Counting As Loss

I never knew I could deceive myself so well.

That I could take such a good look at myself in the mirror and forget to even deal with the condition of my soul. Maybe this sounds deep for a Saturday morning, but after last night, I feel compelled to write this. As though maybe the thoughts that are all disjointed can coalesce into something meaningful. That maybe then, I’ll be able to say, yes, that’s what I’m thinking, that’s what I need to change, that’s where I’m struggling and goodness I’ve never looked at myself so clearly as last night.

I spent the evening with a good friend that I’ve made in the NOVA area this past year. I have learned so much from her. I’ve learned that brokenness displays beauty more vibrantly than any mascara ever could. I learned that pain leads us to empathy and love and when it breaks you down, it leads you closer to Him. And that when we talk about how God is working in our lives and how He’s changing us and how He loves us, these aren’t just words that we reiterate in church, but they’re actions.

And this friend has been living them out in a powerful way.

The truth is that I don’t want to admit what I struggle with most of the time. I like keeping up a front so that nobody worries about me and that everybody’s happy. I know it sounds manipulative and pathetic, maybe. It mostly stems from my insecurity. I want people to love me and I’m terrified of being exposed for who I truly am. I think we all are, maybe, but last night I realized how much weight I put on what people think. How obsessed I’ve become with trying to look and be perfect when I’m so broken.

You see, I’ve followed Jesus for years, but this past year I’ve struggled with so much. I’ve struggled with believing that He loves me. I’ve struggled with believing that despite what His word says, He just wants my life to be filled with pain. I’ve been blessed more than I can imagine or deserve,  but for some reason I kept looking at the painful moments and pointing them out to Him and pleading for Him to take it away. Asking Him why. And when He wouldn’t answer, I was devastated.

But last night, my friend reminded me of God’s love for me. That He is for me. That even though this is such a deep, dark season, He is the one who has the last word over my life.

I’ve battled with this because I’ve heard so often the same clichés. Their script is so familiar and sometimes too painful. But I realized so clearly last night that I’ve chosen to doubt God. I’ve chosen to give up. The Enemy’s lies sounded more believable than my Father’s promises. Because I couldn’t feel them. Or experience them.

And this has led me to a verse in Philippians that has been threading through my thoughts this morning. Phil 3:7-8:

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss [a]in view of the surpassing value of [b]knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, [

Because everything Paul had couldn’t measure up to the great worth of knowing Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he didn’t hold back telling the Philippians that all his credentials, everything he could boast in, all of that was a loss to him. These verses penetrated my heart because I realize just how often I count my intelligence, my looks and all of these superficial things as more important than Jesus. A lot of times, I just see Jesus as a part of my life, but to be able to say that all of these outward things are a loss compared to Christ? It exposed the shallowness of my faith.

This is a season of endings. It’s a season of being broken. But it’s also a season of seeing clearly that anything we think gives us meaning and identity and purpose apart from God holds no value.

Compared to knowing Him and following after Him and obeying His will even when it breaks off from my own will (which is so painful), all of the things I’ve chased after in this world are a loss.

Our appearances, our careers, how well liked we are, our grades, our status, the attention we can get from our peers or from someone in the workplace, our possessions, anything we boast in in this world and in our flesh – God calls us to something deeper. He gives us so much value and worth. He is our treasure and reward. In Him, all of those things can’t even begin to measure up.

This is a season of redemption. I want to be able to say that these things are loss to the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  I hope that when you come to a season of brokenness you can see it as an opportunity, too. And count it all as loss to knowing Him.

 

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