I got into the blogging world last summer because writing is an outlet for me. I find the right words to express my thoughts more easily when I write than when I speak. I’ve journaled since I was about six, but then I started to think that maybe other people think the same way. So I started blogging, and I really didn’t expect anyone to read what I published. But I have these awesome friends who enjoy reading my ramblings, which helps me feel validated.
Since I started this blog, several of my friends have joined the blogging world as well. And I’ve been thrilled to pieces when reading what they write, because I can tell it’s from the heart. I’ve learned more about them through the blog posts in the last few months than I have in the last few years of knowing them. Because blogging is an outlet.
What makes the difference? Frankly, it’s ever so much easier to admit the reality of your life from the anonymity of a blog post than it is in person, or even on Facebook. No one is looking at you or listening to your voice. You can’t see or really feel anyone passing judgment. So you feel freer, and I think that’s why so many of my posts and those of my blogging friends are so personal and heartfelt. That can be both good and bad, but I’m going to go with good for now. And I’m going to use my outlet.
Certain circumstances of today awakened some parts of my past that I prefer to forget about. I keep those things hidden, pushed deep down into the far corners of my mind. I tell myself that I’m not that girl anymore and keep living life in the present. But that doesn’t make that part of my past go away, and it’s never quite forgotten.
I didn’t kill anyone. I wasn’t a thief. I wasn’t running of to wild parties, smoking, drinking, shooting myself full of drugs, or sleeping around. I say those things to clarify that I wasn’t all that bad. Not by human standards. But it’s all the same to God, right? I mean, it only takes one sin to keep a person out of heaven, and God hates sin, so that puts all sin on a level plane, doesn’t it?
It’s all over now anyway. I confessed it. I repented. It’s under the blood, and by His grace I’ve changed. He has put it behind Him and doesn’t think of it anymore. But I am human, and one with the mixed blessing of a detailed memory. Satan LOVES to use that against me.
That’s one of the biggest reason I cling so hard to my time in the Word, because whenever I stop thinking about God’s mercy, His grace, or His will, I start thinking about myself. My ambitions. My failures. My sin and my ineffectiveness. And then I start trying to fix it. Me, me, me. Whenever I get my eyes off my Savior, my eyes turn to my reflection in the mirror.
This happens far too often– far more often than I want to think about. The ambitions come to mind first, usually unrealistic and overreaching, usually involving school and my future career. Next, the motivations. I have to get all these things done and done well to make up for all the failures in the past. To make it up to my parents. To make them proud of me. And to make it up to God.
My drive for success and high achievement is a good thing when I’m focused on glorifying God and using the talents He’s given me to the best of my ability. But as soon as my eyes turn from Him to myself, it becomes a form of legalism. If I do well enough, I will make myself better in God’s eyes. But the thing is, I can’t make myself better in God’s eyes. Yes, He is pleased when I use my gifts for His glory, but when I’m trying to win His favor, the goal has turned from being about Him. Instead it has become about me and what I can get from Him. That looks pretty horrible when it’s written in print.
Moreover, while my parents are also human and also remember those hated things from my past, I don’t truly believe that they are still holding those things against me. I was blessed with godly parents, and I think they know that I’ve changed. In fact, they’ll probably be a little bit shocked when they read this post and see the confession that my “drive” can be a form of penance for myself when I’m in a bad mood. And I’ll comfort them by saying again that this isn’t a constant thing. That out-of-sorts attitude only comes when the rest of me is spiritually out-of-sorts.
I don’t like to linger in an out-of-sorts place. It’s like being sick– it happens, but then it’s time to find a cure so that you’re better again. And I know that my cure is a hearty dose of Scripture. So I have two passages I immediately turn to when I feel this heart sickness coming on.
(Psalm 103: 8-14) The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
The Lord is merciful. Gracious. Slow to anger. He won’t stay angry. He’s too merciful to deal with us according to our sins. He’s removed our sins as far as east is from west. He deals with us like a father with children. HE REMEMBERS THAT WE ARE DUST– ONLY HUMAN.
(Proverbs 24:16a) For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.
Everyone fails. It’s whether we get up and start again that matters.
I’m sharing this because I know how easy it is to get caught up in the past. I know how easy it is to feel ineffective before God or feel as though you have to earn His favor to make up for a past mistake. But if you’ve confessed and repented, God really is done thinking about it. Because He’s merciful, loving, and aware of our humanity. So stop dwelling on the past– if you had stopped dwelling on it, you wouldn’t be trying to make up for it now. Get your eyes off yourself and back on your Savior. He hasn’t finished with you yet.