My chains are gone!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Today’s posting is personal and hits a deep emotional place for me when I don’t focus on truth. I’m going to share because I want readers to know where I came from and where I’m headed. Vulnerability is not something I enjoy but in order for God to be glorified I have to share the bad along with the good so that you can see where He has brought me.
Part of truth is looking to the future and not dwelling on the past. This includes the past of my high school days. I have not attended my high school reunions but I’ve heard all about the people and how they’ve changed for good and bad. I myself have changed from what I was back in the day so much that most of the people I went to school with don’t even recognize me when they see me. You see, in high school I was the quiet, shy, introvert that hid behind the person in front of me when I was walking down the hall, who wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone and stared at the floor when walking into a classroom. I had little self-esteem and had pretty much beaten myself down to the point of truly believing I was a waste of space. A lot of this came from my own emotional issues but I had a lot of help from the comments of your typical school bully. I had come to terms with the fact that I would probably not ever do or be much and so I settled for average within myself. Little did I know what God had planned for my life. (Jeremiah 29:11)

It wasn’t until I was married with two kids that my life really changed. My husband and I moved to North Carolina because of his job and we basically had to start over. We had no friends and no church. It didn’t take long to find our church and when we did God put a woman in my life to teach me truth which changed my life forever.
I began to learn that God had a plan for my life and that in His eyes I was beautiful and wonderful and His precious creation. I discovered that He created me with a purpose and that I needed to be obedient in order to be used as a vessel by Him. Once I began to understand all of this those chains that had bound me for so long finally broke away and I became a new person in Christ. As time passed I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin because my worth was found in my Heavenly Father. I began finding myself talking to strangers and leaving my house to go and do things on my own. Up to that point I wouldn’t even have entered a grocery store on my own. I had a new confidence that came from my security in Christ. Everything that I am and have become is because of my faith in Jesus Christ. Everything I do comes from Him and His strength alone because on my own I am that girl back in high school. I’ve chosen to move forward and to not go back because as the song says…MY PAST IS OVER.
How often do we live our life based on the past? Paul’s final words in Philippians 4:8 says “think on these things”. This is a command from God to us that we are to focus on the truth of His word and to focus on the things of life that are real. Since it has been commanded to us then we must obey or we find ourselves entering into sin. Makes you realize how much work there is to be done.

One of my favorite writers says “Labeling thoughts that are not based on what is true or real as “sin” was a powerful daily motivator…If I want my thoughts to measure up to God’s standard of true and real then I have to accept that my thinking is either based on God’s truth or it isn’t. My thinking is either right or wrong. It’s either acceptable or sinful.”
I have to look at my thinking process in the same way in order to separate truth from lies. The reason for this is because back when my life started to change I remember having a friend share with me about her walk and what God was doing within her life. I walked away from the conversation with a horrible attitude in my heart towards her. I remember thinking that she thought she was godlier than I was. Truth be told, she was. That attitude in my heart was not truth but lies being whispered in my ear by the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. This attitude led me to gossip about her to others hoping they would see her like I did. WOW!! When you write it all down and read it you realize how pathetic, self-centered and ungodly it all was. As time went on I began to recognize that this attitude was coming from conviction within my spirit. She had said things to me that were truth and I didn’t want to hear it because it meant that I had to change. Oh!! The POWER of TRUTH!! How often do we do that? How often does God use someone to speak to us and we reject them because we don’t want to accept the truth of their message? Praise God for the fact that she walked in truth because she knew that I was not rejecting her but Christ within her and the conviction that my spirit was under. If it wasn’t for her and her forgiveness I would have never understood and accepted that bit of truth.

I could have stayed lost in the past dwelling on my former sinful attitude or choose to think on the things of God and move forward toward the goal that He has set before me and use it to share with others. I chose to move forward.
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14
I think it’s important that we learn from our past and remember the lessons learned and the blessings we may have received from it. We have to understand that He has a purpose for our lives and He uses those events from our past to grown our faith and maturity in Him. We have to know truth and think on those things so that our thought life does not take us back to places that we should not go. Don’t beat yourself up for the time you’ve wasted in your past from self-centered ways. Instead be encouraged by what you’ve learned, move on and focus on the truth of what He has planned for you now!!
“Father, help us to have hearts that are open and receptive to Your message no matter how it is presented to us. Help us to keep our thoughts from becoming sinful so that we do not hurt others. Always break our hearts and make them aware to the things that break Yours. May we walk in truth.”