So I know I’ve got several topics I promised to blog about in my queue. But tonight, I thought I’d talk something a little different. I’ll have another long-awaited post up tomorrow. For now, I just wanted to talk a little bit about life. Life has a funny way of creeping up on you. One minute you’re climbing trees in the park with your friends, a little while later you’re being an uber-cool nerd on the Awana Bible Quiz team with a few of your best friends, and a few years later you’re helping to coach a debate team filled with old friends and new.
Looking back on the last few years, I am amazed at God’s goodness. There were many times when situations arose that were troubling or painful. God never ceased to take those situations and use them for good. Many of the amazing things I’ve experienced and close friends I’ve had the privilege to know never would have happened had my life gone my “ideal” route. So many times over the years, I’ve cried over my own burdens thrust upon me, had pangs of jealousy at others’ seemingly happy lives, wished that I could be someone else, just for a day.
But you know what? Even though my life never has gone my ”ideal” route, I’m perfectly OK with that. In fact, I’m ecstatic. I’ve lived through enough stuff in my nearly 21 years to be aware of a lot of things others may take longer to realize. I learned early in life that encouragement and accountability are better listeners than judgment. I’ve experienced a load of difficult situations, and while anyone my age can hear or read about other people’s problems, there’s a limit to what they can truly understand and only so much advice they can give. I know this is going to sound vague and cliche, but it’s different if you’ve been there. You know the old adage, “Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes?” Well, it’s true. Even if you’re merely trying to judge the severity of someone’s need based on their specific situation in order to respond appropriately, it’s very hard to know exactly what someone’s going through unless you’ve been in that situation yourself. For example, I never used to know the right words to say when someone went through a breakup. Now, having been through a breakup myself, I actually know how to pray for those people and how to better comfort and encourage them. So you see, I’m happy with what God has done in my life thus far. It hasn’t always been what I wanted at the time, but in retrospect it’s always been exactly what I needed.
What I needed? Did I need to feel pain, sadness, and depression in various situations I experienced? I certainly didn’t want to experience those things, but guess what? God shaped me through them. Shaped me, stretched me, grew me immensely. Taught me more lessons than I can count. Essentially, He continuously molded me into the person He wanted me to be by allowing me to experiencing those things – and carrying me through them. He is faithful. It’s an awesome thing to realize that He is the Potter, and we are the clay.
“But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our Potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 21. I could write a book on the great things the Lord has done for me in the past 21 years, but suffice to say that I’m excited to see what great things He will continue to do and the amazing adventures He will allow me to be a part of in serving Him for the next 21 years and beyond!
Allow yourself to be used by God. It is one of the best things you’ll ever do.