Walking on the beach today, while my aunt was searching through seashells, I noticed that she and the people around, and even me, were quick to throw the broken or chipped seashells away.
You see, everyone wants the bright and beautiful, non-chipped or broken seashells.
So the ones that don’t make the cut, the cracked, chipped, or mediocre ones, are thrown back with the others..
I thought to myself, im a lot like those cracked sea shells.. Nothing is different about me.. Maybe I haven’t been tossed and turned in the sea, but ive definitely been tossed and broken, bruised and chipped, from this storm we call life..
Like that seashell, lately I have felt broken..
Broken, mediocre and not good enough.. and I wouldn’t blame anyone for throwing me back..
I have been known to have a habit of running back into the world, searching for comfort.. searching for purpose..
But I don’t want to do that anymore..
Ive learned one too many times that comfort cannot be found in alcohol.. It cannot be found in people… It can only be found when I submit to God and admit that im weak..
So instead of running, ive decided to dig deep into my soul these past few days and figure out what’s going on…
This 6 hour wait at the airport has provided sufficient writing time.. so here is what I have found:
I was told once that we have to reveal our weaknesses, the parts of us we don’t like, so Christ can get it out of us.
But I think ive been trying to hide my weakness lately. Pretending im not lonely, lost, and somewhat discouraged.. Pretending like I feel like I have a purpose, but secretly feeling clueless.. Wondering why my mom died but I am still living.. When she was such a better person than I was.
Looking strong on the outside, but feeling tired, numb and apathetic on the inside.
You see, Satan has slithered into mind and said, “you’re nothing but a broken shell Megan; boring, insignificant.. You’re not good enough to live the Christian life.” “You’re missing out on all the fun, look at your old friends, just look how much fun they are having..You cant do this, who are you trying to fool?”
In the words of Michael Shank, “No one decides to leave the Lord overnight. Leaving the Lord usually happens in small, incremental steps.
And I have felt myself taking these small incremental steps.. Not in obvious ways.. But Ive felt myself slowly drifting away, perhaps in baby steps, from the Christian life.. I haven’t gone back into the world yet, but I have felt filled with apathy..
When I decided to obey the gospel, I was initially excited, zealous, and eager to make the commitment to surrender my life to Jesus Christ.
So what happened?
I think ive been starving lately..and no, not in a physical way.. Trust me (ive eaten my body weight in queso and pizza this trip)
But ive learned from scripture that The Word of God is the essential food for the life of ones soul. It is living water (john 4:10, 14), milk (1 Peter 2:2), bread (john 6:33) strong meat (Hebrews 5:12) and sweeter than honey (Psalms 119:103)
The soul starves without it, and when something starves long enough, it dies. When our faith dies, reverting to our old selves and our old ways is an easy transition. It is the default mode.
I don’t want to go back to default mode.. I don’t want to go back to being content. So ive started digging again.
And thanks to Hebrews 4:12 Im back..
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of the soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
You see.. in this self reflection, Ive discovered the power of thinking.
The bible is God’s mind… And he has made it clear we should study and learn it..
But when we don’t, I think we fall prey to negative thinking..
I think its Satan’s greatest tool…
Remember when I said He got in my mind and said “you’re nothing but a broken shell Megan; boring, insignificant.. You’re not good enough to live the Christian life.” “You’re missing out on all the fun, look at your old friends, just look how much fun they are having..You cant do this, who are you trying to fool?”
What I forgot is that God says,
“No Megan, You’re mine.. Look at how far I brought you.. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. I see you, and I have great plans for You… Just trust me… The world changes, but my words never change.. and my words are proof of the promises I have made are real.. Just hold on.. Just trust me”
William James, the father of American Psychology said
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
So wouldn’t it make sense that God chose to communicate with us through our minds? Through written words?
2 Timothy 3:16
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
My current attitude of mind… Thanks to Satan has been
“you’re not good enough,” “Don’t write that blog, no one listens anyways.”
“Look at all the things you have done Megan, God wont forgive of that.. God doesn’t even know you, theres too many people in the world… ”
But God’s word alters my mind..
