a hard-knock life...my greater than

So we just finished an excellent topical teaching on "greater than". . . The typical sermon that one would expect to hear on Easter Sunday didnt have a chance with what we experienced today. And Im still having a difficult time articulating it.

You see, a few weeks ago, we were introduced to the idea of "greater than"  My God is greater than... and then one would finish the statement.
"My God is greater than...
        ...my struggling marriage"
        ...my addiction to alcohol"
        ...my obsession with anxiety and gossip
        ...my parkinsons
        ...my sister's abusive husband
        ...my fear of pregnancy going bad
        ...my eating disorder
        ...our fight for our kids
        ...our athiest and god-condeming work environment"

...and on and on the comments go.  Most of these you see are comments of areas God has OVERCOME and areas people have seen God move and how great he is to have proved himself "greater than"  and yet, the reality that many of us face, and the reality that many of us are continuing to face seem unmanageable.  Daunting. and Never-ending.

I know its easy for everyone to see how great we seem through amazing facebook posts and pictures of happy little families going trick-or-treating, or out for St. Patty's Day parades and fun with friends and family.  I Love my workouts I get to enjoy, and the travels from Mountain days on the hill shredding the gnar;) or even flying to the other coast to visit friends and find excuses for Happy Hours and Play dates with the kids, or even Coffee with old roommates or long-time mentors and friends... MOST OF LIFE can be seen as FUN and Light and fluffy when we let it!  And thats what pictures and posting fun

moments on social media is all about, right?  Often times, we find it funny and talk about how much we loathe seeing someone air their laundry out on Facebook for all to read "what a bad day they're having" or "how depressed they are because the sheets they bought came in the wrong color to clash with their themed room" or they share too much info about how they hate their boss or that their neighbor's dog wont quit barking, or something....
 We get it!  We ALL have the daily annoyances and we definitely dont like to be around complainers or gossips, so Id guess that most would agree; Laundry should go in the hamper and NOT on facebook! Agree?  ha. . . .

I WILL say, though, to promote a bit of Social media and why it really IS pretty GREAT is when there is a desperate need for prayer (like a diagnoses of cancer or a severe car accident and its a way of reaching people to get word out fast! In fact, we totally did this for a very close friend who lost her home to a fire and we wanted to rally around her in support and prayer!! It was awesome to see so many people support my dear friend:) AND so many of the joyful things shared through social media are encouraging quotes, funny pictures, even really cool videos!

This is part of where our society is at!
Being in the loop of hot topics and trending items help!!  Plus who doesnt love to learn about really cool new communities of people changing the world through the arts and instagram? #Socality!
Or ways to get involved and save lives? #Sevenly' weekly causes about trafficking and autism or bullying and more.  #TWOLHA #Toms #InvisibleChildren #FFH #iempathize #cleanwater
ahhhh, theres so many great things going on today and if we're not careful to pay attention on some of the trending topics or opportunities to get involved, we might even miss RAD Ideas or ways to make a difference.

BUT theres also a price to pay if we're not careful, and we become more about the social media aspect of life, how many likes or follows we get, than actually doing life and actually being PART OF life with others and before others.  I think the dangerous thing about social media is our tendency to show off how great life really is to everyone, so we're expected to be this in person too.  Im sorry, I should correct myself to say "how great life really LOOKS" and we completely miss opportunities to live in authentic community before people and with others.

There's something about doing life WITH people that the ability to keep the facebook facade can only last so long.  I dont know about you, but I think we all LONG for a community of people we can be completely ourselves and completely raw before others.  Not through facebook through status updates about "woah is my hard-knock-life"  but we all want to belong to a handful of friends and family where we can not only be broken and messy when we need to be. BUT, also just REAL and we can laugh and celebrate and experience and DO LIFE with people who will love and embrace us for WHO we are IN the THICK of life!

I said above, that I think its easy for people to see the 2 dimensional 'idea' of who we are on facebook and then get stuck in the comparison trap or even the thought that they somehow are missing out on life because they missed a BBQ or a get-together, or for many people, they somehow have 101 best friends they think they know intimately when in person you cant hold a candle to a conversation that really engages much about life with that person that's the bestie on the other side of the computure screen. . . .

Now, here's where I get real:  I had a funny interaction with one of my church leaders the other week and he mentioned he was living vicariously through my instagram posts because of how much of the world im getting to see!  He asked if I was insanely rich or a trust-fund baby or something along those lines to afford all my travels, to which I laughed it off and replied "dont be jealous.  It may look super fun and glamorous, but its because of work opportunities that take me to and fro, AND when I come home, Im insanely broke..." WHICH was a real answer.

This past week of my life, I got to experience some really cool moments in Florida on the wakeboard boat, at the skatepark, and even near the beach and at some really artistic but sketchy scenes for a killer project Im working on for an Action Sports Camp Promo Video!!  (SUPER AMPED ABOUT!!)

Buuuuut what Instagram and facebook, even twitter, won't tell you is that in the midst of these crazy fun adventures for work, I was struggling internally. And Deeply.

I've had incredible conversations in the last 4days with strangers and even new friends about the God I love and the Jesus I know, and how I've seen him move and experienced his hand in ways I couldnt fathom in my past.  I've seen him provide at the drop of a hat, I've moved and suddenly found work and a place to live all in the same day.  I've even obeyed in a conversation relationally speaking that I was terrified to have and saw God's faithfulness in his restoration and redemption of that relationship after years and YEARS of hardship!! I've seen babies healed from skin problems, and cancers cured.  I've FELT God's presence and I've seen His provision... 
and in themidst of complete and utter brokenness I've felt his hand and his heart and I believe I've seen and experienced things a little closer to his heart because of prayers I've prayed before too.  

