You Can Have It All!
That one statement alone, “You can have it all” fills many of us with hope and anticipation of what may lie ahead. Think about it, it actually started the moment we were brought into this world. Our parents looked at our newborn selves and began to dream of what we might become one day. Our parents, school teachers, friends, social media, all continued to bombard us with a similar message… “You have so much potential, you are so talented, the world is yours for the taking.” Many of us may live with the notion that “the harder you work, the more you can have!” We dream of winning the lottery and having no financial worries. We strive for advancements in our careers or count down the days to retirement. Having it all has really come to be associated with the successes and riches of this world.
My life is very full. Full of all the things I have hoped for over the years. I have a beautiful family, a lovely home, good health, wonderful friends, a strong church, opportunities to travel, and lots of free time. I’m not quite 55 years old yet, but it almost feels like I have the elusive “Freedom 55” so many of us strive for. We’ve reached a point in our lives where we are already trying to collect less stuff and to purge all the excess we currently have. I am not complaining, life is so good and I am very grateful that God has blessed us with all that we have.
Why then do I still feel stressed and overwhelmed at times? Why do I worry? Why do I get scared? I honestly didn’t think that having it all would feel this way.
I looked a little deeper into the word “full.” I found one dictionary define it as when you are not lacking anything. However, I also found that it can mean being weighed down, chock full, overloaded, burdened, stuffed, congested, inundated, flooded or filled to capacity. Yikes, that doesn’t sound like the carefree lifestyle I was after! It does bring some clarity as to why I might be feeling the way I am though. I do know that I carry a lot of stuff inside me. Clutter! The kind of clutter that pulls me down emotionally and makes me feel weighed down. This is some of what congests my head…
I fear what others may think of me
I have a poor self image… if only I could shed another 10 pounds
I have expectations that set others and myself up for failure
I carry resentments from those unmet expectations
I have a need to be perfect
I need your approval
I try to impress you
I worry about my future
I’m stressed with my schedule and upcoming deadlines
I don’t think I am a good enough writer to have this blog
I remember a conversation I had with my first pastor many years ago. I was still exploring christianity at the time. I was broken and shared with him that my goal was just to get back to a place where I felt at peace. I was thinking of a time in my life that felt calmer; a time when there was no crisis occurring and I was enjoying life; a time when everything seemed to be in order. I will never forget what he told me that day, “Allison, you will never experience true peace until you accept Jesus into your life.” The funny thing is, you don’t know that feeling until you feel it. I was relying on what I thought was peace at the time.
Today I understand that peace that he was referring to! I experience true peace through our Saviour, Jesus Christ. I experience true peace because I believe Jesus gave His life to take away my sins. There is no peace that this world can provide that comes close to that! Becoming a Christian doesn’t guarantee that I will feel that peace all the time though. I am seeing more clearly that all the clutter in my mind is actually a roadblock to peace as it creates a barrier between myself and God. It distracts me and changes my priorities. Scripture provides me with a solution though. The bible encourages me to give my concerns to God.
Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
“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 ” Matthew 11:28-30
My desire is to free myself of these burdens, but easier said then done! I have a false sense of security that leads me to believe that if I keep them hidden within, I actually have control over them. Controlling them has become a way of life for me and not having to worry about them can leave me feeling anxious. Handing them over to God takes a whole lot of courage and trust. So I admit, I am living in that vulnerable spot right now. I am releasing the clutter bit by bit. I’m sitting in the emptiness and I am praying that God will fill me with His peace.
I’m encouraged because I’ve noticed that it’s in these moments that I become aware and closer with the spirit that is already living in me. It’s in these moments where I am discovering that I actually have it all, in a much fuller way than I once dreamed of!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.