God breathes out:
Luke 12:7 “ Why even the hairs of your head are all numbered…”
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”
The truth is sometimes I just don’t believe in myself.. This negative thinking alters my life… and
I become paralyzed in a state of apathy
I was walking along the beach with my aunt the other night and I was telling her that im not sure I deserve the things that God has done for me, and sometimes certain people in my life are quick to bring up my past.. But she reminded me of something important, that God has forgotten my past sins the moment I came up out of the water..
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
There are certain people in my life who are so are to judge me for my past. “Throw back Thursday” pictures are thee worst.. But believe me, no one judges me harder than I judge myself..
What I failed to remember is that while I have been busy judging myself, and holding things against myself… God has forgotten…
I, I am he who blots our your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Ive not only been failing to forgive myself, but ive been suppressing my potential..
You see, when we become Christians there is a new creature locked up inside each of us.
Psalms 8:5 says we are made a little lower than the angels.
Galatians 3:27 tells us that when we are baptized into Christ, we put on Christ..
Do you know how exciting that is? To be made a little lower than the angels, and to be able to wear Christ..
Thomas A. Edison said “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves
Im convinced Satan’s greatest tool is attempting to make us focus on the past, and destroy our self esteems…He whispers, “you’re not good enough,” or “you’re doing just fine.”
So we either become too scared to make changes, or we become content in a state of drifting through life
I think he does this so we wont be encouraged to strive to reach our potential that exists when we radiate Christ
You know that potential mentioned in Paul’s letter to the brothers in Christ at Colossae:
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding
So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. “
I remember in my eighth grade art class, well maybe it was seventh grade, who knows. But I had this art teacher who made us do a project in permanent marker. We weren’t aloud to erase our mistake’s, instead we had to incorporate our mistakes into our piece of art.
I think that’s what God does. He doesn’t completely take a way the pain or mess of our mistakes, one of his laws is that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6) but he does have a way of taking our mistakes and turning them out to be something amazing.
Maybe like me, you feel like you are full of mistakes.. incapable of reaching your potential.. or wondering if you even have a purpose.. or feeling like you have nothing to offer..
But remember, when Satan whispers these things into your ear…
God.. The creator of this world.. breathes out
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Ive discovered that the beautiful thing about being in a relationship with God, is that he gives me a plan for not quitting this Christian journey..
2 Peter 1:10-11
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
You see, this plan works because giving diligence prevents apathy. When we invest our time and energy into doing something, our apathy evaporates. Well, atleast mine does..
What are we giving diligence to? Making our calling and election sure. Developing Christ like qualities..
In this way, God gives us direction and purpose.. When we have direction and purpose, we become excited.. (well atleast I do)
So what are these things Peter mentions we should give diligence to?
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (1 Peter 1:5-7).
Oh how easy it is to forget the goal that we are to strive for- the goal of pursuing, developing and mastering Christ’s virtues.
A lifetime pursuit.. But guess what? Life is short..
James 4:14 “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
I was sitting at the table this morning and my grandfather was reading, I said, “grandpa you haven’t put that book down since you picked it up!” and he said, “I gotta read as much as I can, I don’t have much time left!” I said “oh grandpa quit it”, but its true.. Life is SO short..
This life is a thrilling one, full of love, grace, purpose and passion.. But oh so short..
In this short life, I know how easily it is to mess up.. and I know how easy it is to get discouraged.
But know that as long as we are trying, repenting when we mess up.. turning away from our mistakes, and trying again, the blood of Christ cleanses us continually..
Remember it says so in 1 John 1:9
“If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickeness.”
I remember learning how to type for the first time. My teacher told me to put my fingers on the home keys- asdf, jkl;.
I remember many kids in the class saying, “this doesn’t make any sense. Those keys don’t spell anything,
And I remember looking down when my fingers weren’t placed properly and ended up typing something that looked like fwieajfeafnek ewow ifsdoa
He had us cover our fingers, and I remember thinking, ,”Why cant I look at my fingers? This is dumb, I cant do this”
But I tried it anyways, and discovered that keeping our fingers covered helped train us.
That instructor knew something I didn’t. He knew that practice makes perfect. And soon, after playing typing games and practicing over and over, I learned to type. The words come out so easily.
