I listen a lot. I often have no choice but to sit and take in the words around me. I hear people talk. I hear humility and I hear compassion. I hear entitlement and self-righteousness, appreciation and heartache. I listen to people's stories. We all listen to people and begin to get a taste of where they have been and how they see the world.
We are all shaped by what we encounter in life; the successes and the failures, the suffering and the joy - they all have the ability to turn our thinking and shift our perspective. These experiences can leave scars and bruises. They can also bring about growth and deep understanding. Ultimately, every impactful encounter in life is inviting us to proceed on a certain course.
My view of life has been molded and impacted by the circumstances I have been placed in. Yours has too.
Growing up with an undiagnosed degenerative muscle disease, I have seen the loss of most of the major functions of my body. It has been, and continues to be, a process of mourning and discovery. It can be tough and sad and frustrating. And it continues to be.
But there is also something about this whole mess that I'm beginning to see as beautiful. Maybe you think I'm looney in the head, that's fine. But this whole reality, this daily struggle, has given me something very precious: perspective.
Because of Jesus, these circumstances don't define me. They have greatly impacted me, but instead of pulling me down and holding me there, the Lord has given me a changed view.
Every morning I am awakened to the truth that this very day is a precious gift. In that awareness comes an immovable sense of urgency - to fully live, to deeply love, with no fear and no reservation. To show Jesus to the world and impact lives.
Everything that's been lost, the ability to walk, to express myself without limits, to speak with clarity, to enjoy favorite foods, have all combined to intensify a longing that I believe exists at the core of each of us, beneath all the distraction and hedonistic pursuit. In this lack of diversion, something so very unique emanates: a deeply intimate relationship with the creator of the universe.
Suffering has taught me a lot. And because of Jesus, we all have the choice to have joy despite our afflictions.
Life is messy. Jesus wins. Today is the day, let's go.