I’ve been yearning for a vacation for months now. It’s not that I don’t have a surplus of vacation days; I just haven’t known how to gracefully bow out of the never-letting-up-responsibilities of life.
Recently, though, I got desperate. I asked my prayer team to pray that God would provide a vacation, and then I blocked off this week as a quiet “stay-cation” since I didn’t have the energy to plan a full-fledged vacation.
God’s Gracious Provision
Last week I asked my advisory council if they had any ideas for how I could spice up my stay-cation. One woman’s response caught me off guard, “My husband and I have been praying about who could use our timeshare in Florida; we can’t make it this year.”
God lavishly provided.
It didn’t take long for the details to fall into place. She okayed it with her husband; my boss approved the time off; a friend helped me find the steal of the year on a direct flight (no small thing when it’s just seven days out!); and the rest is history (well, future, I guess).
God lavishly provided.
The only problem . . . I would be going alone.
But No One Vacations Alone!
Vacationing solo just isn’t done. Even eating out alone has a stigma in our culture. I wasn’t the only one who considered this. More than one person asked if I’d be okay, vacationing by myself for a whole week.
Am I ever really alone?
But should the fear of loneliness cause me to turn down a timeshare on the Atlantic Ocean? Isn’t that same fear of loneliness what’s causing my friend to stay with her abusive boyfriend? And am I ever really alone?
I don’t doubt there will be moments during my vacation when I feel lame and left-out in this world geared for two, but in my friend Lina Abujamra’s words, I’ll use the bitter pill of loneliness during those times to press into the very heart of God.
Besides, there’s no avoiding the unannounced visit of loneliness—it sneaks up on the best of us—even when we’re surrounded by friends.
So I’m embracing this vacation as a retreat with God. I’ll bike and think and swim and read and explore and write and strike up conversations with strangers and get a tan and eat fresh fish from the ocean and prepare for next week’s speaking engagement and pray and write old-fashioned letters to people and sleep in and catch a sunrise and . . . above all, rest.
Call it lame to vacation alone; I call this pure gift.
How about you? Would you ever vacation alone? Eat out alone? Why or why not?
“I will never leave you nor forsake you” –God (Heb. 13:5).
Turned out, God knew what He was doing. (He always does!) While Revive Our Hearts is a national radio program, Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a friend, and it’s so much easier to share freely with a good friend, don’t you agree?
As soon as we started talking, all apprehension lifted. For three hours we talked like friends do, and then we turned out the studio lights and went back to normal life. I did a few more book interviews, heard the editors were tweaking and the transcriptionists were transcribing . . . and now, here it is!
I am in-between both of those characteristics: Adam and Christ. Some days I give into the world, other days I live my life for Christ. It is a never-ending battle.
Here’s the thing: Being in Christ is less about your experience and more about your position in Christ. There isn’t any in-between. You’re either all the way “in Adam” or all the way “in Christ.”
The fact is, all of us were born “in Adam,” but if and when we put our trust in Jesus to be our righteousness, we are born again “in Christ.” We are one with Him now. It’s a fact. A true one.
Paul begins Romans 6 by asking should we keep sinning ’cause we’ve been shown such crazy extravagant grace in Jesus? NO WAY! he bursts in on himself. We’ve died to sin! We died and were buried with Jesus, and now we, too, have brand-new resurrection life. We have power over sin.
Our job—to believeit to be so,
You also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11).
As you begin to operate out of who you are (dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus), it will drastically change what you do.
My whole life I’d struggled to defeat the power of sin—with no success. But now I was reading startling truths I’d never grasped.
It wasn’t just Jesus who had died—I’d died with Him. It wasn’t just Jesus who had been buried—my old self, packed with sin, had been buried with Him, too. And when Jesus burst out of that tomb with brand-new resurrection life, I, too, was given new life! Galatians 2:20 sums it up well:
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
For the first time, I understood that Jesus didn’t die to forgive me of my sin but leave me in it. He died to forgive and to free me from the power of sin. Suddenly I realized I didn’t have to be jealous of that pretty girl. I didn’t have to covet every guy I saw. I didn’t have to hate that guy for not liking me. I wasn’t powerless anymore.
In fact, in Christ I was no longer that helpless, hopeless, boy-crazy girl. I had a new identity now: I was dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. My only job? Believing it to be so and living in light of that truth.
From that point on, I saw God begin to change not only my outward behavior but even the hidden desires of my heart. Whether I actually became a Christian at this time or not, I can’t say. I asked Jesus to save me at about age four, but this was the first time I really understood why the Good News was such good news!
This was the beginning of my whole new life.
Notice I said “the beginning.” It’s not like I was instantly transformed. But as I remembered, believed, and personalized these truths, my overwhelming despair ebbed away and was gradually replaced by hope. I stopped trying so hard and just started dying. Or rather, I started believing that I had already died with Christ. I gave up control and let Jesus take over.
How about you? Have you repented of your sin and put all your faith in Christ’s righteousness instead of your own? If so, you are now dead to sin, alive to God, and in Christ Jesus. Regardless of how you lived yesterday (or today!), this is true of you. Now, begin to thank God for this truth. Wear it. Remember it. Relish it. Live from it.
I don’t know you personally, but I can narrow the most influential man in your life down to one of two men. I don’t have a glass ball, and I haven’t stalked your Twitter account, but I know because these two men have been the two most important men in my life, too.
The crazy thing is, no two men have been more impactful in your story, either. No, I’m not talking about your dad or your crush (important as they are!). I’m talking about Adam and Jesus Christ.
How Adam Shaped Your Story
Adam lived thousands of years ago. You probably already know he was the first man God created! You can read the highs and lows of Adam’s story here. You might think a man who lived so long ago has nothing to do with your life today, but you’d be dead wrong about that. Romans 5:12 shares how even now Adam impacts your life:
Just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.
If you want to throw tomatoes at Adam right about now ’cause he blew your chances at a sinless life, think again. The end of Romans 5:12 makes it clear that “all sinned.” Romans 3:23 confirms it: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
There’s no doubt that Adam was the most influential man in your life. His story shaped your story. The question is . . . is Adam still the most influential man in your life or is Jesus Christ.
How Christ Can Transform Your Story
Romans 5:15–19 shares some amazing news:
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s [Adam’s] trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. . . . For as by the one man’s [Adam’s] disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s [Jesus’] obedience the many will be made righteous.
It’s true that Adam’s story was your story. But Christ Jesus wants to transform your story by giving you new life—His life!
When you are born again in Christ, you receive a brand-new identity. Everything changes—everything becomes new—beginning with you.
Your identity is not volleyball captain or sci-fi nerd or piano prodigy. Your identity is either wrapped up “in Adam” or “in Christ.” And the implications of that identity are huge. Eternal. Forever.
A well-known pastor says it better than I can:
In Adam there is defeat, but in Christ there is victory.
In Adam there is condemnation, but in Christ there is salvation.
In Adam we receive a sin nature, but in Christ we receive a new nature.
In Adam we are cursed, but in Christ we are blessed.
In Adam there is wrath and death, but in Christ there is love and life.
Which man has been—and is—most influential in your life? Are you in Adam or in Christ?
To hear how this truth of being in Christ began to free me from my boy-crazy struggle, answer the question above. I’ll choose one of you at random on Monday, October 7, to receive a copy of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom.