I'm a grown up now. I was hanging out with some freshman girls tonight (whom I love and really enjoyed spending time with) but man do I feel old. Of course we were talking about wedding stuff and getting married, and how crazy that reality is! We started talking about how I'll be graduating college, searching for job, getting married...! BAHH.
I also got the opportunity to talk to them about who I was when I was a freshman in college, right where they currently are. I came to Miami, "trying" to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I came college with the hopes of being a good Christian and living a Christian life. I had a wonderful Christian roommate (who is still one of my best friends, current housemate, and in my wedding), I didn't "party" or go out, i went to New Leader Training (NLT) for Young Life, I tried to go to church regularly... I was being good, right? I never just rested in the fact that I had been saved by Jesus from trying to be good. My past had been so rough, I had already come so far, and been saved from a lot, but i still felt as though I needed to present good works to God and try really hard to be that good Christian girl.
Much to my dismay, my good works never sustained or lasted. I could try with all my might to fight temptation and "be good" for a couple months, and honestly I fooled others and sometimes myself... but then when I could no longer fight on my own strength, I fell... hard. The worst thing about it all was that I really thought I was following the Lord. Not to say that I wasn't saved from those things or that I wasn't following Jesus, because I believe that the good work was started within me and it was the beginning of a journey and process. I just complicated it and made it so much harder than it needed to be... all I needed to do was simply surrender.
As I said before, I crashed. This was my cycle all through high school too. I would feel encouraged and empowered, and decide to make a commitment to not do the things I was doing any more. Then a couple months following that commitment I would cave under pressure and crash.
Another funny thing is that I got the word "completion" tattooed on my foot right after my senior year of high school. It is reference Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." I honestly don't remember what it meant to me back then, maybe I was already tired of trying and knew that some day things would be "complete". Now I'm so encouraged by this verse. I am confident that the good work will be brought to completion, it is a process of sanctification... It is long and often painful. It's definitely not easy to allow yourself to be refined, transformed, made new, changed, and stripped...
Here's the point of all of this... Regardless of my vain attempts, I couldn't keep masking myself or pretending like I was a "good" girl. I needed to be saved, I needed to believe that the Jesus I said I wanted to follow when I was a freshman in high school, really did die so that I may be freed from my sin. I needed to understand that there was NOTHING I could do to fix myself or cover up my sins... only the loving grace and blood of Jesus could clean and cover my stains and my blemishes. During my freshman year of college, when my area directors took, what I refer to as a risk (they might too), on me and I became a Young Life leader- this is the point when I realized people saw something in me. When they looked at me they didn't see my struggles, my imperfections, my past... they saw me as a clean, pure, freed, and saved young women! They saw potential in me, they saw a future me, they saw who I would become when I gave everything, including my efforts, up to Jesus.
Romans 6:5-7 puts it into far better words than I ever could...
"For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin."
I'm Not Who I Was- Brandon Heath
I encourage you to listen to this song... How many of us think about who we we once were? That we went from being blind to seeing! That we crossed from death to true life! That we were lost and are now found! That we felt unloved and now know that we are loved by the creator of the Universe!
Take this opportunity to reflect on your life...
This is my prayer today:
I want to constantly look back and see who I was and what I was saved from. I pray that my view of God would never stop growing because I know the transformation that was done in my life and the life of so many others. I want to continually praise God who SAVED and FREED me from my sinful ways, and that each day I would pick up my cross and surrender my life.