Let me clear up a little misunderstanding. Christians don’t have their act together. Sometimes people think this is the case. Often, we think it’s right and proper for you to believe this about us.
If there is a magic Christian potion that makes everything perfect, point me to the online store and I’ll order that right up.
But let me assure you, life doesn’t work that way. Not even for a Believer.
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world." John 16:33 (HCSB)
Jesus shared these words with his disciples at the last supper. Even those who find themselves a part of the inner circle aren’t excluded.
Life is hard in a fallen world.
What Jesus does offer is His peace. He reminds us He’s conquered the world. And this process is not completed yet. But there’s reasons for that too.
I have Christian friends who struggle with mental illness, anxiety, physical illness and relationship troubles. In the past week, we’ve had several deaths in our community. A local pastor just lost his son to an unspeakable tragedy. A business caught fire.
A book I read over the weekend told the story of a wildly popular speaker on the Christian women’s conference circuit who had to overcome agoraphobia before she could step into the calling God had for her. Patsy Clairmont tells her story in You Are More Than You Know: Face Your Fears, Grow Stronger.* One reader will win a copy of this book! Enter below.
“I’m the girl who went from a vow to spend my life hiding in my bed to eventually become the woman who has hot-footed it back and forth across America and beyond for almost four decades speaking to literally millions of women.”
You know what I appreciated most about her book? She never tried to come across as fixed. No hint of perfection to be found. Her story teaches us that getting better is hard work. She still has relapses. Her troubles will never go away this side of glory.
“For God has not given us a spirt of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
This book offers practical advice on how we can face the struggles in our lives. Even the debilitating ones. She takes you through the steps she took to get better. Not that everyone’s road to recovery will look exactly the same. But the advice she offers is solid and all grounded in Scripture.
Here are some examples:
“I had to give up calling myself stupid, dumb, and ugly every time I made a mistake or passed a mirror.”
“I had no idea that I could command my muscles to move and that they would obey, even when my emotions were throwing a hissy-fit inside of me.”
“I would have to will myself to sit quietly and think on things that were calming.”
“I’d clean out a messy drawer to distract myself or I’d bake a pie so I had a positive/visible result from my efforts.”
We Christians have never been any good at perfect. No matter what we try to tell you with our words or actions.
“I used to think it was all up to God, but now I believe that we are invited by our heavenly Father to join in our own recovery by our choices.”
What we do offer is hope. As I spend my morning in reflective prayer over the tragedies I’ve learned about from the weekend, God whispers this word to my spirit repeatedly.
My favorite story from the book tells of a dark, scary time in Patsy’s life. Her son was in a coma for twenty-one days and the doctors held out little hope. She and her husband took a walk down the hallway of the hospital wing, because, in her words, “they were about to implode.” While sitting in silence at the end of the hallway, they heard someone singing a hymn. For me, the words of these timeless hymns offer such comfort.
There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low,
‘Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still,
In all of life’s ebb and flow.’
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest Name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go.
“He Keeps Me Singing” (Luther B. Bridgers - 1910)
* I received a copy of "You Are More Than You Know: Facing Your Fears, Grow Stronger," written by Patsy Clairmont, from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. Italicized quotes are either Bible verses, book quotes from the author or lyrics to a hymn. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Further, I was invited to participate in a First Look blog tour for this book. Worthy Publishing has also given me an advanced copy of this book. I'm pleased to give it away to one of my readers. Enter to win the book below.