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So many of those at the top are miserable.

Take any discipline, and there's a rat race for it: sports, music, your workplace, education, money, possessions, and so on. You can fill in the blank for yourself. 

And whether we know it or not, we truly believe deep down that our rank in said discipline is the value of our existence. We get our worth from it. Or maybe we believe that someday we will get that job, make enough money, have enough status. Suddenly, we are enslaved to a rat race — doing anything we can to prove ourselves, to end up unfulfilled and unsatisfied. And I'm pretty convinced it's killing the true life we were meant to find of joy, contentment, and peace.

I had a discussion with someone who has a successful touring rock band. He's traveled the nation for music and is signed to a label. If you've known my past personally, you know that I would be envious. That's the position I've wanted to be in as far back as I can remember - since being inspired by old Creed music videos when I was 7.

"I wake up every day feeling like a failure," he expressed to me. I sat in silence, puzzled. "I know you're probably looking at me wanting to be where I am," he said honestly, "but I'm looking at those topping the charts, those with more fans and followers, and those writing more impressive music than me, and I feel like I'm in my thirties now with nothing to show for what I've done."

What an explosion of truth. A deep reality of our humanity.

After winning three Super Bowl championship rings in 2005, Tom Brady asked in a 60 Minutes interview: "Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there's something greater out there for me? I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it's gotta be more than this."

You see, "success" is relative. It's a moving target. If our human nature tells us anything, it's that we won't ever be "enough." There will always be someone better than you, smarter than you, more educated and impressive than you. And the sooner we figure that out, the freer we will be to live.

Stop trying to prove yourself. You are already enough.

I am slowly discovering the source of my lasting contentment, peace, and joy — but it probably won't be the rat race I have been enslaved to for so many years. Some live their whole lives believing they will "arrive" — wherever that is for them, to find that it never comes. What a tragedy.

You are unique, and I truly think more and more each day that the best thing to fight against comparison is to just exist. 

I feel like a child playing in the mud. I feel like a child drawing outside the lines with crayons and colors I'm seeing for the first time. I feel like a child who scraped his knee because he noticed something shiny in the distance, ran at it curiously, but lost his footing and fell. I’m a child who reached for the fire, mesmerized by it, and now there are tears running down my face. I thought I was doing everything right, and somehow by some certain turn of events and naive choices I made, I am a crying, dirty, mess.

He may not catch me when I fall. He'll let me trip over myself just enough to learn from it and be humbled, but He'll never be far enough away to leave me behind.

All that’s desired is a relationship. 

And He comes and picks me up to place me on His shoulders. With a damp towel He washes my face, bandages my knee, and runs my seared hand under cool water. Then He picks up my coloring page and places it on the refrigerator to display it. And somehow, He's proud of it.

All I can offer is the mess that I am — nothing more, nothing less. I bring no benefit to Him, not even my commitment, and yet somehow my heart and well-being are constantly at the forefront of His mind. I am constantly pursued and loved by the One I can offer nothing to in return.

This is true love. And I know I will have lived a full life if I can reflect that kind of love even in the slightest to those around me.

There’s a lot of vague speech sometimes in the Christian “churchianity” culture that’s been created, and to be frank with you, so many days I get out of bed as the gray daylight pours into my bedroom and I’m wading in discouragement. I am discontent. Many days I don’t know why, or what I can do to fix it.

Sometimes I let the discontentment sit. Sometimes I find the energy to seek some sense of hope, and when I search, sadly I'm often met with vague, empty attempts at encouragement.

You know… the “God keeps His promises; just be happy; just trust in God’s plan (so your feelings don’t matter)” type of encouragement. And while they have good intentions, they often fail in their attempts to do any good… especially in the midst of an isolated, depressive, and trauma-filled season as we’ve had.

I get frustrated at these things and suddenly, but rarely, a day like today comes around where our society pauses for a moment and I can take a step back to realize the significance of the love that the Father has for us.

Christmas is the celebration of Christ Jesus Himself coming to be with us, become one of us, to teach us, to love us, and to be the sacrificial lamb of God to take on the sin of the world so that we may be called blameless and forgiven, washed as pure as the snow falling peacefully outside my bedroom window. 

So yes, we have hope. But it isn’t a vague, cliché, keep-your-head-up aimless kind of hope.

We have hope because we are invited and welcomed into the grand and beautiful story of God where His love for us was actually acted out in the display of love that is Jesus Christ.

He’s the long-awaited lamb of God that would take the sin of the world on His shoulders. The fulfillment of a promise — a promise that a sacrifice would come to restore a broken relationship between God and His people, and a promise that has not expired.

As the timeless hymn humbly declares, “Come, thou long expected Jesus / Born to set thy people free / From our fears and sins release us / Let us find our rest in thee”

Today is about the birth of Jesus Christ and the true hope He is — one that offers grace and healing for the isolated, depressive, and trauma-filled people we are.

May we find rest in that promise.



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