More Like Jesus

More Like Jesus

Less of the world more of Jesus...
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Get ready, because I’m about to share something pretty ugly about myself...

The other day on my way to church (of all places).I was in a hurry and very focused on getting where I needed to go.

In front of me, there was this car that was driving at least twenty under, I swear! I’m an impatient person as it is, so if you put me in a car, as the driver, behind a slow person...let’s just say it brings out the worst in me.

I’ve been trying to learn patience so I started calming myself down, telling myself that he was going the speed limit and I was on time, so there was no need to pass him.

As we’re driving, I see up ahead that we’re coming to a merge.

The thought of being stuck behind this car with no way of getting around it quickly switched me back to impatient mode, so I traded lanes, got ahead, and merged in front of him.

As I glanced in my rear-view mirror, I saw something that sent a shot of guilt down the back of my spine.

I glanced back to see that the slow car was driven by a cute little old couple laughing and talking—the older gentlemen stepped on the breaks to go 30 miles under instead of 20 as he merged, and as he did so, several other cars tried to speed up and pass him in order to merge before he could.

As this is happening, a huge truck placed itself in the middle of the two lanes so that no one could pass the elderly couple.

Obviously, I have no idea what the intentions of this truck was...maybe he just didn’t want to be passed himself, but the picture that this scene presented for me was a good reminder.

This car didn’t try to go around the grandpa car. It instead placed itself in the path of those trying to pass him, so that the couple could go first.

This, obviously, all happened in a heartbeat, I swear I was keeping my eyes on the road, but as I watched this go down, I passed a sign from my church…

Members of our congregation have been putting lawn signs out in our yards that read one simple, yet powerful, statement…

Love Everyone, Always.

This statement has changed so much for me. As I passed that sign, I remembered that I also have a bumper sticker on my car that says the same thing.

Darn! Way to display the love of God, Christy!

As I drove on that single-lane road for the next 20 minutes or so, I kept glancing back at the couple behind me…

Talk about a slap in the face…

I talked a little with God about this moment, and as soon as I got to church, jotted down this reminder:

We are called to protect the innocent, and defend those who cannot defend themselves.

You’re probably thinking, Dang, girl you got all that from one experience!?

Great point. Let me explain…

One of the first days I was in Haiti, we visited a marketplace. It is hands down the most crowded place I have ever been. You walk through the streets, sticky skin against sticky skin, as little kids - complete strangers - grab your hand as you pass by.

So. Many. People.

Yelling for us “blancs” to come buy their products...and so many little kids, guys. Grabbing our hands simply out of the prospect of….money? Friendship? Hope?

It was the first time I had seen true poverty and all of a sudden, the shoes on my feet became the biggest blessing in my life as perspective flooded my brain.

Bumpy roads, rocky ground, and yet so many bare feet…

As we walked down the street, I gathered at least three little hands on either of mine, each child holding onto at least one of my fingers.

And as we past by vendor after vendor, we came to a place where a woman and a child were selling coal. A tall woman with a colorful apron was yelling at this little boy and waving her hands in his face. I was alarmed, finding myself far from my mom and our guide who were up ahead.

I looked down at my new collection of little kids holding my hands, only to see that they weren’t even paying attention to this little boy being ferociously yelled at. This was an every day, completely normal sight for them.

I glanced at the boy being screamed at to see his face, and a wash of complete grief came rushing over my whole body...so powerful, that I took a physical step back, and then quickly walked after my mom.

The little boy, probably no older than nine or ten had special needs - down syndrome, actually.

He had tears in his eyes, snot running down his face...no shirt...no shoes…

Complete vulnerability.

I was thirteen when I saw this, and it really was my first experience with this kind of brokenness, but I still wish I would have done something...I don’t know what my thirteen-year-old self could have possibly done, but I will never ever forget the look on that beautiful little boy’s face.

That night I journaled about this little boy and I had no words. I laid in bed for a while, thinking over and over in my mind, why somebody would treat such an innocent child like that.

While this experience still holds some kind of ache in it for me, I am grateful for this scene that still lingers in my mind.

I think God tore down some of my heart that day for a reason. It made me sensitive to those in need, those who are vulnerable, those who need to be protected, defended and given a voice.

Lately, however, I think my busy schedule has stolen some of that from me - rushing me here and there so that I don’t have time to stop and notice those in need.

When I saw that truck pull in front of the little grandpa car to protect them from other anxious drivers like myself, something snapped in me and the face of this little boy popped into my head.

Love Everyone, Always.

Doesn’t this mean we need to offer protection to those who need it? Doesn’t love everyone always, mean that we must return justice and hope and light to those whose voices have been stripped from them?

Loving everyone always means that we must be prepared to thrust ourselves between the vulnerable and those who seek power - to protect.

Jesus was the ultimate protector. He threw Himself between us and the very jaws of death.

