Recently I’ve spent some time on Facebook. I’ve had an account for a while, but never did much with it until just recently. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of reconnecting with quite a few faces from the past. This has been a great joy. However, at times it has reawakened a few skeletons as well.
As we catch up everyone seems to ask the same question, “How are you?” In essence they’re asking, “Who are you now?”
I want to proclaim to those in my Facebook world, “I am not who I was!” Life has changed…and praise the Lord I have changed too.
I am not that high school girl that I once was…awkward and shy, greatly lacking in self-confidence. I had been sheltered from the world…surrounded by church things. At that time I think I genuinely loved people; yet I was somewhat judgmental because I had never experienced…well, much of anything. I had been taught the Word of God, but I hadn’t established my own beliefs much at all. In fact, I was very confused about what I believed. My heart was doubtful. I was kind of going with the flow, trying to fit in (blend in) wherever I could…I just happened to be with church people most of the time.
I am not the girl I was right out of high school either. Thrust out into the workforce and straight into the realities of the world, I found that living life as a Christian was hard. Sometimes it seemed too hard for someone like me…not only a perfectionist, but also a people pleaser. I found myself doubting…doubting everything and once again going with the flow. I accepted things that I once thought were unacceptable…and further and further from my Christian foundation I went.
Then, there was the me in my early/mid 20s. What a time that was! I turned my back on God and chose to do things my own way…not all at once, but one step at a time. Although I felt the tugging of the Lord in my heart, most of the time I ignored Him. I put on a good front when necessary and still talked about God, but my heart was not very concerned with pleasing Him. My friends still considered me a “good girl”, yet I knew my heart wasn’t right. Really I just wanted to be cool, have fun…and feel accepted. I found all kinds of confidence, but it was in all the wrong things. To be honest, at first I thought I was having a pretty good time, but eventually, I paid the consequences of doing things my own way. I found myself in a huge mess. I felt empty and lost…wondering if there was a way out.
A tidbit from my life story:
In February of 2004, I hit what was “rock bottom” for me. I was 27 years old. I had recently moved back in with my mother because I was completely broke. I had just ended a long term relationship with a drug addicted boyfriend. I felt like my life was headed no where fast. One day I hit my knees. Cries from my broken heart pleaded with the Lord. I asked Him to forgive me for my rebellious ways. I told Him that I wanted to change. That I wanted to live for Him. That I knew that I was dirty and broken, but would He please renew me to live a life for Him and His service. I meant it and God heard my prayer. Something extraordinary happened within me that day. For the first time in a long time, faith welled up inside me. My heart changed. I knew-I JUST KNEW-that He was doing a “new thing” in my life (Isaiah 43:18 & 19).
God started a new work in me that day, but it wasn’t overnight. I’d like to say that the changes were instant and easy. In truth, growth has been gradual…and hard coming at times. At times I still struggle with old habits, doubts and ways of thinking. However, through God’s grace, I have seen amazing transformations take place in my life.
Things are not perfect and I still make a lot of mistakes, but God has done a work in me. I’m not who I was! I thank God that I am a forgiven. I am a new person…
“….those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”
II Corinthians 5:17
As I look at my past my heart aches as I think about where I have been. I told myself at that time that I would have no regrets and only learn from my mistakes. I thought I was pretty smart. Yet, here I am today with many regrets…wishing I had followed the path I knew was right all along. Realizing that I wasn’t so smart after all.
However, I was right about something…I did learn from my mistakes. I learned not to judge others. To be sympathetic to their situations because I have been there. I understand the restlessness that so many young people feel. The fears for the future and the doubts about God. I know what the world has to offer…and that it isn’t much! And I know that what the Lord has to offer is so much better! He gives life…and life more abundantly! I know that I now have a HOPE, PEACE and LOVE that I never had before. I spent a lot of time searching for those things in all the wrong places. I also know that being outside of God’s will is a miserable place to be.
I really, really like the words to the new Remedy Drive song titled “All Along”.
It’s not everything it seems - the world and it’s dreams
Slipping like water through my hands tonight
All the things I thought would fill me up inside
Left me empty here - and now I know why
Chorus: All along I was looking for something else
You’re something else
All Along I was looking for something more
You’re so much more
I finally found what I could never see before
You’ve always been the one that I was looking for
All my castles in the sand - washed away again
And I’m left right where I began tonight
The only thing that can ever fill me up
Has been right in front of me all the time
I won’t miss you - I won’t miss you this time
I say I want you - how I want you in my life
It’s sometimes hard to forget the past, forgive myself and to accept God’s acceptance. Yet, I’m grateful that the Lord is faithful. He will complete what He started in me. I can look at where I’ve already been and where He has lead me. Isaiah 43:18, 19 is such a good reminder of what the Lord has in store.
“But forget all that-it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do a brand new thing…”
The girl who was so concerned about just fitting in and pleasing others is now free to please only ONE. I don’t want to blend in anymore! Rather my prayer is that I will stand out as a woman of faith, obedience and trust…in the only one who fills the longing heart, Jesus.
I spent so much time searching for something more like He wasn‘t enough. Searching for someone who was right there all along! I should have known, but I guess I had to find Him for myself. Now I wonder how God will use me: my story, my mistakes, my experiences to help someone else.
Instead of proclaiming anything to anyone on Facebook or anywhere else, I will pray that my life, my spirit, my very being will proclaim the message of Jesus to them loud and clear. I pray that despite all my major short-comings and imperfections that His saving grace will be so evident in my life that they will see Him for themselves. That all who come into contact with me will see the reality of Jesus…working in a flawed, but forgiven person.
I pray that I can walk the walk worthy of my calling (Ephesians 4:1) and speak the words (His words) when He opens the door. I’m looking forward to what “brand new thing” He has in store for me next. I still have so much growing to do…but I’m not who I was!
Tell me, are you a new person? Are you searching for other things to fill up the longings of your heart? Or how is God working in your heart and life? What new thing is He doing in you?
As always, I am here to pray with you. Please e-mail me with any prayer requests, questions or thoughts that you may have. Or leave a comment on this post below.