Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.-James 1:2-4 

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various [c]trials, so that the [d]proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which [e]is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and [f]full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of [g]your souls.- 1 Peter 6-9

I really really don’t want you to misunderstand what I am trying to tell you. I appreciate the sentiment behind the phrase “You are such an inspiration”, no really, I do. I have heard it pretty much all of my life from extremely precious and well meaning friends and even family members.But if you’ll notice, there is a big problem with this phrase: the word “You”.

For many years before I really gave my heart to the Lord, I would have this great sense of pride and a great sense of accomplishment when people would remind me of “how inspirational I am”. I’ll even admit it to you, I agreed. I used to think, “Doesn’t anyone know how hard it is to be disabled?” Or…”Don’t you know that it takes me an extra hour everyday to get up, get dressed and do all the things that people who are able-bodied are able to do in what….15 minutes?” And what used to be my favorite, “Don’t you know how lucky you are that you get to do pretty much anything you want to do without a ton of regard of hindrances and consequences if anything goes horribly wrong?”

You, you, you. Me, me,me.

What about Jesus?

The problem with this sweet and well meaning, yet VERY disturbing phrase is the very notion that I did anything all, and Jesus had nothing to do with it when, in reality, it is the exact opposite. I did nothing, Jesus did and continues to do everything.

I breathe because of Jesus. I move because of Jesus. I go to school because of Jesus. I have thoughts, emotions, and feelings because of Jesus. I love because Jesus first loved me. I could go on and on. It’s not my breath, it’s His. I am alive because of Jesus. Let that sink in for a second…… because the same goes for you too.

If you look at my life and all of the daily struggles that I go through and not one thought of how good God is enters your mind, something isn’t right.

If friends and family look at your life and the struggles that you go through on a daily basis and not one thought of how good God is enters their minds, something isn’t right, and it is something that you and I cannot afford to get wrong. What if we are the only Jesus they will ever see and yet, they can’t seem to see it? oh what a tragedy.

People have dealt with and will continue to deal with struggles every single day since the beginning of time. I once heard my favorite Bible teacher Ben Stuart once say that you know you are really alive when you struggle.

The way of the struggle is just how it is ever since those two got a hold of an apple (talk about a bad apple. Sorry, I just had to). God doesn’t play favorites by giving his favorite children less trouble and the kids he loves less a whole mess of trouble. Yes, our struggles are different from each other, but don’t miss the point of those struggles. 1st Peter tells us that our struggles are proof of our faith and a test of our response. Is He really a good Father? Does He really love me?

I love what the Apostle Paul in the book of Philippians says about his struggles that he was going through in his life. He was in prison for preaching God and yet, you don’t find him talking about himself in the context of being an inspiration, not even close. Look what he says in Philippians 1:12-14.

12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.

Wow.

He takes what he is going through and he IMMEDIATELY looks to Jesus because he knows that He was the one who has put him in this place, not for Paul’s sake and not for him to be remembered for all the great things that Paul had done. But for the cause of Christ and for others to come to know and love the One who came, loved, served, lived and died all JUST to be with us, all JUST to be with YOU.

If you look at my life and you see how I have to do the everyday mundane thing that might look a little funny, and probably takes longer than most people have the patience for, or you hear me complain and yap about yet another medical issue or how finances are just flat out terrible, please just remember one thing. I am not nor do I want to be an inspiration, I want people to see the Might, and the Power and the Amazing Grace of the one who allows me to live and struggle.

I hope you see Jesus, not me.

Don’t forget that He loves you and so do I,

Shelley

Copyright 2016 by Shelley Olsen. May be quoted in part or full only with attribution to Shelley Olsen  “www.wordpress.abundantokiru.com

Published by Shelley Olsen