Life’s Still Hard

by Rich Dixon on May 22, 2015

flower“Christ is King, but life’s still hard.”

I looked at his lined, weathered face and thought I’d rarely heard a better seven-word sermon. I also thought I likely had no idea what “hard” meant in his world.

It’s easy to discover the truth of either half of my friend’s statement. When the sun shines and all the traffic lights are green, it’s easy to count our blessings and praise God. When everything’s going great, praise songs and “Christ is King!” seem like the most natural thing in the world.

But imagine my friend, trying to peer over the edge of addiction, clinging by his fingernails and hoping he won’t slip back into the abyss. When you’re a few months from desperation, “Life’s still hard” makes complete sense.

The simple, difficult reality: like my friend, we live in the tension between these two realities. I think we miss something whenever we lose sight of either side.

I hope I’ll  stop in the midst of trial or pain to remind myself: Christ is indeed King. I don’t advocate platitudes in place of love and empathy, but I also don’t want to forget that Jesus walks with me in times of trial.

On the other hand, we can get so focused on worship that we discount the hard realities faced by others. Jesus spent much of His time comforting those folks, and reminded us that in this world we would have our share of trouble.

Life’s still hard. We face the hardship with hope because Christ is King.

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Detachment

by Rich Dixon on May 18, 2015

HAPPY MONDAY!

Some internal conversations bring us today’s word-of-the-week…

DETACHMENT

MondayGod and I have had some conversations recently about detachment.

My feeling, my internal sense of well-being, seems detached from circumstances. Things are going great, but I feel this internal depression and sadness with no apparent source or reason.

Since this blog is about following Jesus through ups and downs, I figured I’d be honest about this odd juxtaposition of happy outcomes and interior despair. Experience tells me I’m not the only person who’s awakened in this strange land.

Some thoughts.

I won’t impose platitudes on myself. Have faith. Jesus came to give you a joy-filled life. God doesn’t want you to be depressed.

All true enough, and all dripping with guilt when lobbed at myself in the midst of struggle. God and I are talking, Jesus and I are friends, and we’ll get through this. More guilt isn’t going to help.

I don’t need a better self-concept. What I really need is self-compassion. I need to take it easy on myself, to forgive myself, to let it be okay when I fall short of whatever expectations I set for myself.

Speaking of expectations, I need to stop! I imagine far too much about what others expect of me, and I set far too many expectations for myself. They’re killers.

These won’t solve the problem. The depression is an illness. I can’t wish it away. If you’re struggling in a similar place don’t let someone tell you you should, either.

But I’m not alone, For a long time, I wasn’t sure about that. It doesn’t make the problem disappear.

It does offer hope, the kind of hope that changes things.

Have a great week!

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The Truth About Truth

The other night we were talking about truth. What’s truth? Can we know it? Is there more than one version? Heady questions, for sure. I’ve been thinking about my ideas in connections with the TEDx Front Range talk I’m doing next month, and I thought I’d share a bit of it here. I’d appreciate your […]

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Appease

HAPPY MONDAY! A word I never use is today’s word-of-the-week… APPEASE I heard the word in a sermon, but I’m far too familiar with the concept of trying to appease God. When you lay it out, it sounds silly. Appeasement means paying God off. If I give God something that pleases Him, He’ll give me something […]

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Why I Don’t Rescue

Ever feel like you needed to rescue someone? As a new teacher, I was sure I had a lot to offer. The students needed me. They needed what I had. I was the outside expert parachuting into their world to save them from their ignorance and give them what they couldn’t possibly get for themselves. As […]

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Fit

HAPPY MONDAY! I wonder what you think about today’s word-of-the-week… FIT   I heard recently that a big problem with churches is that people don’t feel like they fit in. I suppose we’re supposed to conclude that churches need to morph and change to conform to the times. Do you agree? More and more I have […]

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An Angel Might Show Up

I tend to turn following Jesus into an intellectual exercise. Our small group discussed this verse a few days ago. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2) We all agreed on the need to be more aware of […]

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Children

HAPPY MONDAY! A visit to a neighbor church brings a smile and today’s word-of-the-week… CHILDREN I like the children’s sermon. Becky and I visited a church yesterday that does a children’s sermon during worship. The kids gathered around the leader, poking and squirming and trying to listen while he showed them a bag filled with stones. […]

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Can You Imagine?

Have you watched A.D. The Bible Continues? I caught a random episode last weekend and got absolutely caught up in one scene. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace […]

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Better

HAPPY MONDAY! A lesson in grace brings us today’s word-of-the-week… BETTER Ursula Ward had just heard the verdict. Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was guilty of murdering her son, Odin Lloyd. She stepped forward to speak before final sentencing. “I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son’s murder, either […]

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