My Reason for the Whole Jesus Thing

I sometimes wonder if anyone who isn't a believer in Christ ever wonder how hard it is for the folks who do choose to follow Jesus. Now, I don't say this in any way that tries to provoke confrontation or anything like that. I think I'm merely expressing this because as a believer, I've been having a hard time lately with this fight/struggle/walk/process, etc...whatever you want to call it.

Or maybe I just need a whine fest?

In any case, I just want to express how freakin' hard it is to grow in God. But how, at the same time, it's a process that I have grown more in than any other process before in my life.

The more and more I actually put effort into my faith walk, the more and more I believe God reveals to me a lot that are continuing works in process in my own heart. The more I ask God to help me to love others the way He loves me, the more I find myself in situations where I'm criticized more, provoked more, annoyed more, you name it. In short, I bug God to make me more like Him and He presents me with situations He goes through, yet still loves the people who put Him through it. I'm laughing a little right now as I type this because I'm reminded of the times where I have found myself a bit prideful that I'm one who posses an unselfish heart, yet I'm learning more and more just how selfish I can be.

Try this experiment. Make note of every situation you were in that you thought you were acting on behalf of the other, whether it's your spouse, your friend, a family member, co-worker, etc. Dig a big further and examine your motives behind it. I don't know about you, but when I took on this experienment even just for a few days, I was apalled and pretty butt-hurt about what I found out. I do things that seem generous, but secretly wanting to receive some recognition for it. I do something but in the back of my mind, a part of me wants to have a right at bragging about it later on. Pretty sick, isn't it? I couldn't believe it.

I've heard many times that if you want to get real with God, take a good look at yourself first. It's speechless at what you'll see. I found that my own self-seeking ways are so deeply ingrained it me that it's disguised in what I thought was genuine generosity, genuine care, and mostly, genuinely self-less.

So what, you ask? Maybe some of you are even muttering "then what's the point? Why try if you're just going to feel like crap about yourself trying to be this good person?"

Well, I asked myself that, too. And what I'm finding from this is not "what's the point? (though I won't lie, I have asked myself that before many times and probably will down the road again), but rather, it's making me realize, "Wow. I really am in need of someone to save me from myself." I don't think God places me, you or I, in these situations to berate ourselves, but rather to lovingly sand away the rough edges of a heart that is born self-serving.

I'm not going to lie. This process downright sucks at times. It's gut-wrenchingly hard even. I can't tell you how hard it was, how many times I've been so upset the few times I chose to do what Jesus would do and want to cry and lash out instead to the person who "wronged" me. These situations hurt, but it's an odd feeling when you realize that you can be just as selfish, wrong, and hurtful as they are. And I think it's in that very moment of realization that Jesus gently says "I went through that, too. I know it hurts."

The major difference between Jesus and me is that He was genuine through and through, especially in the face of opposition, betrayal, unjust and unfair treatment.

I am a work in process believer of Jesus. I make mistakes and am pretty horrible at times. The battle between the desires of myself versus the better desires that come from God are constantly at war with each other. I mean, WAR. Every second my thoughts are in constant "me or them, others or self" battles. It's tiring. It makes me mad at God at times that this process of change, of growth is so hard and painful at times. It's angering, it's humbling, it's saddening. But at the same time, the victories are great and many, if I let Him take over me, if I run with Him. I've experienced those, too. It makes me continue to believe that this whole following Jesus is worth it and in a way that I still can't explain, extremely painful and joyful all at the same. time.