noun: problems, difficulty, annoyance; a state or condition of distress
“Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.” Psalms 34: 19 MSG
I really don’t like the word “TROUBLE”.
Nothing feels good about being in trouble, having trouble, or causing trouble. At the first sign of this uncomfortable word, I run the other way as fast as I can.
I remember clearly the first time I got in trouble at school. I was in kindergarten. I had finally learned to climb up on top of the coat closet after watching many of my classmates accomplish this challenging and dangerous feat. As I sat there proudly swinging my feet above the admiring faces of my friends, our teacher suddenly came around the corner and spotted me. With a volume and tone that I had never heard come out of her mouth, she demanded that I COME DOWN RIGHT NOW. In one split second, my delighted heart turned ashamed and afraid. I silently vowed to stay out of trouble from that day on.
I worked awfully hard to keep my precocious and adventurous self in my teacher’s good graces. I didn’t want her-or anyone else for that matter–to get angry with me. I really tried not to get in trouble again.
But sometimes I did.
And I surely didn’t want to have any trouble. As I grew older and more responsible, I would diligently over-plan, over-pack, and over-think every situation. I felt confident that if I prepared well enough, I would be able to prevent anything from going wrong.
But, of course, it still did.
My most overwhelming, deep down, heart-stopping fear, though, was BEING trouble. I became quite adept at reading people, pleasing people, accommodating people–trying desperately to speak and act the way I thought they wanted me to. I was determined not to be an inconvenience. Annoying? Irritating? Difficult? Needy? I would've rather died than be any of those.
But sometimes I was.
When I talked to Jesus about this recently, I told Him that I was so sorry. That I never meant to be any trouble…
His response took me by surprise and caught my heart. He lovingly, gently, and very clearly told me that I actually AM a little bit of trouble.
Wait. WHAT? Did He really just say that?
Right away He reassured me with an overwhelming sense of peace that yes, He did. And this is why He came, He continued. To be with me in the middle of my mess.
It was almost as if I could see His eyes smiling at me, loving the girl He created with her adventurous, feisty spirit. Trouble and all.
Let’s invite Him in: Share with Him your regrets, your mistakes, your trouble. Talk to Him about the things you worry about in your body, in your family, in your world. He knows all about the mess that you are in, and He has so much compassion for you. Even though you can be a little bit of trouble sometimes, He couldn’t possibly love you more than He does right now. He created you, He adores you, and He wants to be with you–just the way you are. That’s exactly why He came.