Jesus. Critics. & Mondays

Mondays for me are quite unlike Mondays for the rest of the world.

I have most Mondays off work, so I treat them like Saturdays. This Monday I’m spending trying to accomplish everything that I’ve forsaken in the mad rush I’ve dashed through this past week.

This past week I’ve dealt with a lot of difficult situations. Working in retail can drive a person insane sometimes. Other times it turns into something worthwhile and meaningful.

I met Theresa this past week. She had a pile of dresses to try on in the fitting room and she wanted my advice on how everything fit. She thanked me graciously upon deciding to purchase a chic maroon V-neck Dolan dress. These dresses are phenomenal I’m coming to realize. Every woman falls in love with them once she tries one on. And somehow, it’s more meaningful when the customer is an extraordinary person who makes the effort to make friends with you.

Regardless of how annoyed I get at all of the entitleds, I’m realizing that it comes with the territory. They’re not all angelic or demonic. They’re just people. With similar struggles I deal with and situations that may spiral out of their control, similar to mine.

We all deal with adversity differently. Call it what you want: suffering, pain, tribulation.

I’ve only skimmed the surface at twenty-something, but I’m realizing that when people storm through our store, castigating us with their cruel words, demanding and ordering us to style their wardrobes for them, they too have suffering and pain and insecurity and pride clinging to their hearts.

Compassion always seemed so understandable when I was younger. It made sense. Of course you need to give that person without money some water or a few dollars to buy some food. Yes, you should go up and talk with the girl that is all alone in the room. Of course.

But showing compassion to rude people isn’t only one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it feels almost completely impossible. Not only do they feign as though they wield power over me through their heartless words and actions, but I let them. They order me around and point out my flaws and cut to my weakness. And I let it eat at my heart. At my joy. At my confidence.

But nothing can separate me from the confidence I have in Christ Jesus. That is where I’m struggling today. I know that critical words and rude actions have no power over me in Christ, but lately I’ve been living as though those people dictate my life. And my joy.

People are lousy gods. But even more – when we allow ourselves to be dictated by others’ approval, we sink into discontentment. Because we can never measure up to them. We can never completely win the approval of anyone. No matter how hard we strive for perfection. There will always be something about us that falls short.

If anything, I want to remind you today that yes, you are going to have critics in your life. And trials. There are going to be waves in this world that will beat you back and tear down your determination to move forward. But you’ve got to move forward. I’ve got to, too.

Jesus came so we didn’t have to strive…He came so we could be set free from trying to live up to God’s standards. He already knows that we fall short. But when we come to Him, He comes and changes us. Offers us His perfect character. Right now I’m realizing I need to stop striving so much and forgetting who I am. I belong to Jesus. It doesn’t matter if my life makes no sense. If I’m struggling financially and relationally. It doesn’t matter if people tear me apart. Don’t trust me. Don’t believe in me. There are always going to be people like that.

Today, I hope you remember that if you know Christ, that you don’t have to strive for perfection. Measuring up to our own high standards or others’ high standards is so burdensome. It’s like dragging a weight around each day. I’ve felt it. But right here, I’m giving it over to Jesus. Because He promises to carry burdens we can’t carry. And He fulfills God’s righteous requirement. He came to give us abundant life. Not an easy one. But a dependent one.

Maybe the path you’re walking is really dark today.. Please know that Jesus came to save you. He’s right there with you. And He won’t ever let go of you. It doesn’t matter the pressure. Give it to Him. He will carry it and you and won’t ever let go of you.

 

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