Roller coasters can be great thrills, can’t they? The clinking of the chains as it slowly gains track up that first hill is too much anticipation to stand. Once the cart makes it over that first peak, hearts will drop and eyes will get wide as the ride rockets into twists and turns. The highs are a beautiful thing as you feel you can almost reach up and touch the clouds. The lows can seem scary as you stare at the earth and pray the coaster doesn’t suddenly malfunction…you may even be saying a quick little prayer…or other, er’ choice words 😉 as the dip takes you into that winedy upside loop.
Life’s roller coaster’s aren’t nearly as fun. The great thrills in life may be just as “thrilling”, but man o’ man the dips, twists, and loops are enough to break us sometimes. Instead of going through these turbulent changes at lightning speed, they seem to go as slow as that first beginning hill with the chains clinking every step of the way. Sometimes, our coaster may even seem to stop altogether filling our hearts with anxiety, regret, and most of all our faith plummets faster than Acraphobia free falls.
One day, I got tired of living this way. I knew that life was a roller coaster and I knew the old saying, “if you aren’t in a storm you are getting ready for one”, but I was over how much power circumstances played in my life. If joy is supposed to remain in hard times as it does in good times, why couldn’t it be true for me? I battled with this idea during a season that seemed to be more like a lifetime than a season and I was at my breaking point with God. Everyday it was the same dialogue, “Why, God, why? What are you trying to teach me through this? I am ready to learn the lesson, just explain it to me. Rescue me from my misery”. I was tired of saying it and I am sure God was banging his head on his heavenly wall in frustration from hearing it.
And then one day, I changed my perspective. I sat and I thought about how much Jesus loved me to sacrifice himself. I was enough for Him. The person I was/am was enough to fill Jesus with a heart full of love even though I am not worthy. Did I truly feel this way about Him? If my life was stripped raw of every single thing…the messy stuff…my husband…my hobbies…my food…my independence…my dreams…my hopes…my babies…If all of that were stripped away…would Jesus be enough? I had to answer it brutally honest with a big fat NO. I needed those things to make me feel alive. Jesus was not enough for me. It was a paradigm shift in my way of thinking and it humbled me.
As a Christian, I love to think that Jesus is the sustainer of life. When I say “life”, it includes life as I know it, or life as I hope it to be. But, what if I believe He is the sustainer of my being with nothing attached like a pricey tag hanging on the side? Since this realization, “Jesus being enough” is my measuring stick. I question myself daily with my actions and thoughts. Am I putting Him first? Would my life look any different if all the things of the world were stripped away and all I had left was Jesus standing before me holding my hand? I was able to say a different answer this past Easter for the first time. I actually started to feel guilty because it was Easter and I was serving with the student ministry. I felt guilty because it was a Sunday like any other Sunday and I felt it should be more because it was EASTER! And then it hit me…my days are lived differently now. I don’t look for the “camp high” on special occasions. Everyday I am living in Jesus’ presence and I am doing my best to measure my life against my “Jesus being enough” measuring stick.
I established a new foundation. Admitting that Jesus wasn’t enough was exactly what I needed to make that roller coaster ride pull into the station and unlock the seatbelt. The roller coaster keeps going, but my theme park is enough to sustain the thrill… My Jesus is enough to sustain my joy.