The struggle is real. We all want to improve, get better, be better. For ourselves, for God (had to put that spiritual one in there) and so that the world will take notice of our awesomeness. But it always seems like we are somewhere in between who we are and who we want to become.
This proposes a problem: discontentment, disillusionment and ultimately disappointment in ourselves and our progress. We are all our own worst critics.
How do we bridge the gap between the here and now and all we long to become?
Work harder? Do more? Be more spiritual? Read more self-help books? No.
What's that you say? Yes, relationship. And to be clear, I mean your relationship with Jesus.
Maybe this seems WAY too simple because I'm not giving you 10 steps to become all that you want to be. But think about it for a moment, when you're in a true, loving, unbroken relationship through the highs and lows, the good, bad and the ugly, you can't help but flourish along the journey.
And let's take note - all of our relationships with Jesus look very different, so no comparison allowed. Just like my relationship to each of my 4 children is very diverse, yet not lacking (to the best of my ability) in the love and connection department.
Have a read of John 15:1-9 in the message to see what I'm talking about.
John 15:1-9 The Message
1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
9 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love."
If we can bridge the gap in our minds, realizing that life is the JOURNEY and that we never "arrive" at our destination until we breathe our last breath, then a Holy contentment can come into our lives in any season. Whether we are being pruned and "cut back" or flourishing hard core with tons of fruit to give away, or somewhere in between. Every season and moment has it's purpose if we allow it to.
We can be content in our season, but not satisfied to remain there. It's a tension and it's one we need to get comfortable in. This Christian life at times feels like walking on a tight rope, balancing and constantly keeping our core strong... I just want to encourage you and say, "Keep on going! You've so got this!"
Take a moment and think about your relationship with Jesus - no condemnation allowed. I'm not talking about your time card with Jesus or how long you've spent reading your bible, praying, or sitting still in His presence. I'm talking about defining the relationship at present, without flogging yourself and jumping down into a religious pit.
Evaluate where you're at and what you need to deeply connect with Him. When I need to connect with a good friend I haven't hung out with in a long time, or simply need a night away with my husband, it usually comes when I realize there's a need to connect in a certain way to see the relationship grow and flourish.
So what does that look like for you right now in this season with Jesus? Whatever it is, do that. Grow your love and connection to Him. Stop comparing yourself and your relationship with Jesus to someone else. You do you and simply put, make yourself at home in His love.