I was mindlessly watching TNT last night (I’m into a few shows on there lately) when a commercial for 50 Shades of Grey the movie came on. I don’t know why I was startled, as any book series that generates so much money and controversy will logically be parlayed into an equally lucrative film in time. It’s the way of our world. But, for whatever reason I felt gripped with some emotion that is hard to put my finger on- part sadness, part alarm- and my immediate thought was,
this is not what life is about.
I am awake in my messy house with three children still asleep at 9:30am. Teenagers love the summer! I have loved it too this year, maybe more than ever before, simply for the time I have been able to spend with these kids. We have watched a billion movies and gone to the local pool and eaten on the back porch (I insist upon it and they complain it’s too hot, but they’ll thank me later). We have had a lot of conversations that have been good, and just as many that have not felt like anything close to brilliant parenting. I have apologized for impatience and over reacting. They have apologized for attitudes. We have
complained talked together about not going to the beach this year. My oldest and I have both been moved to tears by God’s work in our church and his life over this summer. We planned to paint a bedroom, but ran out of funds for that project. We went dorm room shopping and had so much fun! We went grocery shopping every 3 hours. (okay, fine it was twice a week. But it feels very much like I have been at Kroger 672 times already this summer) We survived a month long grounding of the middle and actually saw some positive moments in it. We have missed my beloved terribly as he is holed up studying for a gigantic test and we see him rarely right now. My garbage disposal is broken. My mailbox saga continues. There are doctor appointments and orthodontist appointments and eye appointments.
And in the middle of all this there is life. Beautiful, messy, difficult, thrilling, mundane and extraordinary.
The life Jesus died to give us- abundant, free, purposeful, joyful- is not found in our circumstances. It does not come to us through striving to create it. It is not about how things feel moment to moment. It is found in Him. Jesus did not say he would show us the way. He said he is the Way. And the Truth. And the Life. I see all around me the way this world tempts me to find life outside of Jesus. If only my house could be updated- then I’d be happy. If only my kids would always be respectful- then I’d be content. If only my bank account could have a little more in savings- then I’d feel less worried. If only I could lose these 7 lbs around my middle- then I’d feel excited. Lies. Every one of them. Because every time I achieve one of these goals, a brand new one will pop up and I am back to the hamster wheel- racing to get the next thing that promises life. These are temporary fixes for an eternal problem. I was created, you were created for something bigger than momentary happiness and quick breaths of relief. We were created to love and worship the One who loved us first. In Him, we find meaning in all things. In Him, we quit striving to make our lives about our own story and get swept up into His big beautiful story.
An exciting sex life is fun. But it is nothing to build your life on. A big, fat savings account is nice. But it could change in a minute- there is no security found there. Well behaved children are a relief. But they will give way to their own sinful natures at some point and your emotions will be tied to a roller coaster of their behavior if your hope rests on them. There is only one solid Rock my sisters. Health, money, beauty, relationships, careers, homes and feelings- they are all shifting sand. They cannot hold the weight of your life.
My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.