Oh, the irony, eh? I literally think that almost everyday. "I love my life" or "I have such a great life". And truly, it is the perspective of life that I have because of Jesus. There are many who have more friends, more money, more vacations, a job that is WAY more fun, a cooler house, a better car, a husband who is also their best friend, smaller pores, less fat, leaner muscles, higher cheekbones, more eloquent speech, fewer wrinkles, or oceanfront property but without the perspective of True Life. No longer do I think, "If only I had _______, THEN I would be truly happy." I was beginning to fill that blank with "husband" but God quickly showed me that I was creating a false idol. I have Jesus. He makes everything more beautiful and gives me the Peace that all of mankind is striving for.
I am defined from the inside out. I used to be defined from the outside in. I can honestly say that I don't care what others think of me....they DON'T define me. Especially because what others think is in direct relation to what/who defines them and that is not in my control...AT ALL. God wrote an entire Book about His love for me. That's kind huge, don't you think? He defined me before He created the Heavens and the Earth. He's CRAZY about ME!!!! And you know, He's not surprised when I screw up. He doesn't ask me to be perfect. He knows it's impossible this side of Heaven. He just asks me to accept His gift of Jesus. Just accept it. Let it get inside me and transform me. I still don't know the enormity of that power. I want to know more of it!!
I SO want others to know that Jesus covered it ALL when He suffered so severely on the Cross. I want others to release their sorrow, pain, suffering, and stress to God. I hate that we hold onto all of our "stuff" when we don't have to!
Being defined by Christ means that I can say "yes" or "no" when that is what I really mean. I know that God has called me to a simpler lifestyle. I can easily get caught up in serving in several different ministries but that is not where God has called me. And so I can say "no" with confidence when asked to serve outside of where God has called me. That doesn't mean I'm not serving anywhere or only serving where I'm comfortable. It just means that I know I'm a better disciple when I'm not busy.
I am currently reading The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning. My friend, Barbara, from Virginia gave it to me 2 years ago. I read the first 2 chapters, but it wasn't what I needed to be reading at the time. Now it is! Love that. In Chapter 5, he writes about simplicity of life.
"The fallacy here is blaming the complexity of our lives on the complexity of our environment. How many people have told me they would love to live on some remote South Sea island or get back to the good old horse-and-buggy days when Sunday was spent visiting Grandma and Grandpa on the farm? It doesn't work because we bring our feverish, unintegrated selves to these remote places. Simplicity of life does not depend upon simplicity of environment."
As Christians, we are called to live differently. The world prides itself on busyness. A full calendar tells us we have great worth. We are deceived!
Today, I am blessed to only work 3 days a week. I have time each day to read God's Word, a good book, and reflect on it. I have time to read to my kid and let him read to me. I have time to talk to and listen to friends and pray with them too! I have time to sit outside and watch my kid play with his friends. I have time to marvel at God's creation. I have time to pray with a group of friends every other week for an hour and a half. I have time to go back to school to pursue more of what God has for me in the hope that He will use me to impact others. Those 3 days of work bring in just enough money to maintain my new standard of living. I don't have a fancy house or a fancy car and I don't have a wardrobe full of the latest fashions. I live minimally but I still live a lavish lifestyle compared to most of the world. I value time more than I do possessions. That's a choice I made based on the lessons God has taught me. I have no desire to keep up with the Jones's. I doubt they are living a life of peace!
I love the simple life!