Are you ready to hear a story? One that has been on my heart for quite some time. The Lord has pushed and prodded but if you want to know the truth, I still was not ready to face the truth. I'm still not what I would consider ready, but over the past few weeks I've had multiple instances of the Lord whispering that someone was waiting to hear this. If you the person who this is meant for, know you are loved, you have a friend in me, and the Lord has plans for you larger than your wildest dreams.
Once upon a time..... okay so this really isn't a fairy tale. It all ends amazing but the road to here was bumpy and full of lessons I really would rather not learn again. I became a Christian at a very early age. I knew that Jesus had died for my sins. I knew that asking Him to forgive me was my only way to heaven. I could not wait to ask him to save me and learn as much as I could.
I know so many hymns, I memorized scripture. I knew where to find verses in the Bible, I could witness to people. God gave me the type of personality that enjoys being pushed out of my comfort zone. I also have a really good memory. I was in Sunday school, awana, GAs, and church services. I took notes, I even took Bible class at school. I absorbed all of the information I could.
Do you hear a common theme????
I, I, I..... listen to how impressive I think I am. Read all the words I know. I know obscure facts. I can talk to people. I know the Bible.
Do you know the problem? PRIDE. I can do all of this. I know all of this. What's the point of studying because I know all of this. What was the next thing to happen to someone so convinced of what they knew and what they were worth?
Well, God in His infinite glory took me down a peg. I had to question who I was. I was a target of bullying. I spent my middle school years and part of my high school incredibly unhappy. I didn't feel pretty, I didn't have a lot of friends, and I cried almost daily. I was so ready to be done that I clung to God and found my identity in Him. I began to see how He worked and this head knowledge of a just God became my heart knowledge of a loving God. In Christ I was happy, I put my heart and soul into worshiping Him. Instead of doing everything in church to fill my head, I wanted to fill my heart.
However, just like Israel, learning a lesson once was not good enough for me. When I got into college I knew God had a plan for me. I had learned so much, I had served in so many ways. I enjoyed choir and I loved to teach. I was smart, I was deserving. See, God was going to bless me. I knew that he would send me a boyfriend, an amazing job, and a place for me to serve in the church.
But the problem remained the same, I was waiting for what I deserved. And do you know what I deserved? An eternity separated from God. I deserved death for my sins. It didn't matter how much I knew or how impressive I thought I was, I was still a sinner saved by grace.
I thought that the more I knew, the more I pushed myself out there, that I was making God proud. The truth was, I was proud of myself. Not proud of what God had given me but proud of my abilities. Proud of me, what I can do. I had a great plan for how God was going to bless me because I was such a great Christian. However, I was a perfect example of fake it til you make it.
I faked my self esteem. I faked part of my personality. I didn't know who I was, where I belonged, what my story was, so I took control of what I could, my image. That became more important than who I was. I wanted everyone to believe I knew the answers, that I was blessed, and that I loved my self. I didn't need friends and it didn't hurt that I didn't have them. But recently I've been forced to face that hard truth face on.
Those things hurt. I wasn't me, I was pretending to be a version of me people would like. I was so focused on my abilities and my pride that I missed God's blessings. Cause here's the thing, God has s allowed me to go on this amazing journey surrounded by women who love me and support me. God does not want me to rely on myself or my strengths. In fact God has taken away things to break my pride. In the end it has nothing to do with me.
My greatest story has nothing to do with what I can do. My story is about what Christ has done for me. How if Christ loved me enough to die for my sins that I can love myself too. I now surround myself with people who help keep my pride in check. My greatest sorry is that Christ saved my soul. And if I can keep my pride in check, I want to spend my whole life helping show people what God has done. I want people to see Him in me. And I never, ever, ever want to hear God tell me again that I am in His way. My life is His to use.... even I have to painfully admit what I consider my largest flaw and growing point! I hope you find encouragement to get out of God's way and just allow Him to fill you completely with his mercy and grace.