open letter to the person who's tempted to be jaded




Hey, you.


I think I know how you’re feeling.


You’ve been through the ringer this past year. You’re in the thick of a new season of life or you’ve just entered one; maybe it’s finally getting easier but maybe it’s not.


You’ve had your heart broken, maybe more than once.


You’ve learned how to be alone and maybe you’re content with that, but it’s cost you more than you’d like to admit.


You’re not so sure about this new year, either. There’s been a lot of heaviness all over the news, and it creeps into your mind. It whispers doubt into your heart about what’s true. It makes you wonder if people can really be good.


You’ve been betrayed - at the very least, let down - by people you thought were trustworthy. It makes you question your own judgment and it makes you wonder if hope is worth it.


At times, you feel a little invisible, a little swallowed up by this big world. You have all these dreams for your life and for what you want to see the people and the world around you become, but you don’t even know how to take another step. What’s the point? Nothing’s gonna change in the end.


Those tender childhood dreams about saving the world and saving people and making things brighter start to die out, like a star that’s actually been dead for a couple thousand years but is just now flickering out in the black sky above your head.


Were those dreams ever really reflective of reality?


Or were they more like delusions?


You look around at all the things that strive to keep evil at bay and promote good in the world and you wonder if they’re making even a dent in the epidemic of our human condition.


You’re even wondering about things that you never questioned for a second - your faith, your parents, your identity, the purpose of your life, if the way you always drive to the grocery store is actually the most efficient route, whether eggs and milk are really so good for you after all.


You’re confused. You’ve never been particularly directionally gifted but you don’t know which way is up anymore.


It is so overwhelming and somehow underwhelming at the same time to live this life because is anything we do even worth it if in the end we all just end up in the same dirt we came from?


I get it. You’re so tired.


And you know what? It’s okay.


Because it means you’re paying attention.

Humor me for just a moment while I get a little "systems theory" on you.


Childhood can be such a beautiful thing. If we’re lucky, we had parents who cherished and championed us as little humans with our big grizzly bear dreams, those dreams too big for us to even shake a stick at.


If we’re lucky, things were simple and good and we felt safe.


If we’re lucky, we made it out fairly unscathed.


Not only are many of us unlucky by these standards, but things changed for us once we graduated from those tender years.


We slowly began to see more and more of the reality around us and in us, and we wondered if this life thing is all it’s cracked up to be.


We even realized that hindsight is 20/20 and the clarity with which we saw our lives as little ones was maybe 20/30.


Some gunk comes up that we may not even remember being so sticky back then. But something’s a little off with the way we think about the world or interact with people now that makes us realize life has never really been quite as right as we thought it was.


But it all just means we’re paying attention now. And that is so important.


I am learning these days, dear friend, that maybe the world is worse off than I thought, but maybe it’s not.


Maybe I’m just seeing things more clearly.


Maybe we all have struggles and we all have some darkness in us but maybe there’s a whole lot of good, too.

Maybe we all have struggles and we all have some darkness in us but maybe there’s a whole lot of good, too.


I just watched Love, Actually for the first time in awhile and most of that movie is just silly. But I think the part about people hugging each other in airports is just so, so good. I think love is all around, we just have to have eyes for it.


Here are some reminders for you when you start to feel like your eyes might lose some of that lightness or when you are tempted to let that tender, raw heart of yours callous up in all the places where it should be soft and pulsing bright red, thumping hard for the things in life that are good. For when your mind can’t absorb one more story of hate and pain and hopelessness without coming unraveled.

Keep it simple. Simplicity is found wherever Jesus is.


Any other conclusion is a lie of confusion straight from the devil’s mouth.


At the end of the day, if you struggle to lay your head down in peace, ask yourself this question:


Am I trusting that the one who literally created goodness will continue to be good?


Am I trusting that the one who literally created goodness will continue to be good?

Fear is a g-dang liar. Even in the face of harsh reality, we can be confident that the devil’s gonna hang in his own gallows someday. Jesus always wins. Period. The end. The gospel is simply that he came down to save us.


So he will.


Keep your hands open. When we are walking in step and hand-in-hand with the Savior, we are experiencing true freedom as we surrender to wherever he has chosen to lead us.


I choose my words here deliberately: he has chosen where we will go. It is past tense. He has already been there.


But then there is the idea of holding his hand as we walk. We have some choice in where we will go. He does not drag us along. We have to move our own feet. But he will never leave us. Where we go, there he is.


And there he has been.


It is one of the greatest mysteries of new life in Christ - we can never walk where he has not been, and yet we have a million paths lying ahead of us and we may choose any of them freely.


But those who walk closely with Jesus know with confidence unshakeable that he has planted his plans like a rich and bountiful harvest deep in their hearts, and they will never stray too far from his good guidance.


