BOOM. I’M POSTING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN WHAT FEELS LIKE YEARS. LET’S START THIS OFF REAL AND RAW. CONFESSION TIME.
So, I sat at my desk, fingers hovering over the keyboard of my laptop. I’ll be sixteen, I thought to myself. Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m turning sixteen.
And then what?
Or maybe the question I was asking myself is this, instead: what do I have to show for the sixteen years I have been alive?
I started thinking over all the things that want to be thought about whenever a birthday comes around. The first one sucker punched me right in the gut to guarantee that it was at the front of the line.
MY PAST. (A DISTRACTION FROM HERE AND NOW)
It only just hit me now that I have, at times (including in the past few days), been more concerned with my past than my future.
That’s not the way it should be. Why? Because Jesus Christ made me new, and then told me to forget about my past. AND then he promised me that He has a plan and that He will make a way.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. / 2 Corinthians 5:17
Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. / Isaiah 43:18-19
My past has some dark chapters in it, but there’s undoubtedly a lot of good to it as well. I have great memories. I have awful memories. There are tons of embarrassing stories I could tell you, but perhaps I should save them for another post. I’ve grown, I’ve learned, I’ve changed.
But the past is not what we should focus on when we turn a year older, or at anytime, for that matter. And what should be? The answer is beautifully simple and simply beautiful: Jesus.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. / Hebrews 12:2
The next thing that wouldn’t stop nagging me is an issue I’ve been fighting for a while, not only recently. It’s absurd and something that could never be a reality because I am a human being, and yet, I still have to stop myself from running after it all the time.
MY IDOL. (CHASING PERFECT)
I don’t feel perfect. I feel so far from perfect that I have been down in the dumps lately, mulling over how many other sixteen year olds out there ‘have their lives together’ and here I am, about to turn sixteen, and who am I anyways? What can I do? I’m not special. I’m not extremely talented, or super smart, or very beautiful. Sometimes it feels my life is just a tornado of doubt, loose ends and failures.
I don't know if you noticed what is wrong with that attitude, but God brought it to my attention. I’m writing this all down because He helped me realize, in His ever patient way, how vain, how self-centred and how self-obsessed I have been being. I have been wasting my time- adding up my triumphs, my goals, my first impressions on other people, my appearance, my worth and my story, and then still deciding that I fall short in every area. I've been idolizing the idea of perfection, when perfect isn’t even a thing that we as humans can manage anyways.
Basically, all I've been thinking about is me, and that's wrong. Me, myself, I, moi, mine, I deserve, I want, that’s mine. You get the idea. Because, reflecting on these thoughts that have recently been drifting aimlessly around in my head, I could not stand here (or sit here, if we’re being literal) and deny their nature to be purely egocentric and inward looking. And the bible does not agree with that kind of thinking.
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. / Philippians 2:3
I have been holding up the days I’ve spent in this world in my mind, turning them over, inspecting them, trying to extract what is good about me so that I can feel that I am going to qualify as ‘the perfect sixteen-year-old’. Yeah, I was gently reminded by the Lord that there’s no such thing as ‘the perfect sixteen-year-old’. God called me out on that pretty fast, and I’m so grateful. It took a huge weight off my chest. It’s funny how easily we let the devil lie to us and convince us that he knows or we know who we are and what we’re worth, and it’s amazing how Jesus comes to our rescue again and again.
Back to the point I was trying to make. I was spending my energy on trying to put together a picture of myself that I would actually like. I couldn’t. In fact, I failed miserably. Do you know why? It’s not only because I’m sinner who makes many, many mistakes and also someone who has to constantly fight their very insistent, self-seeking, self-pleasing side. I am that, exactly that, whether I choose to ignore it or not- IF I leave God out of the picture. You see, I was trying to be something admirable all on my own. Counting on my fingers the good works I’ve done, the adventures I’ve had, the people I’ve impacted.
But that ISN’T WHAT MATTERS. I am not what matters. I am not who matters. I want to let perfect go and feel the joy that comes with knowing that it's irrelevant when I look to my awesome and mighty God. Which leads me to the next thing that He happened to talk to me about today.
MY WORTH. (WHO I AM)
I don’t want to let those letters in bold confuse you. I put ‘WHO I AM’ there so that I could tear them down. It isn’t about who I am. Bam. For me, that is a revelation that I need to awaken to over and over again. Selfish person over here, if you haven't noticed. But the good news? The good news is that, as I already mentioned, I am made NEW in Jesus.
Another major problem with the path my mindset has been traveling down lately is something that I hadn't taken to heart as deeply as I needed to until this week. WHO AM I TO DECIDE MY OWN WORTH? JESUS decided my worth when HE died on the cross for me. My worth is in HIM. Not in anything I can do or say.
Guys. I’m baring my soul to you…are you starting to understand how very, very, very self-obsessed I am, naturally? It makes me feel dirty. But I have Jesus. I have JESUS. He washes my sins away and makes me His child. And amidst all of this, me weighing myself on some dishonest scale that this world thrust at me, me trying to chase after my own desire to feel like I mean something, me yearning for acknowledgement from people and the internet instead of from a God who loves me with an insane amount of love, I somehow forgot that.
I never want to forget that.
I am ready now. Ready for waking up as a sixteen-year-old tomorrow. I am thankful and grateful to my Heavenly Father for showing me that it’s not who I am, it’s not what I do. It is who He is and what He does, and He has done so much for me in the years I've been alive and even before. HE is what I want everyone to see when they look at my life. Not my achievements, or the way I use words, or my physical attributes, or my followers on Instagram. I want all that to fade, to crumble, to fall away like the weak and incongruous foundation it is when they become aware of the glory of my God. I want it to be about Him.
As for me, as for who I am- I am His. It is more than I could ever ask for. It is more than I deserve. It is a gift that Jesus has offered me, and whether I accept it or not is most important. So, I do. I do accept it, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt in my heart, in my mind, in my soul- it is more fulfilling than anything else.
It is what I want to lie in my bed thinking about when the morning greets me tomorrow. I am His, I am His, I am His. And it is a truth that can be yours too, that is yours too. If you don’t know that, my prayer is that it will be revealed to you now. If you already have that truth instilled inside of you, let this be a reminder of how precious it is. Let God tell you, with that small, still voice that is so powerful and reverberates in me even now: YOU ARE MINE.
I can’t know what it is you will choose or what it is you have chosen. But as for me, I want to be His in return. And in being His...I can testify that it truly does fill that chasm inside that nothing and no one else can heal.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. / Ephesians 3:17-19
- - -
I am a flower quickly fading,
here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean.
A vapor in the wind.
Still You hear me when I'm calling,
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling,
And You've told me who I am.
I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours.
- Casting Crowns