the cross Between.

Merry Christmas to all! I hope and pray that you’ve had a wonderful Christmas celebration and are rejoicing in the coming of the Lord!

A few weeks ago, I was struggling to fall asleep. I laid in my bed, tossing and turning to no avail. I was thinking so intently about something that it began to stress me out and keep sleep and I even further apart. The more I tried not to think about the problem, the more it plagued my thoughts. The stress became so intense that I began to feel very dizzy, as though the room were spinning. While I am prone to migraines and vertigo spells (trust me, vertigo in real life is not nearly as fun as the U2 song suggests), I believe this bout of dizziness to be my own fault. I was stressing out far more than I needed to, and I was stressing over something about which I have no control. As I laid there, I asked the Lord to come into my stress and walk me through it.

I closed my eyes and tried to make the spinning stop when something wonderful and peaceful happened. I visualized the problem I was stressing out about. I saw before me, as though it were real, the person I was dreading and I began to imagine a conversation between us. Just as I was about to open my mouth to speak, out of the sky plopped Jesus, hanging on the cross, blocking my path. He was still alive and I could practically hear Him say, “You invited me into your stress, didn’t you?” I felt calm…which lasted about 30 seconds.

My favorite crucifix

My favorite crucifix

The room began to spin again and I closed my eyes tighter and saw my problem before me, with Jesus blocking my path. I tried to go around Him. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but I wanted to solve this problem in my mind, I wanted to have this imaginary conversation and just be done with it. I was fully convinced that if I could just imagine this conversation then the stress of it all would go away and I could be at peace. Jesus knew better. (Someone should really count how many times I’ve blogged that statement.) He never had to get off the cross, He simply looked at me as He hung there and reminded me that I was the one who invited Him here in the first place. It took a few more attempts at getting around the cross until I finally gave up. I knew that He was there because I didn’t need to have that imaginary conversation, nor did I need to worry about that situation or that person at all. He was and is calling me to focus on Him and Him alone. He knew that imagining that conversation would not give me true peace, nor would it help me let go of the situation at all.

If you have something you are struggling with and you feel like your world is spinning, invite Jesus into it. Imagine Him hanging on the cross between you and whatever you are struggling with. He wants you to focus on Him and Him alone. You can try to go over Him or around Him, but He hung on the cross and died for us so that we wouldn’t be overburdened. Put Him between you and your struggles and focus on what really matters: love freely poured out.

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