“If Jesus were in me, wouldn’t He stick out all over?”

When I was a little boy, my mom told me that Jesus lived in my heart. I looked down my shirt and didn’t see Him, then asked my mom, “If Jesus were in me, wouldn’t He stick out all over?”

I had no idea at the time how true those words were. For all who truly love Jesus and accept His love, showing that love to others should be not just possible, but easy. It should be a part of us, shining through in all we do, obvious to everyone we meet.

It’s easy for me to forget that when I don’t feel loved, which usually happens when I don’t love myself. The truth, however, is that I’m loved more completely and irrevocably than my wife, despite her sincerest efforts, could ever love me. I’ve been accepted not just despite the things I’ve already done, but despite all the things I’m going to do in the future. All my struggles, all my pain, all my heartache, and all of these that I’ve caused others – He knows all and is able to look past it because of His love for me and His Son’s sacrifice.

And all I have to do is show that love to others, whom He loves just as much as He loves me. It’s not easy of myself, but with Him in my heart, I trust He’ll show me the way.

Bearing Others’ Burdens

Marriage has been a blessing in so many ways. I am amazed that it has been nearly four months already while simultaneously astounded that it has been only four months. My life has entirely changed. There’s another person here with me almost all the time, another person I have to make plans with, make shopping lists with, and split the chores with. I have my best friend with me nearly always, and we’ve had some very intimate conversations.

There is no one on this earth who knows my strengths and weaknesses better than Leah. She knows me well enough to finish my sentences a lot of the time. She laughs at the jokes running through my head before I even make them. And she knows the issues I struggle with on a daily basis.

With her help, grace, and wisdom, I have gotten better with certain issues, though I’m a long ways from being perfect. Her bearing my burdens, though, whether it’s having conversations with me, praying for me, or working with me on the books, has helped me immeasurably.

I know that not everyone who reads this will be married. Some of you may not have many close friends or anyone you feel you can open up to entirely about your life. I don’t know how you’ve been burned in the past (and nearly all of us have experienced the sting of betrayal or abandonment), but I do know that faith in God can help you overcome these fears.

It seems we have a much easier time bearing each other’s burdens than baring our own burdens to others. We like being trusted, we like the emotional intimacy and close friendship that comes from being open. We often just don’t want to be the ones who open up first.

A lot of this reluctance comes from a fear of rejection. Much of the rest comes from a fear that we’re just unloading on that person unfairly and they don’t really want to hear it.

As someone who has been deeply hurt in the past, let that hurt cause me to be a very private person, and has opened up again, I’m going to encourage you to do a couple things you might be uncomfortable with. I want you to tell someone what you’re going through. If you’re married, tell your spouse. Tell a trusted friend. If you have neither, tell a pastor. Find someone and just tell them something about your life that you’re not having an easy time with.

And then find someone and ask what they’re going through. Many people feel ignored and insignificant; just letting them know that you honestly care is often enough for them to open up, or at least be friendly with you. It doesn’t take much time, and the results could change the rest of your life.