Who Were You Five Years Ago?

A good friend of mine, Emily, posted a very good question on her blog.

“How has God changed you in the last 5 years? How have His amazing works of grace transformed you from who you once were?”

This is a very good question, one I enjoy pondering. Looking back is always very encouraging. I can become discouraged over my lack of progress, all of the sanctification still to be worked out. The mountains of sin that still loom high in my life. But, then I look back and see God at work. What seems so “small” and “insignificant” at the time is part of a greater plan. You can’t see the whole plan until you’re on the other side (or a ways away from it, at least). Over the past five years (six, really) God has been working on one area. I don’t think I’ve realized it, but most of the “sins” that I have been trying to put to death in one way or another have had a common root…the fear of man. This sin has taken countless forms of the years. And as God begins to work on the heart, things on the outside begin to change.  As I sit at my desk, I am amazed. As I think back to how I looked and acted 5 years ago and how I am now, I’m floored. I’m not taken with myself (well, in appearance at least :)!). And frankly, how I dressed, looked, and acted didn’t matter that much to me. I honestly thought I was pretty plain and boring. Why care? (VERY wrong attitude, btw!) But, God began to reveal to me that the real problem was that I cared too much. I was so consumed with what people thought of me, that I felt I could never measure up…so why try? Instead of enjoying being the person God created me to be. Instead of enjoying the friends and family He had placed in my life. I spent my time evaluating what they thought (what I perceived they thought) and how I didn’t measure up.

Now obviously, that is the VERY short explanation. And it’s probably not a great explanation at that. But, hopefully you understand. It’s not about what I look like, but does what I wear glorify God. It’s not about how I act, but does the way I am acting draw people to the Savior? Others opinions (even if they’re just perceived) don’t dictate (or in my case make me give up) what I wear or how I act. One of my favorite quotes is, “Modesty is ANYTHING that draws undue attention to oneself.” So, by dressing like a frump, I was just as “immodest” as the average high school cheer leader in public school. I’m not advocating wearing Gap and American Eagle. I don’t want to be a model…ha! absolutely not! I’ll never be Miss America (no thanks). I just want people to look at me and smell the sweet aroma of the gospel. I want nothing to stand in the way (frumpy or skimpy or too loud or too quiet) of the Savior. His reputation is what I want to matter the most.

That was not my outlook 5 years ago. It’s how I am beginning to think now. That is an amazing work of grace! I sadly (read much sarcasm in that remark!) could not find the scary pictures of me. I did find one from a Celebration conference in ‘04. :)

IMG_1482 Hahaha…

P2140032-1  I am truly amazed at God’s work in my life. The peace, joy, and rest that I now experience is unlike any other. I never would have thought that by working on “one” sin, it would produce so much fruit. He truly knows best. I’m so grateful for His power (Ro. 1:16) to continue (‘cause I have a LONG way to go) what He has begun! Thanks Em, for the reminder. Wow, God has done a lot in 5 years! I have been transformed on the inside and out by His amazing grace!!!


Anonymous said...

i have some scary pictures of you that i'd be happy to post if you'd like. :)

Anonymous said...

that's ok...I'll pass. Thanks for your eagerness to serve.