I’ve meandered through life, up rocky paths and down smooth ones, winding through meadows full of buttercups and cool, dim forests, up hills, down valleys and through a stream now and again. I’ve felt joy and pain. I’ve seen vibrant colors and shades of grey. I’ve experienced darkness and sunshine, laughter and tears. I’ve been given beautiful gifts and experienced tragic losses.
Every little thing that’s touched my life has been part of my metamorphosis. A changing from a child to an adult; from a hearer to a doer; from a childish entitled attitude to what I hope is an attitude of service and love.
Today I’m reminded of one of my favorite scriptures. I’ve recited this so many times over the years that I’ve memorized it. It goes like this:
At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
I was. I’ve done many foolish things and many downright disobedient things. Several years ago, I got my nose pierced and when I told my grandma about it, her response was “You’ve never done a foolish thing in your life. I guess I can forgive you for this one foolishness.” But I had done foolish things. Eating too much. Holding selfishly to things that weren’t meant for me. Spending money on foolish things. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time for the wrong reason. Foolishness has many faces. I’ve been deceived and held captive by the things that I thought would make me happy and free. It didn’t work. In fact….
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
As long as I focused on keeping me happy, I was in conflict with almost everybody around me. We all want to be the center of the universe. We all want to be #1 and each and every other person in the world is someone who keeps us from being King of the Universe. Every other person in the universe is another person who comes in the way of us having one thing or another that we think will make us happy. We live in malice and envy. Think of two girls who like the same boy. Think of a girl who is in a romantic relationship with a boy that her friend likes. We hate those who keep us from having what we want. We are hated when we have what other people want.
We’re a pretty rotten bunch of grapes.
But! When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs, having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. (Titus 3:3-8)
It’s grace that lifts us from our lowly places of self-centeredness and allows us to soar on the wings of compassion, love, service and generosity.
I’m so grateful for the grace that has picked me up out of dark places and transformed every part of my life.
I’m not perfect. He’s still working on me and that’s ok. The best is yet to come.