People kept saying, “Following Jesus is hard.” and for awhile I went along with it.
I thought that maybe it was “hard” because God might call you to do overseas missions or something like that. I could see how that would be challenging for some people. And again, I went along with it, thinking “Sure! Yeah, that’s challenging. God doesn’t want us to be too comfortable. Good thing I’m going to East Asia!”
But that’s not really in my nature, to just go along with it, and so I began questioning in my mind, “What do you mean following Jesus is hard? This is easy. This is great! It’s thrilling and exciting. Look where He’s taking me!”
I’d hear it time and time again: “Following Jesus is hard.” And in the midst of applying and being accepted to a four month discipleship program, I thought, “Okay, following Jesus is kind of hard. I’m having to choose Him over so many people I love.”
But I had no idea. All of those things- going to East Asia, watching God provide thousands of dollars to do His work in an impossibly short amount of time, having one month to prepare for a program whose motto is “challenge for the purpose of change,” and then having those plans completely switched a week before- gave me so much life. They were invigorating! I thrive off of risk and adventure. Is it too risque to say that adrenaline is my drug of choice?
I began to think that this statement, the “Following Jesus is hard,” line, was just one of those serious quotes preachers or speakers would use to add weight to their sermons or talks. To grab peoples attention and peak their curiosity.
And then life hit me.
It was after that two month joy ride with the Lord that I began to see the reality of following Jesus. And man was it hard. For some, mission work and the unknown is what makes their journey challenging, because the comfort of home, job security, and family seem far too valuable to spare. It’s the exact opposite for me.
It’s been roughly 3.5 months since things started to slow down a bit… Ah, no- that’s much too soft of a description; let me rephrase- it’s been roughly 3.5 months since things came to a screeching halt. I already knew I was impatient, terrible at waiting and quick to become bored and this new season of life has further confirmed this. THIS IS WHAT THEY MEANT, Y’ALL. Following Jesus is hard!!!
I’ve experienced a spectrum of emotions, ranging anywhere from “I’m buying a one way ticket out of this place” to “Hey, school’s not so bad” to “I’ve never been more bored in my entire life” to “Why the heck do I follow Jesus.” I’ve wanted to give up so many times, stash my Bible in the junk drawer and pretend I didn’t know there was a God. But by the grace of the One who created the sky high mountains and never ending seas, I’m continuing to press on. That’s the reality of being a faithful follower of Christ. It’s not always the perfectly positioned Bible & coffee Instagram picture or Facebook posts that make it seem like you have it all together. My goodness, our lives are lies if we begin to compare ourselves to someone’s social media facade.
This period of waiting has been so, so challenging. It still is. But I’m beginning to let go of control, give more of myself over to the Lord, and in doing so, He’s starting to show me how sweet this season is. That despite these not being the conditions I thrive in, slowing down for a bit is necessary. For everyone- even the craziest of adrenaline junkies. I’ve learned more about myself in the last few months than I think I ever have. I’ve learned about what it means to be a Christian, even through the mundane. I’ve learned that the phrase, “following Jesus is hard,” means something entirely different for us all and that’s yet another reason we have such a personal God. He meets us where we’re at, tending to our souls in a way only He knows how. So, I can’t go as far as saying I like this waiting period, but I can say that even on the darkest days, forward is the only place to go.
Paul said it best in Romans, declaring, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)