But those who walk closely with Jesus know with confidence unshakeable that he has planted his plans like a rich and bountiful harvest deep in their hearts, and they will never stray too far from his good guidance.

So they freely give themselves daily to whatever he sets in front of them, whether a dirt path to a neighbor’s place down the road or a paved freeway to a brand-new shiny city, because they know he has planted those grizzly bear dreams in their hearts after all.


They receive goodness from him because they believe he wants to give it.


I cannot say this enough: We cannot give what we have not first received. Think about the places in your life where you feel dry or leathered or worn thin. Ask Jesus to meet you there and help you believe that he wants to smooth the healing balm of his peace over those places.


Keep your eyes on others. If we are to truly live at the feet of Jesus, our lives will begin to tangibly look as if they don’t belong to us, as if we are totally and foolishly given over to the desires and needs of others.


This is the miracle of giving - it seriously boomerangs.


Some of the fullest days of my life have started as days where I felt like I had nothing to offer the world. I’ve had those days where I’ve felt so wounded by the hits - malicious or not - of another human that I was hesitant to even walk my booty outside because what if it gets kicked again?


I’ve just had to remember on those tough mornings that that the only thing I’m responsible for is loving whoever’s in front of me. And I was reminded recently that even that responsibility is one that I can lean fully on God’s strength to fulfill.


One person causing turmoil and heartache does not equal all people or even all people who seem similar to that person being untrustworthy.


And I can’t let the devil win by choosing not to love based on how I’ve been hurt.


I can’t let him convince me that it’s me that has to conjure up that kind of radical love, because then the gospel is empty and meaningless to me.


Look at Jesus’ life. He was hurt by the people who were closest to him. Really, really, soul-deep, heart-pulping pain was inflicted.


Over and over again.


But his ministry was not just preaching to great crowds and pretending that his pain didn’t exist.


His most profound moments of ministry were also his most intimate and self-sacrificial: meeting broken and ragged and bone-tired human beings wherever they trod along, no matter how dirty his feet got walking down their paths.


And then he got alone with the Father and got honest about how tired he was.

A friend said something to me a while back that I have wrestled with ever since:


“Jesus said to love people, not to love people so that they came to know him.”


“Jesus said to love people, not to love people so that they came to know him.”

I think she was really onto something, and it comes back full circle to the part about how life should be simple.


Our job is to ask for help to love everyone and his job is to help us do that and to do the saving.


Jesus never met a person in need of healing and said, “Sure, I’ll help you. Are you free on Tuesday at 3:30 for coffee? I’d really like to know where you stand on hot button issues before I decide whether you’re worthy of what you say you need.”


No.


He already knew them.


He knew that God had been loving them since the first atom of anything came into existence. He didn’t worry about them understanding him or knowing a bunch of Bible verses or being able to sing the song about the books of the Bible in order (although I am always very impressed when people know that whole song).


He didn’t ask where they stood on the political spectrum or whether they had done a good deed lately. He simply got down on his knees, looked into their eyes, and gave freely.


He trusted that the Father’s work through him would be enough evidence for them to believe in who he was.


Side note: I am not saying that we never need to verbalize the gospel. We aren’t Jesus, so we need to talk about who he is so that people can decide whether to believe in him.


Simply, I think the best way to pave the way for Jesus to do his thing is to be a living, breathing, walking, feeding, giving reflection of who he is.


This is how we give hope to the world.


And in turn, we receive that hope back tenfold.


So, listen. I know that the days are hard and the sun goes down too early in the winter and the news is just too much.


I know being a person today is just hard.


I know you feel lonely and overwhelmed and you’re not sure who to turn to.


But I know something else.


Jesus is so good and his heart for you beats so strong.


Plop down for a little while on a couch somewhere where you can bump shoulders and elbows with him.


Let him rub the knots out of your tired back and let him crumble the walls you’ve built around your tired heart.


Remember who you are but even more so, remember who he is.


Remember that he came down to this tired, crooked planet and made himself small, allowed himself to grow taller, and gave himself over to a ferociously cruel death and ultimate abandonment by his own Father so that we could spend eternity calling him our sweetest friend.


Remember that he came down to this tired, crooked planet and made himself small, allowed himself to grow taller, and gave himself over to a ferociously cruel death and ultimate abandonment by his own Father so that we could spend eternity calling him our sweetest friend.

Lean into him because he’s got stuff to say to you.


And I am so glad you are paying attention now, because that means when your sweetest friend says stuff to you and calls you to someplace or someone, you’re not gonna miss it.


You’re gonna be right there next to him when he brings those grizzly bear dreams to life and opens you right up to change something about this wild world.


With all his love and a big ol' squeeze,


wheels

0 views