I wonder if somewhere in the corners of her mind, Mary, while breathing through labor pains in the stable, thought to herself, “I didn’t sign up for this.” She must’ve thought a lot of things, but I wonder about this particular one. What did she do to deserve this kind of birth story for her son? Wouldn’t God have surely provided something better for her? For her Son— His Son?
I am not proud to admit this, but I have gone through a lot less than delivering a baby in the backyard of a hotel with hay beneath me, and I have said that phrase, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Sometimes, when I’m caught off guard, when life takes an unexpected, unpleasant turn. That phrase lurks in the desolate corners of my thought-life. It’s an immature thing to think and I don’t even want to think this phrase. So, why does it linger? It’s silly, really. None of us actually signed up for anything or did we?
As I’ve thought about it, and considered Jesus, I’ve actually come to a firm conclusion. The moment that I said yes to Jesus, that was when I signed up for everything. Jesus, at some divine point, signed up for everything too. As he lay in that manger on a starry night, babe and king of the world — he was saying yes to life on earth and an excruciating death on the cross. He knew the plan and yet, he said, “I’m in.”
When life gets sour, instead of saying “I didn’t sign up for this,” what if I said, “I’m in”?
As I’ve turned thoughts about this phrase over and over in my mind, I’ve come to a few conclusions about love:
- Love says “I’m in” when circumstances change.
- Love says “I’m in” when people change.
- Love says “I’m in” because Jesus showed us how.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)
What a demonstration that was. He didn’t look at us and think, “I didn’t sign up for this.” Instead God provided the most beautiful, sacrificial, and awe-inspiring expression of what love looks like and said, “I’m in.”
This Christmas if you find yourself in a long line, if you find yourself cleaning up after a sick child, if you find yourself unsuccessfully trying to repair a relationship, if you find yourself lonely, sorrowful, frustrated, or afraid, remember that God demonstrated to us a love that said, “I’m in.”
The “I’m in” love is not an easy love, but it’s a rich love.
Jesus signed up for you, even at your worst. I invite you to say, these words — perhaps even as an act of worship. Also, it’s a much shorter phrase to remember than the first one. 😉 May your Christmas and everyday-life be filled with this robust, “I’m in” kind of love.
Lindsey Feldpausch is a writer, speaker, and graphic designer. She lives in a small town outside of Grand Rapids Michigan. Married to a humble, handsome Youth Pastor, together they have four children. She is a Projects Manager for a Proverbs 31 Author & Speaker, Spokeswoman for Jonathan Park Audio Adventures, and Reviewer of Family Products at TheBetterMom.com. She can’t wait to tell you a story and can’t wait to listen to yours. Jesus is her Savior. She is currently unfinished.