I feel like I learn something new each day. A new piece of scripture. A helpful life hack. Leggings ARE pants. The list is endless.
I’ve always been told that, once I accepted Christ, I’d be a new creation and I’d become a different person on the inside. Cool, dude. So I can trade in my imperfect earthly self who is socially awkward and slightly spazzy for a calm, collected, Christ-centered version of a human who looks like me, but is soooo different?! (Can she please have some cartilage in her knees and a more feminine voice?) Sign. Me. Up!
Imagine my disappointment when I’d read God’s Word, pray, worship, and try to follow Him as expected, only to learn that I was still *gasp* ME. Nope. Not part of the deal. I was told the change was automatic and it just “happened” and that I would know when it happened.
I was still me, though. I may not have said as many cuss words or made as many off-color jokes, and I may have smiled a little more, but I was still the same person inside. Surely, I must be doing something wrong. So, I did what I do: I blamed myself and rationalized. Stayed the same. Well, actually I was worse, but I figured God couldn’t love me anyway because I couldn’t become this new creation.
Over the past several months, many changes have taken place in me, but I am STILL me, with a twist: I’m me, but I am able to find joy in things that I never noticed or cared for, I love going to church, I enjoy hanging around people who share my values. I even feel peaceful sometimes. (WHUHHHHHHH?!)
Last week, I was having a chat on social media with a friend and it planted a seed. We started talking about how God uses our weaknesses to reach others for His Kingdom and it clicked. I’m supposed to be the same person because that is how God created me. He created me for a purpose. He will use what I perceive as faults to allow me to connect to others and build relationships.
In the midst of these thoughts was when I realized I AM new. Well, “newish”, anyway. I crave quiet time with God, my vocabulary is usually much less colorful than it used to be, I have a quiet joy and peace most days that I cannot explain. I have a long way to go because there are many areas where I still lack discipline, but I am working to resolve those issues. Obedience is currently (and will likely always be) my biggest struggle.
However, while I may still be the same person (just a slightly cleaned up version), I have definitely been restored in so many areas. My sense of humor remains, as does my love of animals. The difference is that my focus has shifted. I want to impact and bless others, while doing the work God has set aside for me because ONLY I can do the work he has assigned me. Things I can only do with Christ if I am still myself, with a few improvements.
2 Corin 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV)
*originally published on March 11, 2017*