If you have been within one square mile of me within the last few years you have certainly heard me utter the phrase “you don’t know me.”A staple of my sarcastic personality, the phrase is a jest aimed at people who make assumptions about my life.
“Whatever, Sam would never get a tattoo.” – you don’t know me.
“No way, Sam has never been in love.” – you don’t know me.
“Yeah right, Sam would never go hunting.”- (say it with me…) you don’t know me.
While my use of the phrase is mostly a joke, it stems from a very serious protest to the simple fact that people think they know what you will do based on the past, based the person you used to be. I am a person who wholeheartedly believes in change, for I believe God calls us to transform from our selfish born lives. The gospel calls us to work every day to become better people, to make choices that improve the world, and to find ways to embody God’s love on earth. This attitude is definitely the antithesis of our consumerist culture. And as Jesus was the ultimate example, anyone who is truly living for God will be living a life that is anti-cultural. Let’s go to The Book:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Are you ready for change? Allow God to transform you. Just ask him to. That’s how it begins. Know that the process will be painful. You’re going to have to let unhealthy parts of your life die. I will spare you a bible verse about “circumcision of the heart.” (Deut. 10:16) The point is of the verse, while mildly crude, is actually a pretty great metaphor in which God is calling us to let him cut what is the center of a man’s power, pride and pleasure. I mean, it still makes me queezy but at least we get the message…?
So, stranger reading my blog? Who are you today? Have you helped anyone? Is the world a better place today because you were in it? I hope so.
If not, what is holding you back? What are you waiting for? Oh no, don’t tell me your past failures are getting in the way…
In almost every aspect of life, erasing the past is nearly impossible. Your driving record. Everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook. Your credit score. Your text messages. Your score on Farmville… These days it seems, short of moving to a remote village in Kamchatka and getting a face transplant, you can’t escape who you’ve been. Except that you can, through God. God has given us the greatest gift of all – grace. The ability to start over. The chance to fall on our knees and ask, beg, plead: “God, give me a second chance to be who I was meant to be.” The best part, his answer is always yes. YES! Of course my child, I love you. You are free of your past. And you don’t even have to enter a credit card. How about that?
It’s that simple! Thinking about making a change? Let one of my favorite quotes inspire you:
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This past year has been revolutionary in my life. I have found myself back living in my childhood home, where some of the most horrific moments of my life have occurred and walking down the same streets I used to walk to elementary school on – only in much larger shoes. More and more I have realized this was part of God’s plan for my life. God has brought me back to the place where I became who I am, but as a completely different person. Somehow being home I have found freedom and happiness. Of course I still have problems like you wouldn’t believe, but when you stop worrying about the things that don’t matter and allow God to transform your heart, life gets so good.
I hope you have the courage to walk the path of change. Pray for me as I do. It’s not going to be a walk in the park, unless you’re talking about the kind of park that has surgeons and scalpels. (sorry… couldn’t resist). The hardest part will be being around people who knew the old you, who resist the notion that you are much different now than you were in days past. Persevere! You’re not alone. (If you ever need prayer or simply to talk you can always contact me.) Keep pursuing the struggle of being full alive in God. It is completely worth it.
I part you with these encouraging words:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
It’s a long walk through this world, but keep walking tall, you’re one day closer to being home.