As I was driving home today, through what I would imagine a monsoon to be like, the Lord got my attention. I didn’t hear some miraculous voice giving me some theological insight into philisophical things; just a soft tug on my heart–One that said, “pay attention, there’s something you need to hear.”
I was on my way home from Women’s Study. Tonight, we had the privilege of going to visit a lady’s house who recently got put on hospice. This lady and her late husband were pillars at my home church. Never in my life have I witnessed such a love for the Lord, each other, and other people than what was shown by this couple. I could literally spend days talking about this sweet lady and how her life has impacted me. I asked her what advice she would give all of us about learning to love the Lord. Her response? Simple– “love Him with ALL of your heart, ALL of your mind, and ALL of your soul.” With ALL of yourself– Love God.
With everything that I am, I am to love God. Man…. that’s a big thought. Well, if you’re like me, you have to process stuff (Trust me, I overthink A LOT). So I was doing just that– thinking about what loving God with all of myself looks like. I’ve tried so hard to make sure that I love God with all of who I am. I’ve been to the altar so many times, trying to surrender my dreams, my desires, my fears, my insecurities to the Lord. And yet, I still struggle sometimes–A lot here lately actually (since I’m being honest). I struggle with doubt and/or frustration when God doesn’t show up like I want or expect Him to. I struggle with loneliness and the desire to have both close God focused friends, and a spouse to do life with. I struggle with not knowing what the next step I’m supposed to take looks like. I struggle with poor self esteem or problems feeling worthy or lovable. I love the Lord the best I know how, but I’m still very much human.
Any who, as my mind was racing in a million directions (which is as exhausting as it sounds) I happened to look in my rearview mirror. Behind me the sky was dark and looked very angry– you know, a little greenish, streak lightning-ish, and a little armageddonish (lots of “ish-es,” but the English language is failing me with an appropriate description). But in front of me, the sun was breaking through the clouds, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. I felt the Lord whisper, “Stop letting what’s behind you, keep you from what’s right in front of you.” Stop allowing your sins or failures to define you. Stop allowing the lies of Satan whisper to you your worth or value. Stop letting past heartbreaks keep you from being vulnerable. Stop allowing your brokenness as an excuse to not move forward. Stop allowing your hurts to control you.
I am not bound to my past failures or sins. Jesus freed me from that. I am no longer defined by other people’s opinions of me. I am covered by the blood of Jesus. I don’t have to be controlled by loneliness, because God will never leave me or forsake me. I am NOT perfect, but I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. Praise God for that! I have spent years standing still, emotionally and physically, because I didn’t allow myself to heal from past hurts. I have stayed in season after season of alone-ness because I wouldn’t let anyone in. I have allowed fear to stop me from going after what has been right in front of me all along. I have refused to allow myself to believe that maybe, just maybe, God wants for me the same thing that I want for me, and if I’ll just be patient, He will give it to me. But, I will never allow Him to move in the situation until I stop living in my past and start looking towards what’s in front of me. I am a NEW creation. I have a NEW heart. I have a NEW mind. I speak differently than I did 10 years ago. I dress differently. I respond to conflict and anger differently. I pray differently. I’m just different. I am a changed person. Change can be a good thing. We should embrace newness. Embrace change. Embrace second chances. Look forward to what’s ahead of you. Stop looking back. It’s hard to love God with all of yourself, when you’re too busy looking behind you instead of looking ahead of you. God will lead you every step of the way. He is before you and beside you. The past is the past. Let it stay there. Quit allowing the past to interfere with your present and keep you from your future.
In case you missed it, those storm clouds that were in my rearview mirror are representative of the past storms of life–those things that have caused you pain. The sun breaking through those clouds, represents the promise of a future and a hope with Jesus. Drive onward towards the Son (<– yes I did that on purpose).
Moving forward with Jesus,