My stance was strong, and my body limber. Standing atop the wooden table outside on that bright summery day, I was ready to win. At seven years old, all I could think about was jumping off the four foot table and making the greatest leap into the plastic kiddie pool waiting below. My thoughts circled one main objective: show all four of my brothers and two sisters that I was the best. I began to run, and as I gained some speed, my heart lurched and I screamed, “I have to win! I just have to win!” I leapt off with determined force, pushing myself as high as I could go. I landed with precision and heard the satisfying thud of my feet against the bottom of the pool. Excitedly, I jumped out. In my little brain I had gained victory and had proven myself good enough for the task. The funny thing is that this “competition” was only a game we were supposed to be playing for fun on a steaming hot day in late July, not some sort of contest.
I was raised on getting attention for just being me. My twin sister and I were my mother’s first girls after a parade of three boys. I was smothered with kisses, hugs and all forms of familial love. All my teachers adored me and named me their very best student. At an early age, I learned to associate acceptance with being an acceptable person. If I was not somehow the center of attention, I proved myself easily with my wit, intelligence, or charm. It’s no wonder my approach to God was modeled in just the same way. I could impress and woo just about anyone, why would it suddenly be any different? Beginning in junior high, I decided I would prove myself good enough, capable enough, and lovable enough for Almighty to see and approve of me. I was rigorous in my Biblical schedule, partly for an intense desire to discover this mystery God, and partly because I knew it was the right thing to do – surely I was winning brownie points with God! Can you imagine the blow it was to my striving heart when the knowledge of Jesus Christ took hold of me? It is easy to believe in God; just about everyone believes there is a higher power running the show. When it comes to Jesus, it’s an entirely different story.
Jesus Christ. To some He is a symbol, like the cross hanging from a gold chain. To others he was a simple prophet among many with as great a message as those before and after Him. To me He is the only balm that can soothe my ego and my heart in the same instant. He is the reason I can go to God not on account of my outstanding behavior or quick wit, but because of my inability and my imperfections. He is the one who changed the focus of my life from me to an unhindered and perfect power- God. It is because of Jesus Christ that I am saved from myself and my base desire to be enough for everyone. If it wasn’t for my salvation in Jesus, my calling card would most assuredly read “Will be perfect for love”.
When it comes down to it, Jesus Christ is everything. Without Him all my advancements and victories are nothing in reality. The overwhelming factor of life can get to me in a second and I forget to whom I belong and to whom I live for. I forget that where I am weak, He is strong. And there is no other force as strong as that. There is no other overcoming factor like the salvation of Jesus that amounts to value in this life. There is no other thing that can make that guarantee on life.
Everyone wants to be a winner – to overcome. Most likely the saddest tales told by humans since day one is when we come to the realization that we are quite helpless on our own. Coming to this realization is both scary and life-infusing. At the realization of Jesus Christ, my heart slows to a steady rhythm, ba boomp…..ba boomp…in beat to the perfect will of God which I now more fully understand to be just as important as the fragile breath of my human lungs.