The Ups and Downs of Life

Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth. John 17:17

Counseling teenagers is similar to riding my favorite roller coaster at our local amusement park. One session we are on the uphill ride, excitedly talking about a new dating relationship or summer job opportunity and then the next session can likely be the downhill spiral filled with tears and phrases like “I hate my life (and everyone in it)” after a breakup or some type of letter of rejection or other failure…. Life lived by the reality of quickly changing circumstances and the tumultuous thoughts and emotions that accompany them.

In many ways I loved AND hated those teenage years. Such fun, such heartache and insecurity. Adolescence is filled with intense and fast-changes physically, emotionally and relationally. One day I would be happy and excited about my life and the next I would be consumed by fear, anger and self-pity. The truth about myself and my life was always interpreted through the lens of my circumstances and my feelings (which, by the way, changed momentarily). If I did poorly on a test and was sad and angry at myself, I concluded I was stupid and not as smart and as valuable as others. If I was asked out on a date, I concluded I was pretty and desirable and thus felt confident. When that same guy dumped me a month later I told myself I must be ugly, unlovable, and my confidence crashed.

The point is this: life is filled with ups and downs and constantly changing circumstances (not just in the teen years). God affirms this reality in the bible and tells us that we can either be tossed and turned by those changes or we can be anchored by HIM in the truth of His word. “Sanctify” just means to make holy…to become more like Jesus. The bible tells us that process happens through interacting (reading, memorizing, praying) God’s word. Instead of interpreting life through the grid of our experiences and the emotions that follow, we are told to interpret life through the filter of God’s word. His word is truth. Not our feelings. And this is how we grow. A wise mentor of mine used to tell me over and over again, “your feelings are real and good, but they are not necessarily the truth. God’s Word is truth.” I have clung to those wise words throughout my life….through the ups and downs of college, boyfriends, job changes, my fathers death, marriage, the birth of my three children and the roller coaster ride of parenting. Life is constantly up and down, but God anchors us and tells us that HE never changes, His Word NEVER changes. Through the hills and valleys of each life stage we can be tethered to the One who the bible says is our ROCK - Jesus our Savior… a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever….whose Word never changes (unlike our emotions) and who died for us keeping his Word. Lets rejoice today that He is our Anchor, our Rock and our Redeemer.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that my circumstance and my thoughts and emotions are not necessarily the truth. You are the truth. Help me today to have that perspective. Strengthen me to rest in and believe that you are who you say you are, and you are with me. In Jesus name, Amen.