As I type this blog post, im thankful I had to sit in that class and start from the base of asdf and jkl;..
I think God works in the same way. We don’t quite understand why He wants us to do certain things.. But He has our best interests in mind..We just have to trust Him and start with His foundation.
I heard once, faith is believing like you think God is telling the truth.. So far, for me, it He has.
I just have to keep putting my full trust in Him, in His word, and press on.
Keep on keeping on.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“Be though faithful unto death ad I will give you the crown of life.”
Before I close.. I want to let this be known..
I made the big mistake in thinking that the Christian life would be free from difficulties, problems and struggles. Im not sure im the only one who felt this way..( I know Michael Shank did.. Thank you for your book that inspires my writing)
But remember, sometimes our expectations are wrong.. WE want that perfect life.. we expect it..
Then when its not, we become disappointed in God.
My disappointment led to discouragement. Discouragement led to neglect the Word and prayer. The neglect of Gods Word and regular communication with Him caused spiritual starvation.. and boom, Satan hit me..
1 Peter 5:8
“Be sober-minded: be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
And I felt alone..
I felt alone because I never hear any member of the Lords church talk about their own struggles, temptations, or sins in their life.
In fact, I remember mom attempting to persuade me to come to church and I would always say “I don’t need to go to church, those people act perfect, and they are so judgmental.”
I felt like a mess up, and all I saw were
Perfect people, perfectly dressed, perfect in their speech and behavior, and living the perfect life. I would also hear people talking about other people… and It was enough to make one feel like I wasnt good enough, and let Satan whisper in my ear, “You don’t belong here.”
I felt, that if Christians gossip about everyone else’ sins, what will these people say about me and my sins to others?
But ive learned that
God encourages us to confess our sins to one another, (james 5:16, 1 John 1:9)
I think He know that we would feel alone when we mess up.. and that Satan would take full advantage of this fact…
So I would like to apologize.. For judging people in the church without fully getting to know you, and for running scared and building walls around myself.
I can only answer for my own actions, and the truth is, that I didn’t confess my sins, because of the fear of judgment and the fear of gossip.
But I don’t care anymore… Judge me all you want.. But I want to be an open book…. I want people out there to know that we all face the same struggles.. As much as I hate throwing myself out there, I know I need to…
I need you to know that I struggle daily.. im a hypocrite sometimes. I get jealous, angry, impatient.. Say things I shouldn’t, probably do things I shouldnt, but im trying..…
There are seasons in life when I feel like im not making any progress.. Like im not going anywhere or doing anything worth doing.. it causes me to feel dissatisfied and discouraged.. But then I reflect back, and everything is so different… And I remember.. That as along as im alive, God is still working on me… and I want to work for Him..
By spreading His word.. Because I know that it doesn’t return to Him void.
“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Sometimes all we have to do is have enough courage to be a vessel…Let our lights shine, so the gospel can continually spread and change the lives around us..
Right now, as I sit on the floor in this airport, waiting for my 7pm flight, and watching people scatter around me… Wondering if anyone see’s me.. I don’t don’t have to wonder anymore.
Because there is someone who see’s me
Ive been trying to hide my loneliness and contentment and apathy from God..
But God sees right through me.
He sees you too, you know.
He sees everything.. “You mean, Even that time I,…” Yes, that time too.
I cant pretend, I cant pose, I don’t need to put up a wall, and I couldn’t if I tried because he sees every raw detail through that wall.
And I am finally okay with that because I know He loves me despite of my mistakes.
I know what I think, I know what ive done, where I have been. I have done a lot of things I am not proud of, frankly ashamed of. I have made a lot of mistakes, and bad choices, and learned a lot of lessons.
But I don’t have to feel guilty anymore.. Ive lost my apathy… and I look forward to this journey of diligence.. and I know I wont fail..
2 Peter 1:10
…”If you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
Although you may be broken, chipped, and mediocre like those other seashells…
know that we broken shells dont exist alone.. We are surrounded by a vast number of each other.. Each broken in our own unique ways.. with a purpose. Dont lose hope.
Alter your thinking, and you will alter your life.
“we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces home, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”