult because most people live based on their feelings or experiences, and biblical principles will most likely make you face the root attached to the symptoms of this sinful world we live in. But Jesus promises us in John 10:10 “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV) Another version says it this way, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (NLT) Living a life based on principles guarantees blessing. A life with Christ, is not perfect, but it is a blessed one, because regardless of feelings and experiences, you can be a complete person. Begin to look for Jesus in your life. He is there. He is your answer, and He loves you madly.
Now I’m curious, did you have a class at school that kept you up all night? Comment below and tell me what it was! and while your at it continue to scroll down and click the “Follow” button and I’ll send all my posts directly to your email.