She is 26, and she aches for the children she cannot have.
She is 30, and fears that she’ll never get out of debt or own a house.
She is 37 and sobs that she’ll never be a great wife and mother.
She is 29 and wonders if she’ll ever find work that brings her joy.
She is 32 and cries out that her life is so fruitless she cannot possibly be a real Christian.
She is me.
In each moment — and a million other moments in between — I felt like I was falling behind an unspoken standard — not keeping up with invisible milestones of maturity in my mind.
I could not possibly be a good woman or wife or mother or Christian because I had not done a or b — I did not feel like x or y.
The Colossians were having the same problem, it seems. False teachers had come into the church, rebuilding old altars and standards that Christ had demolished in His death. If you do this, or you don’t do that, you cannot be whole.
In Colossians 2:16, Paul steps in to stop this thinking: let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
The calendar God established for His people in the Old Testament set apart dozens of times to worship and confess, to give thanks and receive forgiveness. Festivals were yearly observances, the new moon happened each month, and the Sabbath each week.
These days were so important to obedience that when the Jews were in slavery, their captors would often forbid them from seeing the new moon, which was the way they marked each month and knew when to celebrate all of the other days and feasts that had been commanded.
They didn’t know how to be close to God without their calendar. Their holiness — their very identity — was marked by milestones in time.
We place our identity in different milestones now, but Paul says that old way is gone — Christ has “taken it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).” Don’t let anyone pigeonhole you because you haven’t completed some so-called required step, he says. Let no one categorize you — judge you — disqualify you — define you — by your progress on the calendar. You are defined by the work of Christ alone.
Your milestones have been replaced by the Cornerstone.
The tyranny of the calendar stopped the moment our eternal life started, because our Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. All moments, all months, all years are me, He says.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, He says. (Mark 1:15)
There is no falling behind for one whose life is hidden in mine.
Freeing for those who struggle with the unmet standards and expectations of self and others. #me
Thank you for the reminder.
Me, too, Latoya. So grateful for grace.
This reminds me of a book that influenced me greatly early in my spiritual life, "Faith Is Not a Feeling" by Ney Bailey. Often feeling like a failure and that I was falling short of God's plan, this book spoke to me as the author used scripture to reinforce that God is the one who causes growth in our life (1 Cor 3:6, 7): "No matter where we are right now in our growth, we are right on schedule. We are still totally loved and accepted by Him. God is not surprised that we are where we are." She concluded that chapter with a reminder, "Wherever we are right now, we are loved and forgiven. We are 'right on schedule' according to God's timetable. He who has begun a good work in us will continue to perform it." (Phil 2:13). Whenever I feel I am behind or not where I "should be," I take comfort in these reminders.
Awesome Shawnlei. Thanks for sharing this with me!
I was that momma this week crying in the shower over my inability to do anything right (at least how it felt to me). Thank you for being real through your weaknesses too. He has done it al! I can rest in that.
thanks for being real too, Becky. Praying for you today.
Awesome message and quite appropriate timing, for me. I am currently dealing with severe feelings of inadequacy because of a number of things missing – a real job, no husband, piles of debt, etc.
Thank you for sharing God’s message that our identity is in Christ and not our circumstance. Knowing that gives me peace and comfort.
I have a friend who is also dealing with similar issues. I pray that I can share this insight with him, and that he may come to know the truth and have its peace.
Thanks for posting this message Kelly.
I’m so glad that this was encouraging to you Ann. I will pray for you friend this morning, too.