My Cup Runneth Way Over

We all have a breaking point.

If you’re anything like me, it may take you a while to get there. A bad day may result in a bad mood that lasts a week without an identifiable reason. You might start rolling your eyes at things that would normally never bother you or yell at someone over an innocent mistake. You may be really good at saying “I’m doing great!” when someone asks how you are even though you know you’re so far from.

Being vulnerable has never been my strong suit. I grew up surrounded by strong, independent and seemingly emotionally steady women who never needed anything from anyone, especially not their pity. So you can imagine my fear when I started to feel my emotions coming to the surface at 2x speed in front of all to see at the end of a lovely day at church on a random Sunday. One right person asks “how are you?” and suddenly, I’m weeping in my hands. The weight of every burden I had been carrying for weeks suddenly too heavy to carry any more. Before I could stop myself, I’m sharing the intimate truths of my life in front of people who’ve never seen anything except my very best, even some people I had never seen or spoken to before in my life. And I’m horrified. “STOP CRYING RIGHT NOW!!!” is all I kept thinking. “YOU LOOK DESPERATE. YOU LOOK STUPID. EVERYONE IS WATCHING AND YOU’RE SHARING TOO MUCH!” But it was too late. I’d already been showered in prayers, showered in love and showered in an unexpected blessing. I’d also already smeared my mascara and there was no turning back after that.

I look back on that moment and I still cringe. Even though I don’t regret it, I do think there’s a lesson to be learned from it. Life will always be full of burdens that we should not try to carry alone or in our own strength. Finances that are sinking fast, health that took an unexpected dip, family members in trouble that you are in no position to help, a country drowning in negativity. We are simply not strong enough to bear these burdens. If we try and consider ourselves self-sufficient, it’s only a matter of time before our back breaks from the load and our mood shifts, our emotions sink and our cup overflows. That moment of reaching my breaking point reminded me of the God I surrendered to when I decided to follow Christ. It’s the same one that says in Matthew 11:30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus died so that we wouldn’t have to bear the weight of our sin. He died so that we could know peace. Following Jesus means we have access to the Prince of PEACE. But we have to first trust Him!

Getting home that night, after my post-crying face showed the evidence of my heavy spirit, I felt renewed faith. What was missing in my life wasn’t everything I lacked or the settings that were all wrong. It was that I forgot for a moment who I serve. I forgot that daily time with Jesus is the only way to maintain my peace of mind. Going to Jesus first before trying to figure things out on my own is a daily commitment but one that reaps that most rewarding outcome. This is the beauty of community. I felt supported that day. While embarrassed, I also felt safe. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the breakdown happened that night in that environment because of God. It was as if God was saying, “I have you. I’ve put people in your life to support you. It’s okay to let your guard down.” Ultimately, I was reminded of what I already knew to be true. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Without him, our cups will always overflow, our burdens will always be too heavy and we will not truly feel the peace He has promised. Go to Jesus. Get on your knees in prayer. Open up the Bible collecting dust on your desk. Don’t be afraid to let people who care for you help you. Jesus has His hands out waiting for you. He wants nothing more than for you to find rest in his warm embrace.

Jesus: The Ultimate Shepard

Have you ever thought, “Why would Jesus care about me? I’m just one person in a world of billions. What makes me so special that He’d intentional seek me out?” I know I have. Many times.

Ever since I decided to follow Jesus and commit to a true relationship with him, I have found myself constantly thinking about Jesus, his decision to die for ALL of us, and how I can bring that kind of incredible sacrifice and ultimate show of love into my day to day life. The problem for me though has not been seeing or accepting it. It has been truly believing that even when I fall or fail – and I will often – Jesus would still seek me out and he would still love me. This is evident in his parable in Luke 15.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

In this parable, Jesus is talking about a Shepard and his sheep. A Shepard leads and his sheep’s only job is to follow him. But a good Shepard would never let not even one of his sheep get lost. Every single sheep matters to him. And if one does get lost, he will do whatever it takes to find it and will rejoice when he does. This is our relationship with Jesus. He’s our Shepard, leader and King. All we have to do is set our sights on him, go where he leads and follow with obedience.

I’m not very familiar with the behavior of sheep. But I can only imagine that at times, they may feel the need to wander off course. As humans, that happens tenfold! Even when we make the decision to choose to follow Jesus – and it’s always a choice we make, not a demand – we will get sidetracked. We will choose to wander, setting our sights on the ways of the world. But the best news is, Jesus will find us wherever we end up. He’ll meet us right where we are because we matter to him. No matter how big the Kingdom of God gets, no matter how many people come to know Jesus, each individual person holds a special place in his heart.

Jesus cares for us because God cares for us. You’re not just one in a billion in his eyes. You’re THE one. He’d willingly leave the ninety-nine for you! Wherever you end up, whenever you veer off course, he’ll be right there to say “Hey, we’re going this way. Stay with me.” The more I see Jesus as my Shepard and gladly accept my role as sheep, all pressure is off. I don’t have to lead myself. I don’t have to control the path. I don’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing, if I’m going the right way or where I’m even going to begin with. All I have to do is hold my position in line behind Jesus, knowing he’s got me. Knowing I’m with him, I’ll never be lost. But even if it does happen, He’ll always come find me.