Semi’s of Life

Does anyone else have a fear of semi’s(18 wheelers)? Or is it just me?

The other day I was driving on the interstate and although I had passed who knows how many, when I was passing this one semi, I noticed my fear of them. When you pass by a semi, do any of you stay as far away from them as you can by hugging the line and maybe cross over just a little while picking up speed to get past them as soon as possible? Then, once you pass them, do you feel your chest relax and take a breath like you just avoided a huge catastrophe?

Ok good! I am not alone!

Funny thing is, I have never personally been hit or even had a close call with a semi but still fear them as though I had. I have family members and friends that have been in wrecks involving a semi but other than that my fear isn’t justified by an experience. My fear is due to intimidation. Those trucks intimidate me no matter if I am in our little Chevy Malibu or Ford Expedition because they are still exceptionally bigger and possess the ability to squash us in a heartbeat.

Just because they are bigger, does that make my fear any more reasonable? No.

How many of us have fears like this one? Whether we have experienced for ourselves or know someone who has, is it right to live life in fear and cause such turmoil when we think about it or near the thing we fear?

I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. – Psalm 3:6

Earlier that morning, while at the doctors office, I was reading Fresh Air by Chris Hodges and was reading about relationships. I was pondering how I view people and relationships. Do I fear them or embrace them? Do I have relationships but still have walls high enough to guard myself but still be able to see them and communicate? Do I want to have relationships with people or do I just have them because I feel it is a requirement of me or need them to survive this life?

So when I was passing this semi and realizing my ridiculous fear, it got me thinking about how many others treat their relationships the same way as they do semi’s? Whether we have had broken relationships ourselves or grew up seeing them so we decided to put up our own walls to protect ourselves from going through the same, broken relationships are a choice?

Granted that with every relationship there are two parties involved that have to choose to protect and when things get shaky, we choose in that moment to forgive or hold on to our unforgiveness and let the relationship disintegrate. The good news, you are always in control of your part in the relationship and if you have fulfilled that part of love and forgiveness, then what the other person chooses is out of your hands.

I am one of those people who knows my limits and if their are relationships in my life that are more work than enjoyment, it is easier for me to put less of an effort and let the relationship die. I do try to save it to an extent but I don’t go as far as I would for other relationships that I truly cherish and honestly, that are a little easier to maintain. Is that the right attitude for me to have? I don’t know yet. I am praying and seeking God to show me where I should draw my line for each relationship and the special circumstances in each. I believe that as long as we remain open to hear God and follow His leading with all things, whether we agree or not, then we can remain on the right path.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. – Matthew 18:21-22

There are always special circumstances where it is healthy for everyone to let someone relationships go or have some separation, and others that we could say would be easier to let go but worth fighting for. How do you know the difference? God will give you a peace as you seek him about each one.

There are relationships I have had to let go because we went down completely different paths and our lives didn’t mesh anymore and some I wanted to let go many times but continued fighting for with every last breath and effort because I felt my hurt and pain wasn’t enough reason to abandon them just yet.

Are relationships exhausting, painful, rocky, and risky? Absolutely!

My relationship with my husband are all those things at times but because of the devotion, love and honor we hold for each other and God is bigger than the hard days, we work through the bad days because we have so many more good days than bad. As much as semi’s intimidate me because they hold the ability to hurt me, I can never avoid them all together so with every one I get near, I have to choose to trust that they will see me and do their job to pay attention as I pass by.

Relationships are a choice to trust someone until it is broken. Will trust be broken? Most likely. Can it be rebuilt? Yes.

Although Jesus already knew Judas would betray him, He still chose to choose him as a close friend and trusted him until Judas actually betrayed him. We do not have the ability to see the future like Jesus but because we are human and we ourselves let others down, we can assume we will be let down too. But like Jesus, He still surrounded himself with many who would let him down because to walk this life alone is a lot worse than risking being let down. Why? Because you never know who will be the ones that you live life with, who will be the ones we struggle and rejoice with, who will be the ones we form such strong bonds with and know we have each other backs. Jesus had few he shared this type of relationship with but because he didn’t live in fear, he was able to find them.

The most important relationship that we have to be careful to protect and fight for daily is the one we possess with God. A lot of our relationship struggles come from the lack of connection we have with Him. We have to protect ourselves from seeing God as a semi. Because we know God is so much bigger than we could ever fathom and holds so much power, we can sometime view Him as too hard of a relationship to carry on. We fear that because he has the ability and power to hurt us, that He will if we aren’t careful. Thats when our view of God is distorted by the imperfect humans we see everyday.

As humans, we possess the same power to hurt, let down, and leave as God does. God gave us the ability to choose to use that power for good or evil every single day. Don’t view God as something to fear of what He can do in this life, see him as the Father who loves deeply and wants us to show love in return to Him and others.

Relationships will never be a cake walk, but they are what makes this life so much more meaningful. Even though I want to strangle my husband sometimes, I can’t imagine my life without him. I don’t always see eye to eye with my parents or siblings but living life without them would be harder than living with our differences.

God made us all unique and with every person comes their weaknesses and strengths. I hate to break it to you, but none of us are any easier to deal with as others are to us. If you think that others are the ones with the problems, then I suggest you take a good look in the mirror. Sometimes we are so fearful to address our own weaknesses, we take on the attitude of blaming others for their issues. We need to always remain humble to examine ourselves. My hope and prayer is that you always use Jesus to be the mirror of what you want to see looking back.

