All the things.

I have seen tons of memes with “all the things” as the tag line. Let’s face it, they’re pretty accurate, especially when talking about hitting the dollar spot at Target. I definitely want ALL the things there, and usually turn the dollar spot into the $50 spot. So why is it when it comes to Jesus that we settle for just some, or a few of the things? Why do we not want all of the things he has to offer us?

I am definitely a person who gets a little carried away with things. If I find a shirt that I love, I buy it in every color. If I like a TV series I have to watch all the episodes at least 100 times, and find out everything there is to know about the actors, background, random facts etc. If I like something, I wear it out (and wear you out talking about it) until I either get tired of it, or something else sparks my interest. It is a blessing and a curse, but never the less who I am. This characteristic of mine has never left me void of passion or enthusiasm, and for that I am thankful. It has however, left me disappointed more times than I can count. You see when one of these “passions” is exhausted in my life, I am left feeling empty, and begin searching for a new one. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I embarked on a passionate journey that has yet to leave me anything but full of anticipation of what will unfold next. I was 19 when I completely surrendered my life to Jesus. I was in it for the long haul. Looking back, I am sad that I waited so long.

I had heard about Jesus my entire life. My dad had been preaching since he was 15, and my mom had been involved in church on various levels her entire life. Nearly my entire extended family were active in church, and every where you turned someone was talking about Jesus. I knew about him. I knew he loved me. I knew he wanted me to surrender my life to him, but I didn’t know what that would mean. I had this idea that by surrendering my life to Jesus, I couldn’t be me any more. I didn’t think I could be passionate about the things I loved any more. I thought I would have to live a boring life void of any real enthusiasm. I couldn’t bear the thought, so I held back. I heard him calling me, and even dedicated portions of my life to him, but wouldn’t surrender.

Now I’m not 100% sure how I came to those conclusions about living for Jesus, but I have a few ideas. No one told me that specifically, but Satan is really good at taking a few tidbits here and there and weaving them together into something that sounds like it should be right. Thankfully the love of Jesus was stronger than any lies Satan had to tell. As he continued to pursue me, I couldn’t deny him any more. I knew that the love I felt was worth more than anything in my life I would ever have to give up, because NO ONE had ever loved me like that. But because he is also a humorous God, he actually ended up using one of my lifelong passions to win my heart. It was in watching a single girl perform a drama using sign language to a song that I truly understood. I had been dancing since the age of 3, and using my talents through any avenue I could squeeze into my schedule. It was in watching that girl, that I truly understood for the first time that Jesus didn’t want my life just to take it and stick it in a “Christian mold”. He actually wanted me.

He wanted my talents. He wanted my gifts. He wanted my passions. He wanted my quirks, my insecurities. He wanted my enthusiasm and stubbornness. He wanted that shy girl who was just crazy enough to chase her dreams. He wanted the girl who was awkward in just about every social interaction, but didn’t care to perform a solo in front of a million people. He wanted my weird, my ugly, my beautiful, my strange. He wanted the parts of me that didn’t fit anywhere else in this world. He wanted the parts of me that nobody understood. He wanted my fears, my failures, my hopes, my dreams. He wanted ALL THE THINGS that make up Leiah. (Even the weird spelling of my name). He wants ALL OF THE THINGS that make up you as well.

I quickly found out that He didn’t want my life so that I couldn’t be me any more. He actually wanted my life so that he could show me so much more about my self. So that he could tell me all the things he had in mind for me when he created me the way that I am. He wanted me to change some things, sure, but he did that by letting me know that the only things he wanted to change in me where the things that were never intended to be there anyway. Jesus never intended for us to have sin, nor have to live out the life that goes along with sin (guilt, shame, etc). He helped me understand that what he wanted to do was ultimately show me how he had taken great care to fashion me in his image, while giving me an individual personality that would exude his image in a unique way. I knew that I had found my place, and it was in Jesus.

So in true Leiah fashion, I took off running. The passion, the excitement, it was all there. I was discovering new things about Jesus daily and my desire for more was driving me forward. For a while, I was so much on cloud 9 with this new passion that I didn’t think about much else. It took a little while, but I did come down. I began to realize something. I realized that not only did Jesus want ALL of me, but he wanted me to know ALL of him. For Him, knowing all of me was easy, he created me after all. For me, knowing all of him however was a different story. You see getting to know someone is a process. It takes time, and experiencing life with them. It is no different with Jesus. So what have I found Jesus to be to me over the years? ALL THE THINGS.

It’s a beautiful process to find out all Jesus can be in your life. It also doesn’t come over night. It comes by going through life with him. It comes when you invite him in and see what he has to say about every part of your life. You learn what a wonderful Savior He is by realizing your sin and your desperate need of saving, and the great lengths he went to so that you could be! You learn what a friend he truly is, when none of yours can be found and He is right there waiting. You learn what a good listener he is by pouring out your heart to him without restraint to find no judgement there. You learn what an amazing counselor he is when you listen to the advice he has concerning how to handle even the craziest most chaotic things in your life and it works out perfectly. You learn about his great comforting when you go through something extremely unbearably painful and He is there wrapping his arms around you the entire time. You learn that he is a monetary provider when he opens doors and opportunities, and takes what you have and always makes it more than enough. You learn that he is also a provider in every other area, always there ready and waiting to give you exactly what you need in your life spiritually, emotionally etc.. when you don’t have one single clue what you need. You learn that he is a healer, by going through seasons of brokenness and every thing is falling to pieces and He is there mending your heart. You also learn that he is a healer by suffering through illness to find that he is also there to mend your physical body. You learn that he is your victory when you find him fighting for you and winning battles on your behalf when you know that you were headed for defeat on your own. You learn that he is the absolute lover of your soul when you have been left to feel worthless by the world, and then experience those intimate moments basking in His great love and adoration for you.

I won’t list all of the things I have learned him to be because it would require a lot more time than I have to write, or than you have to read. I will tell you that the ongoing theme in learning all the things about Jesus is that you do it by experience. You can and should read about Him, to know what to expect and to know what to look and ask for, but until you really experience it for your self, you have NO idea what he is really capable of. Jesus knows you are going to go through the trials of life with or without Him in it. It rains on the just and the unjust. So if you thought you were going to be able to learn all the things about Jesus for your self just by reading this post, I am sorry to disappoint you. I am excited however to let you know that this life you are going to go through one way or another can be a million times sweeter when you discover all the things Jesus is by inviting him along for the journey. Don’t hold back a single thing in your life from him, he wants ALL THE THINGS that make up you! Don’t fail to learn ALL THE THINGS Jesus is because you don’t want to surrender and do things his way! Don’t be scared of ALL THE THINGS Jesus has planned for you, he will equip you! Don’t miss out on ALL THE THINGS he desires to bless you with because you are holding back! Go all in with Jesus and don’t stop until you’ve done and gotten ALL THE THINGS! I promise you 100,000,000 times it will be worth it, and your life will be more abundant even on the worst days with Jesus than you could have ever dreamed the best days could be without Him.

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