Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Meeting myself

I just finished reading an intriguing book today titled "The Five Times I Met Myself." If you plan on reading the book, you may want to skip this first paragraph as there may be a slight spoiler. The main character, 53 year old Brock Matthews, is unhappy with the way his life is going and has regrets of things he did and things he wished he had done. Through dreams, he goes back and talks to his much younger self and tells him to to what he wished he had done. Every time this happens, he wakes up to find it has changed for real in his life in 2015. I won't explain it all, but the climax of the story reveals nothing changed, and if he wants the changes that he can still make; his 53 year old self is going to have to work on it and not his 20-something self.

  I can't count the times I have wished I could do exactly that: go back in time and talk to my younger self.

I'd tell my school age self to stand up for myself and fight back, and to not let the other kids bully me so much.

I'd tell that same kid that how the other kids treated me didn't mean I wasn't worthwhile nor that no one liked me.

 I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self that God truly loves me and to make a relationship with Him top priority, instead of believing most of my life He didn't love me and having a shallow relationship with God as a result.

I'd tell my college age self to seek help with the new feelings I had that I had no clue how to deal with. I'd tell him never to start that habit that would be so hard to quit.

I'd tell my late 20's and my 30's self not to sit around the house and wish I had friends, but to go out and make friends.

I'd tell that same guy that I wasn't stupid and unemployable and didn't have to settle for the low paying jobs others may not want.

   But just like the guy in the fiction novel I read, I can't do that. But I have gotten so used to the past shaping me that I have just gone along with my wrong thinking. In the book, the man had to start changing things in  the here and now instead of having his younger self do the changing.

  I can't go back and stand up for myself in school, but I can work on leaving that in the past and to stop letting it affect my ideas of how people view me and if they like me or not.

  I can't go back and convince the teenage Mark that God loves me and change the rest of my life, but I can hold onto that belief now and let it lead me to a deeper relationship with God.

  I can't go back and tell my younger self to make friends, that I am just as employable as others, and correct the many wrong ideas I have held about myself, God, life, and how others view me...... but I can work on it today with my modern day and hopefully wiser self.

   The overall message of the book I mentioned is surrender. I grew up in a church background where surrender was preached a lot and talked about a lot. The emphasis that I got was that we had to surrender our will, our future, and everything we have to God. And I believe that. But I believe surrender involves so much more than I grew up believing. The idea has been on my mind for a while, and then I read this book that has made me further think about it.

  It is true that we have to reach a point of surrendering our will, our lives, our desires to God. But if we stop at that, as I have; we are missing it. The more I think about it, the more I realize what I have NOT surrendered to God:

My fears

My regrets

My past and how it has affected me

My doubts

My tomorrows and what I want them to be like

The way I feel about myself

  And so much more. God wants all of it, not just the tangible stuff and our will...... He wants us to surrender everything about us, The things that may hold us back from being what He wants us to be, our hopes and dreams, our self doubts. The list could go on and on.

  A conversation between the main character and a friend stood out to me in the book and truly has hit me hard. The discussion was about all things being possible with God. The main character didn't believe a certain thing was possible for God to do. His friend replied:

"Ah, I see. So all things are possible for this God of ours except for the ones you decide are not possible. Have you given Him a list to make sure He doesn't do anything you don't approve of?"

  As I look at my life and the view I have of myself and of the low self esteem and self confidence I have, I have to say "ouch." I find myself doubting so much what God can do in my life and for me because of the insufficiency and lack of abilities in myself that I have left no room for God to do anything in spite of me. I may not have a mental list of what God can and cannot do, but I live that way.

  And that is where the surrender comes in. If we are totally surrendered to God, we are going to surrender those doubts about what He can or cannot do, and believe that it is possible for Him to do anything in our lives.

  We sing it in church, but do we really mean it?

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
Oh, the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

  We cannot go back and change the past by talking to our younger selves, but we can surrender all of those regrets, the fears, the feelings, and anything else that we wish we could have done differently........ and start now to change things with God's help. Just give it all to Him and ask His help to live differently from here on out: no regrets, no doubts, no fears, no worries about people liking us or not.

 The main in the novel I read had to reach that point of surrender to just give his past, present, and future to God. And so must we, if we are going to truly serve and love this God of ours.

No comments:

Post a Comment