Right now we are entering the season of Easter so this week I read the story of the Triumphal Entry - yet another of Jesus humble displays of quiet love and peace.

In Zechariah 9:9, this humble entry is foretold, “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

Gentle.

Jesus was gentle. He was slow and quiet and humble. He made Himself nothing, and threw Himself directly in our path so that we may avoid destruction and spend eternity with Him.

Should we not make ourselves just as gentle?

Should we not make ourselves low so that we don’t overlook those who need Jesus?

If Jesus can do this, then surely we must.

After all He is the king...and he road a donkey. He took the humble road all. The. Time.

Over and over and over again, and it puts me to shame.

Who do I think I am? If God Himself can slow down in order to keep pace with me, then surely, surely, I must slow down to be with those who are in need.

Jesus...so humble, my mind cannot even fathom….Jesus,

Who, being in very nature God, did

Not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the

Very nature of a servant, and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-9).

How beautiful is that!? As I hear those words, they tear me apart and force me to my knees. They stare me in the face and remind me that I am lower than my God, who made Himself the lowest.

Love everyone, always.

Jesus is love - the perfect picture of love - therefore my calling is clear, I must display Christ to everyone always. We must.

We have a responsibility to do so and we must learn to do it well, with humility.

And as we learn God is ever gracious, continuing to show us the perfect display of what we need to learn to be.

Let’s not forget our duty to those in need. Let’s work at being more like Jesus - not forgetting those who are sick, burdened, and in need, but joining hands with them for the sake of glorifying our humble, powerful, loving, gentle Father.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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I Could Brag, But Why Should I?

Being humble instead of a handful.

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When it comes to the opportunities that have been presented to me, I have always been someone who prefers to remain levelheaded and grateful. I have never been the type of person to take things for granted, because I always knew that nothing is guaranteed to me, or to anyone, and nothing is permanent. This can, in part, be attributed to growing up part of a family that had been affected by cancer.

I have been able to remain humble, and I am, quite frankly, really proud of myself for that.

I have crossed paths with many people throughout my life who grew up in a manner that one might refer to as privileged or spoiled. Some of these people really showed it. I cannot speak for all of them, and it would be wrong to do so, because this generalization is one that feeds into negativity. However, I can fairly say that I have spent time with people who grew up in a world where all they knew was getting what they wanted, and honestly, I don't envy this.

When I was young, I dreamed of having a life where everything goes right. I think all of us have dreams like this at some point.

But as time went on, I began to realize, just like anyone, that life just simply doesn't work this way. Or at least, not for most of us. And you know what? That's okay. Actually, that's great. I think it's better that way.

The struggles and strife are what keep us appreciative of the other end of the spectrum. Without the bad, how do we learn to appreciate the good?

I could sit here and tell you I've been through a lot.

I could sit here and write all of the sob stories, the heartbreaks, the grief, the losses, the undeserved backstabs. I could ask for your pity, or your sympathy. But I won't, because that's not the point.

All of us have been through some sh*t, when it comes down to it. But what is telling is how we come out on the other side. Whether we allow those experiences to harden us and turn us into stone, or whether we take those experiences, let them shape our outlook, and use them as tools to grow into softer, wiser, more humble human beings, especially when we find ourselves in a time where things begin to go right for us.

I like to think I am the latter.

Right now, I find myself living the best life that I have thus far, and to be painfully honest here, I could brag. If I wanted to, I could brag about my wonderful friends and the incredible people I have in my life, whether they have been around for a while or only just joined the crew. I could brag about being able to follow my heart in New York City, which is home to my college campus and my dream summer internship. I could go on about the people I get to meet, the things I do, the places I go.

But what's the point? Why should I brag? To establish some bizarre feeling of superiority? To put myself on a pedestal? To use what the universe has brought me as a means of making others feel worse or inferior?

Why the hell would I want to do that? Why would anyone?

In times where we find our hearts happy and our lives fulfilled, sure, it can be easy to fall into a mindset that leads you to believe you are "better than". The real test is fighting this.

I can't say I have never given in and allowed myself to adopt that feeling. I don't really think any of us can sit here and pretend we have never ever acted superior, or felt it. We are human, after all.

But I don't think it is right to allow that feeling to take over, and I don't ever want to let that happen.

When that feeling takes over, we lose our graciousness. Our gratefulness. Our humbleness and humanity. We lose the things that make us, down to our cores, human.

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound so good to me.

So, I will continue my daily commute thanking the universe for allowing me to have that. Even when the train is delayed, or the PATH train is crowded, or the tour groups take over the city sidewalks. I will continue to sit at my desk on days when work is slow and I will thank the universe for even giving me that desk, or that work.

I will continue to thank the universe for everything it brings me, because why shouldn't I?

Why shouldn't we all?

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