Loss draws a line in the sand for many of us. One of the most important questions we find ourselves asking in the face of loss is, “What really matters?” When my Australian-born husband’s mom, Jenny, received the difficult diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor, we were devastated. She was young and beautiful and we needed her presence in our lives and the lives of our children.
In the middle of the yearlong battle that our family walked through, I was beginning to write the words you hold in your hands. Inspiration at this time came from a very sobering, still place: If I were to die in a year’s time, what letter would I want to write to my children, the church, and the generations to come? What would I want to leave with them?
As quickly as I had the thought, the answer came—I would want them to know the difference between a life lived faking it with a hollow religion, obligation, mediocrity, people pleasing, and rule following and a life lived passionately following Jesus. A life lived committed to a beautiful journey of discovery on the road less traveled, full of revelation, mistakes, and honest moments; relationships lived in reciprocity, simplicity, and power. Following Jesus is a daily invitation for more, and it’s not always easy. This is how Jenny, my mum-in-law, followed Jesus, and it was strength to behold.
Following Jesus is a process, one that requires us to lay down our lives and follow Him daily but not out of a loveless obedience. We follow Him out of a knowing that we are so loved that our lives were worth dying for. As a result, we are saved and reconciled back to our created purpose. Faking it is not how we intend to live, and sometimes, when we find ourselves in that place, we’re not really sure how we got there.
When the good news of the gospel becomes a genuine reality for us, we cease the rote trajectory characteristic of religious obligation and begin to lovingly and passionately follow Jesus anywhere, anytime—no matter the cost.
Is there a loss of someone important or of a relationship in your life that has caused you to ask, what really matters? What is one thing you can do today to move toward what really matters in your life?
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