Being in relationships with anyone is about letting the walls down and making ourselves vulnerable. Scary? Yes. But with every wall you keep, the less trust can be present. Thats when we may have people all around but hide so much from them that they don’t even have the ability to speak life and love into you because you hide what you don’t want them to see for fear it makes you weaker. That is the lie. Making yourself vulnerable, actually gives you the ability to be stronger. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it get easier? Yes.

I can not choose to avoid semi’s because they are EVERYWHERE!!!! So every time I pass by one, I overcome the fear a little more with each one by making myself vulnerable to them, hoping they will see me and not use their power to change lanes whenever they wish because whatever is in the way will move or be pushed out of the way with little interference for them. Choose the same for yourself and watch how life will change and be filled with so much joy knowing you have people on your side but most of all, God on your side who just wants to know you and love you the way you want, need, and deserve.

Nothing will ever compare to walking this life locked hand in hand with others who struggle just as much as you do and need your strengths to get them through as well.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. -Ephesians 4:16

Lets be on purpose to fulfill our part!

Love

Jessica

Scales of Paul

So much about Paul(Saul) has always spoken to me and inspired me. He went through so much for the sake of Christ but still held such integrity, faithfulness, and love for God and others.

Today at church, we were singing Broken Vessels by Hillsong United and it got me thinking about Paul’s life when he was more known as Saul and feared by many for his ruthlessness towards those who followed Christ. He actually believed he was doing Gods will by persecuting, arresting, and killing others because up till then he was blinded from the truth of Gods love.

Because people had gotten away from the truth of Gods word and more into their own way, they led people like Paul to believe according to their ways. I believe that because we sometimes don’t see things through the eyes of Gods love and more of the worlds ways, we get lost along the way and eventually find ourselves lost and confused.

When I came out of my confusion and lost state a few years ago, I have pondered many times why I was so blind to the truth. I believe that there is never a true answer that can be given because each persons journey is different and the reasons behind their blindness to truth. I believe the root of it is deception. What caused the deception? That is for each individual to seek for themselves. But I do believe that the only way we can be led to such deception is our view of God.

I still have not reached true understanding of God and His thought process but I am open to seek more and more each day and because of that I can truly trust Him to lead me, provide for me, and protect me. Up until Saul became Paul, His view of God was not a God of love and forgiveness but a God of condemnation and paying for our sins. Gods ultimate goal is not only to love us but be given the opportunity to let us feel that love, grace and forgiveness. If we misconstrue God as someone who sits on His throne and points His finger at us always pointing to what we are doing wrong and have to earn His love, then deception will be evident. His love was never meant to be earned but freely given.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.                                -Galatians 1:6-7

Why can we so quickly desert the things that are good and true, but continue to allow the things that hinder, injure, and confuse to hold us in bondage?

How many of us are following what the world says is the Gospel and forget to go to the source to make sure we are being led correctly?

How many of us live our lives according to lies and misconceptions?

How many of us have fallen into the trap of living according to our desires and convenience because we see Gods commands as burdensome and too hard?

How many of us hinder ourselves from truly knowing God because we surrender to the desire to BE God, instead of surrendering to our calling to KNOW God and trust He will reveal to us the knowledge we seek when we are READY to receive it?

God already loves us with arms wide open, receive it!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8

God is our freedom from deception, lies, and condemnation!

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.   -2 Corinthians 3:17

So we come to the change of direction in Paul’s journey and beliefs when God met with him on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:3-6) I believe that we all have the potential to have a powerful encounter with God that will shed some light on our life. Whether it is as dramatic as Paul’s encounter, who knows. But any encounter with God can be just as powerful as we open ourselves to receive. When God got a hold of Paul’s attention, Paul saw the light and from that moment was humbled to let God lead him.

I believe that the blindness he was given after that encounter symbolizes his beliefs and lifestyle up till that moment. Because he was blinded(figuratively) from truth, God may have chosen to blind(literally) him so that Paul would rest his trust in God’s guidance to the truth and to be given the ability to see God rather than distracted by the world. From that moment, Paul lived a life of passion and zeal for spreading the truth and correcting his way to Gods way. Paul is one of the few I truly learn from and respect for his choice to have joy amidst struggle and pain. His choice to be faithful in trials and his choice to love when persecuted.

Paul’s story is proof that someone that deserved death and condemnation was instead given forgiveness and life. Paul is an example that God can and wants to use us all no matter what our past or present shows.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2

Paul walked out God’s commands not as a burden but as a joy of being chosen and given new life in Christ. God doesn’t want us to follow His ways out of duty but out of love and adoration.

My hope is that you see God as a God of love who just wants to give you life and freedom! I pray you surrender daily to know God personally and trust Him always even when life doesn’t make sense.

Let the scales fall from your eyes and lift your eyes upward and allow the light to envelope your entire being. I do not promise an easy road but I do promise an exciting one! Nothing is worse than walking this life alone and defeated. We may hate challenges and the unexpected but imagine how boring of a life we would live if we knew exactly, down to each second, what to expect daily! Let God give you knew meaning to life and the capability to defeat not be defeated. Amen?

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life. -Deuteronomy 30:19 

In love,

Jessica