Purely Personal Pieces

Deconstructing Difficult


by Emmanuelle Gomez & Gia Garcia

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We dislike difficult.

Difficult disrupts what was once peaceful. Difficult is uncomfortable, unpleasant, painful.

No matter how strong or unfazed we’d like to be as Christians, we are still humans and are not devoid of emotions; there is no point in denying that difficulty affects us just as much as it does anyone else.

When we think about it though, more often than not, it is not really the difficult we dislike; it is the feeling–of discomfort, of sadness, of restlessness, of helplessness, of pain that comes with the struggle, of anxiety amidst the waiting, of fear of not overcoming. We get overwhelmed by challenges because the difficult intimidates our soul. Oh, if we could only go through them without feeling their weight!

But as Christians, we have Jesus, whom by nature was 100% God, and also 100% human–not devoid of the very same emotions you and I feel today. He was not exempt from facing challenges and struggles. He wept when Lazarus, his best friend, passed away. He felt offense and anger when he saw that his Father’s temple was becoming a “den of robbers.” Above all, he knew he was to face suffering, and at Gethsemane even pleaded three times with his Father to take the suffering away. He felt every lash, every thorn, every nail. On the cross, He felt the weight of our sin. And even in his final moments he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Did Jesus like difficult? Apparently not. But He did not opt for what’s easy.

“Your will be done,” Jesus prayed to his Father in Gethsemane. Before his final breath on the cross, while carrying the pain of his torn flesh and the weight of our sin, his final words were “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” He endured his life with each challenge and suffering, and every unpleasant emotion that came with it. He endured, not because he liked difficult, but because above anything else he wanted his Father’s will–to reconcile the world back to God. That sacrifice was the very expression of God’s constant, unfailing, and unchanging love for us–that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What does this mean for us?

This means that because Jesus endured the most difficult, painful, and gruesome sacrifice, our “difficult” has long been overcome;

This means that a struggle can intimidate us, but it can never defeat us, because Jesus already faced and embraced what was most painful so we can live–and live victorious!

May we ever remember that a change in our circumstance does not change the faithfulness of God. Difficulties are not proof that God’s love for us fluctuates. Rather, difficulties expose our fluctuating faith while proving that God is just as faithful to us in our trial as He is in our breakthrough. Let it be that when we face difficulties of all sorts, we respond like Christ, in complete surrender and trust in God, with a desire for our Father’s will to be done, knowing that in every circumstance we are already coming from a position of victory.

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Purely Personal Pieces

Keep Calm. You Are Loved.


What makes you anxious? What are you most afraid of?

Yesterday, I was asked to do something that made me so restless. In my head, I knew there was no reason to feel that way, but my soul – my emotions – say otherwise.

This morning, while waiting for my turn to do what I was tasked to do, I felt like there was a lump in my throat, my whole was body shaking, my thoughts were afloat. Man, was I anxious and panicky and afraid! And the thought of me having to do the task twice made breathing extra hard.

And then the lyrics that silenced my soul’s unrest was sung:

Even when I fail you
I know you love me.

I thought I was anxious because I feared I would fail. I realized later that I feared because I had forgotten how loved I am.

Before the song ended, I knew why He wanted me to do what I feared to do. He wanted me to know that He loves me – even before I do anything, even if I fail.

I was anxious and fearful because while my head knows that my Father loves me, my soul needed some more assurance and reassurance. While I was singing along with those lines, I heard Him whisper:

Do you really know how much I love you? Do you know in your heart, not just in your head, that I love you despite of, in spite of, regardless?

What makes you anxious? What are you most afraid of?

1 John 4:18 says “…perfect love drives out fear.”

Do you know how much He loves you? Do you know in your heart, not just in your head, that Jesus’ love for you is perfect despite of, in spite of, regardless? Would you allow His love to calm all your fears?

zeph

 

God's Love, Love

To the Eager, the Scared, and the Apathetic (Part 1 of 3)


At the mention of love, I have come to observe the response of three. This is a note for each one.

TO THE APATHETIC

The neglect of something does not nullify its existence.

You probably have come to dread the beginning of February and are mostly thankful that it is the shortest month of the year and you can’t wait for the appearance of hearts and flowers and cheesy posts to significantly decrease by the first week of March.

There are a myriad of reasons to say that the world’s celebration of love for an entire month year after year is pointless, that it is a waste of time, that it is but a huge marketing ploy: There is so much hate around. Countries are at war. Friendships fail. Relationships don’t work out.

But if we come to think of it, the inverse of what makes us lose our faith in love spells the difference. There is so much hate around, countries are at war, friendships fail, relationships don’t work out because people fail to love.

To genuinely, sacrificially, selflessly love – that is our weakness. And then, Love came. Jesus came to demonstrate in flesh how His power is strongest where we are weakest.

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

Romans 5:8, NIV

Someone treasured you at your messiest, fixed His gaze on you with utmost affection at your darkest, died for you despite of, in spite of.

The neglect of something does not nullify its existence.

Your neglect of Christ’s love does not nullify His love for you.

Believe that you are genuinely, sacrificially, and selflessly loved and you will begin to believe in love again.