What It Feels Like to Lose Everything

I need to share a moment with you guys. 

Happened a month ago. Late Saturday night. I’m on a flight back from out west, and I have a long layover in the Phoenix airport. I can’t sit still, so I take the metro to go explore downtown Phoenix. At 1 am, I find myself sitting at an empty train station waiting for my transportation back to the airport. 

You know those moments where life hits you all at once? This is one of them. I suddenly realized, I don’t have a job. I don’t have a place to live. I don’t even have a car right now. Fall is pretty much here, and I have no plans. This is terrifying. 

I thought back to a meeting I had earlier in the summer where I wrote everything going on in my life on a big marker board and talked about how overwhelmed I felt by the demands on my life. Now I had an overwhelming feeling on the opposite end of the spectrum. All the stuff I had written on the marker board was gone. The jobs, the leadership positions, the responsibilities. I was leaving a church and a school and had unintentionally lost friends in the process. And in that moment, it felt like I had lost everything. 

Now before you ask why I’m sharing this incredibly depressing moment, here’s what I need you to know. In that moment, when I realized I lost everything, I realized I still had Jesus. And because I had Jesus, I had everything that I needed. 

God spoke to me very clearly in that moment. He told me, “Kiddo, you’ve been trying to be so many things and do so many things. You’re exhausted and drained and weary. And tonight, I am just inviting you to come to me. All I want right now is for you to be my kid. Not a pastor, not a worship leader, not an RA, not a youth leader, not somebody with influence and leadership and a career. Not somebody with a job and a car and a place to live and a steady source of income and a five year plan. Tonight, I want it just to be enough for you to be my kid.” 

So I sat there and wept. I cried and talked to Jesus. I didn’t try to impress anyone. I didn’t try to fill the space with obligations and commitments. I just sat there and spent time with the God who made me and knew me and loved me. And I realized that I had everything I needed. 

That’s the beautiful thing about losing everything. When everything that has come to define your life gets stripped away, you realize that you had a deeper identity all along. You haven’t lost who you really are. And you can say from experience, Jesus + nothing = everything.