Do you ever sit back and wonder when life became so complicated? Like when you start to analyze the web that has become our lives and start to pull apart the strands only to realize that there are knots you can’t untie? Our jobs, our time, our spirituality, physical activity and our diets feel like a complicated mess that roll us up and weigh us down.
Life was so much simpler when we were younger. My 4 ½ year old can easily find “solutions” to the biggest messes. It was cold out, and he told my wife that they should just cut up some cardboard boxes and wear them as jackets to stay warm. “We have coats,” she replied. “I know mommy, but it would just be WAY easier for us to cut up some boxes.”
The simplicity of streamlining ideas migrates into our early careers. Solving problems is as easy as taking that textbook answer on process we learned in college and applying it overnight in the company we just started working for. “What do you mean there are 5 decision makers I need to sell this idea on to change the current process? Can’t you see how good my idea is?!”
2016 was another hard year on me. God spent a lot of time showing me how my simple ideas and youthful thinking didn’t always translate into reality. This applied to my relationships, my work, and my overall thoughts on life. My pride was put in check on a continuous basis as I tried things that had always worked in the past and I was greeted with failure.
Reflecting on things at the beginning of this new-year, I keep coming back to a moment in time two years ago that I am convinced God is still showing me how to live out.
Two years ago while working at another firm, I had a co-worker undermine my role and position within that firm and cause a lot of pain, bitterness and anger. While I do not have an enormous ego, my pride was absolutely crushed through it all and I didn’t know what to do. We drove to church that weekend and I told Julie how mad and bitter I was and how much it hurt inside.
Steaming about the situation, I sat down in the auditorium while Julie went to drop Micah off in Children’s church and I heard an audible voice.
“It’s time to die to yourself Tim”
I immediately turned around to see who spoke to me but no one was there. I heard the voice again.
“It’s time to die to yourself Tim”
Realizing that God had just literally spoke to me, tears started to flow down my face as something amazing happened. It all went away. The bitterness, the deep pain, all of it.
The sermon started. The topic? Baptism. Dying to yourself. Letting the Lord truly take over.
I’m convinced there was a deep change in my heart that day, and the bitterness inside was gone. What I am realizing now is that dying to myself goes much deeper than dying to one situation or area of my life. Birth in Christ is death to my own flesh. Nothing is more evident than this past year where areas I surrendered to the Lord’s will brought success, and things I tried to do on my own failed miserably.
I am learning to trust his path but it’s not all that simple. While life is incredibly complex, this year I am choosing to make an effort to let God’s will be done, AND stay content in that plan. Hopefully every now and then He’ll just smile when I want to cut up a cardboard box and put it on as a jacket.
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life