Now I was just telling a friend how bipolar my prayer life feels:
Omygosh, Im freaked out. Lord where are you?  
You provided last week, Thank you!
Where are you now?  

I have FAITH!  
I doubt. 
Im afraid, no wait, I have courage!  
I can do this forever!  
Lord get me out of this...

And on and on my prayers go... You see, in a matter of days I went from Praising God to wondering where he is, and telling the Lord I need to see you in this to thanking him for showing up!
With some of the very scary realities and insecurities I face today, I can relate with so many of you reading this by saying:

The Lord HAS TO BE GREATER THAN My Reality OR I dont know how I will continue on...

I wont get into the depth of details on everything, BUT there are some very REAL and Tangible miracles I would love to see and know He's at work on but in part of my life and my testimony perhaps that is an area for him to shine through on so other's can actually see and wonder -   and in it ALL, I choose to surrender!!!  I choose to give my idols up and over to someone way greater than my problems are.

We just finished EASTER Sunday where we were reminded not only did Christ come to give us life and life to the FULL (Jn 10:10)  BUT He overcame the Grave and was GREATER THAN Death on a cross. . .
After many of Jesus' disciples decided to turn back and Un-follow Christ  (they had just seen and heard a lot of his miracles and the feeding of the 5000, but when they learned what it would take to truly follow Jesus, they began to grumble.  Because of how heavy and hard he would be to follow Christ, they decided to turn away)
Christ challenges his apostles, the twelve, and he asks them too:

          You're not thinking about leaving too, are you?

And in today's moment that I face, whether its on on Facebook or instagram or in an everyday conversation, while life may look dandy and totally great, I'd be lieing if I said I haven't thought about it....
for a moment.
maybe two or three.
Even reconsidered after things dont go my way, my financial stress isnt solved, my health scare is still there, my relational struggles are still present, and/or i have no idea where the heck God is and or how he is at work behind the scenes!!

I dont feel him at times and I question why I still wrestly with WHEN regarding my career and lovelife.... and just the very question of WHY IS IT SO HARD?!?!

But then, I conclude, like Peter: WHOM Shall I serve?  If not Jesus then Who?! And if not this, then What??  

If I were honest with you, I struggle with not feeling an immediate answer to my problems and being in a place where things totally and utterly stink, but what He is doing, I KNOW is so much more grand and glorious than anything I've been invited to!  Even while I am idling, I wish my struggles and thoughts would go away - but I KNOW God is still Good and he still has a plan.  JUST LIKE He did when Lazarus died.  Mary and Martha wondered why he didnt come through while Lazarus was still sick, and Jesus wanted to SHOW OFF, not just show up.  

Jesus gives us an opportunity to live for something, rather than live for nothing.  We have been invited to be part of something SO MUCH BIGGER than what we're able to live for ourselves, and our God is totally at work!  We have been invited to something SO BIG and to be part of His story!! As Andy Stanley puts it:  "We've been invited to a Grand and Glorious narrative that began with creation and was hilighted when Jesus died for the sins of this world,  and we've been given the opportunity to follow the savior of this world.  And WHO are we going to follow if we're not going to follow Christ??"

HE IS GREATER THAN our problems!!!!  And I've decided to stop telling God how big my problems are and actually start telling my problems how big my GOD IS!

Before I sign off.... I want to leave you with this.  It's an excerpt I get weekly from a rad ministry where we fast and pray over our futures, our future spouse, and that he would make us more willing to walk where he goes, and the author today writes this below.  (Even today its still hard for me to trust and FULLY believe the promises of God, but my prayer is "Lord, I believe, just help my unbelief"  and in the midst of my insecurities and doubt, I know he is greater than those, so my invite is for him to totally wreck my doubt and surprise me, like he did when he showed up to the apostles after having risen from the grave!)

I pray speaks to your heart like it did mine -- And I continue to press in... Hanging on to his promises!

After seeing the empty tomb, they went home and locked the door.
How did Jesus react to the disciples’ doubt? How does Jesus react to my doubt?From John 20:On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  
The doors were locked, but Jesus came in anyway. 
There is no part of your life and heart that Jesus can’t enter and redeem.Jesus can go where no one else can go. He can go where no counselor can go. He can go where no doctor can go. He can go where no lover can go. He can reach you, and reach into you, anywhere and any time. There is no place where you are, and no depths of personhood that you are which Jesus can’t penetrate. Jesus' resurrection from the dead fits him to do what no one else can do. There is no one else like him in all the universe. He is alive, and he is the one and only God-Man. What he is capable of you cannot imagine. And it is a healing wonder to contemplate that all the complex layers of your life, which neither you nor anyone else can understand, are familiar territory to him. 
The disciples were afraid, but Jesus didn’t wait. Jesus meets you in your fear and works in your heart now. And what Jesus is saying in this action is: I come to my own when they are afraid. I don’t wait for them to get their act together. I don’t wait for them to have enough faith to overcome fear. I come to help them have enough faith to overcome fear. 
The disciples were alone, but then, Jesus stood in their midst. Jesus is with you in the middle of your joy and your heartache. He came right into the middle of their meeting. He did not come to the edge and call out through the wall and deal with them as a distant deity. He wasn’t playing games with them. He wasn’t toying with their faith. He wanted them to see him and know him and believe in him and love him… [Jesus] has come to you — close to you, not calling to you from a distance, but coming right into your midst. 
We can’t know exactly how the Lord will answer our Monday prayers, but we can know that Jesus is going to into every locked door of our heart and every fear of being alone and unloved—filling us with all the power of the resurrection.
 Happy Easter!


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