who i was

I’ve been thinking about the passing of time a lot lately. It must have something to do with the changing of the season and the gorgeous Autumn colors around me. In any case, my mind has been pretty focused on where I’ve been in life, and where I am now.

 

Without asking anyone else in my life what they’ve noticed, the biggest change in myself that I see is I no longer live in a black and white world. I’ve transitioned into the world of grey. It’s not one extreme or the other – there truly are exceptions and differences that are, really, quite fine  (of course, my inner control freak still whirs around, but she’ll calm down eventually).

Anyway.

In my younger days my relationship with Jesus was like a closely held secret. Tightly held in my heart, I was unwavering in my faith, but instead of talking about my faith I would silently do what I knew to be right and carry on with my life.

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV)

I was happy and comfortable in my black and white view of the world, and how I ‘showed’ my faith in Jesus. And then I became a Young Life leader.

All of a sudden I was being asked to lead a small group… of teenage girls. There were fifteen of them, and at 21, I wasn’t much older than they were. To say I was intimidated would be an extreme understatement.

They asked a lot of tough questions.

They always voiced their opinions. Loudly, because that’s what girls do.

They did that stare-right-at-you-until-you-crack thing to me.

And then they challenged who I was and what I believed in.

Who was I to tell these girls that it was so much more than just living the right way?

He said to them, 
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, 
but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Mark 16:15-16 (NIV)

Can you say ouch? Color me schooled! And then Jesus gave all of us the greatest gift:

we learned how to disciple together

All of us. In the upstairs rec room of Laura’s house, these fifteen girls and I taught each other. They taught me how to listen – to them and to Jesus – and how to go beyond just believing in Him. In their tenderhearted but tough exterior ways they showed me that my days of simply “living the right way” were over – I needed to live beyond that. I needed to live, breathe, talk about Jesus and my relationship with Him. How else would I preach the gospel if I never spoke about it?

As for them… I watched nine of those girls give their hearts to Jesus on a weekend camp trip. And I still talk to four of those girls on a regular basis.

They were the first glimpse of a grey life I’d ever allowed myself to see.

And that was just the beginning.

Who I was isn’t who I’m going to be.
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