Leaning In

I’m going to shoot you straight for a minute. Because I think we all need a little bit more honesty in our lives and, personally, I think it’s pretty refreshing to be told some truth (take my truth if you wish, this is just something I’m learning in this season).

Here’s the deal: Life is hard. Like really hard sometimes. Bone crushing, breathtakingly, painstakingly hard sometimes.

And it hits me from out of no where.

I’m a pretty joyful person. I can find something to be happy about almost ninety-nine percent of the time.

And then there are days like today. Moments like this one.

The funny thing is that nothing is wrong. My life is richly blessed. The sun is shining, I have a wonderful family, precious friends, etc. You catch my drift.

Then, out of nowhere, that evil monster of inadequacy attacks and I wasn’t prepared.

I just didn’t see it coming.

A glance at social media, a conversation that was taken the wrong way, small, insignificant things, and I’m blind-sighted by heart-gripping inadequacy.

And it sends me spiraling out of control.

I start to believe I’m not good enough, fun enough, beautiful enough, skinny enough, well-rounded enough, that my friends don’t really like me, no one will ever love me, all those happy thoughts I know you’ve though before too.

It’s crippling, isn’t it?

What the heck are we supposed to do when this happens?

When these feelings well up, when I start to believe the same lies I wage war against again and again, the only thing I know to do is to lean into Jesus.

Let me say it again: Lean. Into. Jesus.

That’s kind of hard right? Because Jesus isn’t exactly tangible. I can’t actually lean into his physical body, feel his arms embrace me in a hug, see him with my eyes.

But I’ve learned again and again, I sell myself short when I do not lean into Jesus, when I choose to lean into other things or other people.

I’m going to stop for a second and make sure it’s clear that I’m NOT saying things or people are bad: they’re great, but they’re not Jesus. I LOVE people. I have wonderful wonderful friends and I one hundred percent believe that we are called to live in community with others as we navigate this crazy life.

But most times I find myself running to my friends instead of Jesus, desperate for approval, internally pleading: affirm me, affirm me, affirm me.

And I’m crushed when they don’t acknowledge me like I want them to (which how would they know to anyways because I’m not mentioning the fact that I’m hurting, I’m just waiting for them to stop doing what they’re doing, turn to me and say, “Wow, Mary Cate, you are just so great. [insert more affirmation here]” Because their world should revolve around me feeling good about myself, right? Right?

Egocentrism at its finest.

Most of the time it’s easier for me to turn to my friends for approval than turn to the only person who approves of me every. single. time.

I then find myself in these situations, hurting and seeking affirmation from those around me, only to be hurt because they don’t notice me pain, affirm me, etc.

But guess what? That’s not their job.

I’m looking in the wrong place.

My real identity and affirmation comes from Jesus.

The truth is that I’m never going to be satisfied if I’m not going to Jesus first to hear what He has to say about me, my situation, my life, future, dreams.

And that’s scary.

But here’s what I know: Jesus LOVES me. He loves me, He loves me, He loves me. And He’s good. He’s really REALLY good.

So in these moments when life hurts, when we’re struggling to feel loved, important, noticed, I challenge you: Let’s lean into Jesus together. Let’s see what He has to say about us. It’s hard at first but once we take the time to quiet our hearts and really listen, we’re going to find that what He has to say is the sweetest and the most whole truth we can find. Our friends can’t provide it, the world certainly can’t provide it. It’s only going to come from Jesus.

This isn’t a magic formula or a chance to get the warm fuzzies from a fluffy god. Jesus doesn’t work like that. Yes, He is the kindest person that has ever walked this earth, but more importantly he is True. He even says about himself that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). We can go to him looking for warm and feel-good things to make us feel better about ourselves, but He offers something better: He offers truth. REAL truth. About you, about me. And He already has a lot of that truth written down in the Bible. But what’s even sweeter is the fact that He offers individual truth if we’re really willing to lean in hard and listen.

In moments when I feel out of control because I’m believing a lie about myself, the only thing I know to do is get in a quiet place and ask the simple question: Jesus what do you think about me? And then I just have to listen and accept the truths He’s telling me. Even in moments when I can’t quiet my heart or go off to a secluded place to be with Jesus I can bring to mind things I know to be true about Jesus and things I know to be true about myself. I KNOW Jesus is a good God, He loves me and created me, He has a plan for my life, all of His plans are perfect (even when I don’t understand), and He knows my heart better than anyone else in this world. Sometimes I can’t even articulate my pain but I know that I can cry out to Jesus, saying “Jesus, I don’t even know what is going on but I need you! I need you Jesus!” And He comes. Because He’s good and He loves me. He always comes back for me. He’s never afraid of my mess. He is never afraid or ill prepared. He will always bend down and meet me in whatever situation I’m in.

Because He’s good and He loves me.

I also know some things about myself: I am fearfully and wonderfully made, The Lord’s works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 118:24), Though I have seen trials, many and bitter, Jesus will restore my life one again (Psalm 71). I know I am a daughter of a King, I know my life has purpose and I am destined to live a life according to the Gospel. I know I am loved not only my the Creator God but by those He has placed in my life. I am secure in the love of Jesus. I don’t have to strive to be anything other than myself because God sees me as perfect and unblemished because of the blood of Jesus. I know I am saved because of what Jesus did. I know the hope that one day the world will be restored, that I get to spend all of eternity worshiping the one who is worthy of every ounce of honor and glory that ever was.

I am secure and loved in Jesus.

He sees me, He knows me, He loves me.

And He sees you and He knows you and He loves you.

He’s so good and so loving.

So in moments when we are seeking affirmation from the world, let’s stop. Let’s stop and turn our gaze back to Jesus and as that simple question:

Jesus, what do you have to say about me?

Be blessed my friends.

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A quiet moment just today when I had to stop and ask Jesus to remind me once again what he thinks about me. I’m so thankful for these sweet and painful moments that allow me to lean into Jesus. (Reading Psalm 57)

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3 thoughts on “Leaning In

  1. A friend of mine posted a link to your blog today … And it SO, so perfectly reflected my heart! Thank you for writing what I’ve been struggling to put into words … And for sharing TRUTH.

    1. This was very good. People really do need to start turning to Jesus more instead of those around them. You only find you true identity in Him. One thing that would really make this article stick would be to speak a little about repenting and turning to Jesus. Yes He loves us, Yes He delights in us turning to Him, but deep inside we have filth that God cannot gaze upon, so we need to turn back to Him, and, repent. This is better explained in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14. Great article. Hope people will live it out.

    2. Such sweet truth that I never have, never will, and never should grow tired of hearing. Thanks for sharing and shootin’ it straight ;D Thanks for letting the Lord speak through you!

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