I heard this song (Beautiful Things by Gungor) as I drove in my car this morning. I have heard it many times, but today I paused to really think about the words and how powerful they were. As Easter approaches, I began to think how beautiful the reality of this day is for all of us; not just for Christians, but for everyone. It is such a beautiful “fairy tale-like story” that the Son of God would come to Earth to preach the good news of His grace and love, be persecuted by those same people whom He loved, hung on a cross and die, and then raise three days afterward. The reality is that it’s not finished and that He will return one day in the flesh, but in the meantime He still works within us…making us new every day…“making beautiful things out of us.” It’s so mind boggling and frustrating at times to attempt to comprehend this truth. I struggle. I struggle with letting go. I struggle with allowing Him to make me new every day. This is probably the most frustrating aspect of being a Christian (in my opinion). How is it that I know the truth, but I can’t walk in the truth every day? I know, I know…I’m human and I’m not perfect, but really what I’m getting at is when you know what God wants you to do or you know what he is laying on your heart to face and you refuse to change. Perhaps it’s because of fear of letting go (you want control), you lack trust in God, or you care too much what the world thinks. Besides thinking of the beautiful gift of Jesus’ resurrection when I heard this song, I was reminded that His resurrection was to set us free…to set me free. I knew exactly what God was whispering in my ear to do and I could either open up to the truth, or run away. Today, I am choosing to walk in the truth and to allow Him to make me new today. I know I am to share my story (briefly) because through my weakness, God has shown me has been strong for me all along.
I became aware of God’s love for me when I was 10-years-old. I began to attend a different church at the time and God became much more than someone I had heard of in Bible stories as I attended a Lutheran church in the years prior. I really felt a desire to know who God was. Around this same time I was becoming very critical of myself. At the age of 10 and only in the 5th grade, I had a serious complex of comparing myself to everyone and anyone I looked up to. It could be physical attributes or capabilities, it didn’t matter because ultimately I really didn’t care for who I was. Then just a year later I moved 600 miles away to a completely new city and state where I had to make new friends and a new life. At 11-years-old I was beginning to physically change and to make matters even more difficult to deal with I was the awkward “new girl” and already comparing myself to everyone. I clammed up. Fast forward almost twenty years and I am still the same awkward girl who puts on a front that I am confident when in reality I am not. For twenty years I have faked the world, but not God. For twenty years I have missed out on opportunities in my life because of my fear of inadequacy. For twenty years I have disliked many of my own attributes. And for twenty years God has seen it all. For twenty years He has been speaking truth into my life of who I am in His eyes, but I have let it not “be enough.” I have run away from His gentle hand more times than I would like to admit. You may say, “we all compare ourselves, Jen.” Yes, you are correct. But that’s just it, I don’t need reassurance from the world any more. I need God’s truth to soak into my very bones because the world’s approval is what I have sought and it has only brought me a world of heartache. To give you example after example of the comparisons in my life would be silly, but please know if you are reading this (and I know you) then I guarantee I have measured my worth in comparison to you. (If I had a “Guaranteed by Jen” stamp to make it that much more “legit”, then maybe you might believe me).
This year has really brought my insecurities to the forefront and I do know that it is time to let loose the reigns of trying to control my thoughts/comparisons. I write this for myself and not to “confess my sin” (ha! that sounds funny), but maybe, just maybe, you will see that God is making something beautiful from the dust in my life and today my prayer will be the same for you…
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12