Welcome to life! It's not quite what you think, is it?
When I was a kid, I thought that life was pretty straightforward. You work hard and worship Jesus and everything goes pretty alright. Isn't that about it?
*rolls eyes at former self*
Wrong. It didn't take long to find out the flaws in my perspective. The only grandparent I've known passed away when I was 7. A few years later, my dad lost his job twice in a row and we got by on food stamps for a bit. I wondered why all my friends got to go to Disney World and the beach when I got to go to the public pool once a summer if I was lucky. Was my faith not strong enough? What the world good or bad? Was I wrong about life?
As much as we'd all like to pretend that everything will go as planned, the hard tea (sounds good right now, right?!) is that it simply won't. The internet sure has skewed our reality as to what life actually is like—either painting it out to be all doom and gloom or always a perfect picture of health, wealth and happiness. (None of which, is promised in the Gospel, by the way)
Sister, here's the real scoop: life is both.
But it was created to be just good. So so sooooo good.
Imagine a garden full of wonder. Fresh fruit and vegetation, plants blooming higher than the human eye can reach. Humans, having no fear and no greed, walking with God in perfect peace.
Friend, that is what this world was intended to be. That's how I believe this world was created. (You can check out Genesis 1-2 for more!). And doesn't that design sound so so good?
So what happened? What changed? I'm looking around anddd, I sure as heck don't see a garden life that. I see bullet holes through the greenery, blood splatters on the vegetable leaves, and a barren land, still producing nutrients but straining to keep the humans at peace.
We see in Genesis 3 that the fall ruined it. God's good creation of Earth was violated by sin—human's chose their own image, their own happiness, their own selfishness, over the holy and perfect order from the Creator.
Do you see that around you today?
The brokenness of sin can be found in headlines, and sicknesses, politics and torn up families. It can look like arguments and racism, car crashes and gossip, comparison and deceit.
So how do we go forward? How on earth can we live in this once-good, now-broken world?
I think we can start by recognizing the sin/brokenness/disappointment around us. If your looking for a place to start, try these 3 points:
1. Understand perfection is FAKE | I get it, it sucks when things don’t go as planned. But perfection is A LIE. While some think comparison started with social media, ever since the Fall of man it has been around, eating at our joy and pitting people against one another. The more we embrace the seasonal growth of life, the more we grab onto and reclaim fragments of the good of this world, the more peaceful we become.
2. Be proactive | Don’t live anticipating dissatisfaction, but be wise and care for your spiritual and emotional health along the way. Grow in faith, spend time in prayer, seek community, hear stories and get to know how you handle emotions. Fire fighters don't pick up a hose for the first time after a building starts to burn. Work and build communion with Christ in all seasons, so when disaster strikes you'll know where to turn for peace.
3. Sit in the sad | It does you no favors to speed over disappointment or skip the mourning period. More often than not it will build bitterness in your heart and prolong the joy that’s ahead! Seek council, sit in the brokenness, allow yourself to cry. The weight of this sinful world is heavy. If it greives the heart of God, it's okay to feel it, too. At the right time you’ll move into the next moment and find the joy more fully, and forgiveness more freely.
Though this world is broken, this is the one we have. It's the one God chose to create and the one I refuse to give up on. As we cultivate it, may we recognize our position as people God chose to partner with to steward creation, work and keep it, and build His Kingdom—of peace, justice, and righteousness, here.
On earth as it is in Heaven.