Christmas is inching closer and closer, and I am getting giddier by the second. But, still even a little sad that the Christmas season is passing by so quickly. I want to box it up in a package and make it stay forever. With a big red bow on top. I wish the month leading up to Christmas day was how the world was all the time! A little jollier, a little kinder, a little more crisp and cheery.
I just finished reading “How’s Your Soul” by Judah Smith. It was, in short, wonderful. An easy, conversational read with a lot of truth and scripture. It challenges you to look deep inside, beyond “How are you”, and into “No really, how is your soul?” The overlying theme of the book is that God is home. Not this world, not our comfort, not the things we create for ourselves… God. So it is when we fail to recognize this that our souls get off- our emotions and spirit, our entire lives are just… off. We cannot and will not live in a “perpetual state of serenity and tranquility” (page 39) where it’s easy to feel the peace of God and know his goodness, so then what? How we respond and react to situations in our life reflects where our trust is, where our hope is, and how our soul is. When our comfort is tested, when we are uncertain about the days ahead and it’s hard to laugh about them, what is our reaction? Do we really trust this whole God thing? Or does our soul tell you ‘yes, God is good until things aren’t, and then it is time to control things myself.’
Guilty, over here.
I found this book really fitting to read during the Christmas season. I have had the the line from O Holy Night stuck in my head, “The soul felt its worth.” This is my favorite line of any Christmas song. It says everything. When Jesus came, our hole, the gap between God and humanity, was filled. Our souls, for the first time since the Garden of Eden felt their full worth. God cared enough about our emotional and soul level stability, that he sent his son as the propitiation for our sin so that we might live full and satisfying lives directly in touch with God. He cared that his people were wandering and stuck under the law, which was his grace and access to him before Jesus. He wanted more, he wanted a relationship with his people restored. We serve a relational God, and that’s proof of it.
The soul felt it’s worth.
Isn’t that such a beautiful line? The weight and depth to it gets sung over and over, year after year, but have you ever really thought about it? So now, our challenge is not the gap between us and God, but our awareness of his presence since that gap was filled. Do you know your soul’s worth? You following me? Judah says in his book, “I am convinced that an awareness of God’s care for us is the key to emotional sanity.” (page 78)
This is everything.
When I lose my heavenly perspective, remembering this world is not my home and that I serve a God who cares about every intimate detail of my life, I suffer from pretty terrible anxiety. I get overwhelmed with the world, scared of the days to come, fearful of what I am doing, believing I am mediocre, and downright a pessimistic. It’s an icky state to be in, and all it takes to fix it is remembering where I stand in the “totem pole”, if you will. When I put myself on top, my soul is at complete unrest. The waves consume me. But, when I humbly remember I am at the bottom, which in this case is the BEST place to be, I find peace. I remember who is king, and that I am certainly not. It is the most freeing spot to find yourself in. I promise, it’s the best to be last (in this situation). 😉
I have found myself, more than usual, anxious lately. I hate it, and it makes me question my faith. I get upset with myself, wondering how on earth I can be so anxious if I believe in Jesus and truly believe all the things I say I do. Surely, a “good Christian” shouldn’t struggle with anxiety, because they believe in the depths of their soul that God is sovereign, and Jesus satisfies, and all the other Christian-y things to say… right?
Ehh, not quite. Like, at all.
We have to be aware of these things- what is causing our soul such unrest? For me, I have chosen to turn off my phone more. Where there is silence in my day, rather than reaching for my phone, I am reaching for a book, or taking time to be still, pray, talk to someone… less phone, less social media, less. It’s sucking my awareness of my soul’s worth and of what I have in front of me.
I just want less world, more Jesus. I don’t get that from scrolling through Instagram.
Listen, their is no hierarchy of Christianity. And we all will stumble, we all will question, we all will doubt. I mean, y’all, it’s kind of crazy sounding what we believe. You wouldn’t be human if there weren’t days you struggle with the Bible, or with your emotions, or with your doubt. I celebrate Christmas because I believe that a baby born over 2,000 years ago in a cave was the fulfillment of the prophecies that had been foretold for generations to the people of Israel as the hope of the world. It’s… a little crazy to say the least. BUT, I believe it with all of my being. I believe the shepherds who recount the story truly saw an angel of the Lord, that the wisemen who recount their experience truly traveled by foot across country to see the hope of the world that they had been waiting for. I believe Jesus is who he said he was, and that because of him, I have full access to God, and get to hear him in my life through the holy spirit. Either Jesus was really convincing to get people, wise men, none the less, who were held with high esteem in society for their brains, to falsely recount his glorious birth… (think about that), and then convince thousands in his lifetime that he was the son of God, oh and then after his death convince hundreds of people he had risen from the dead to WHOM HE APPEARED… or maybe he is really was the son of God.
Proof is in the pudding, y’all. He is who he said he was.
I know it’s crazy. But it happened. You can call it a historical story with flaws, but what do you do with these facts? Either a whole bunch of people were crazy… or maybe, just maybe, this was real.
What a beautiful story, right?
There are so many incredible points that are made in this book, but I want you to read them for yourself. Be encouraged today, sweet friends.
How is my soul?
How am I reacting to situations in my life I don’t like?
Am I really putting my full trust in God, or am I holding onto something?
Am I living a surrendered life?
Am I surrounded by uplifting community?
Friends, I want you to experience a full life. I love you so deeply. I know writing about my faith so boldly could turn some of you away. But rather than shutting me out, I would love to have conversations with you. I love differences, I love hearing your hearts. I love chatting through you concerns, worries, and doubts.
You are heard, you are loved, you are important.
You are worthy, and worth dying for. That’s…. pretty spectacular.
Merry Christmas, y’all.
All photos by Cottonwood Road Photography for The Cake by Hannah
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