Over the past four years, I have learned a lot about myself. In fact, I would say that for every new thing I experienced with the Lord, I had to acknowledge and accept a dozen things about myself (mostly things that were negative or difficult or causing Him grief). It has been a long, long journey, a very long process to wade through it all. It has not been easy. I have not liked having to look at my life, my past, and then examine what I did or should have done. I have not liked having to admit my pride (over and over and over again) or my selfish tendencies. I have also not liked having to accept the fact that in my sincere desire to please others, I allowed a fair number of them to control me and manipulate me to their advantage (I should have just said "no.")
All in all, I have spent this time learning how to live with my past, accept my part in it all, and then let it go (move on). I have had to learn how to allow the events of the past to rest, and not to allow them to continue to live on through my memories or my emotions. I have also had to understand my own character and makeup, and accept the fact that there are aspects to me that are not so pleasing to the Lord. I have had to be willing to accept the fact that I am not perfect, not good, and most of the time, I am self-seeking and willful. I also have had to accept the fact that I am able to do many good things, that I have done many good things, and that I will continue to do many good things. In short, I have had to come to terms with the mark of my character, the results of a life lived, and of many lessons learned. I have passed the test, made the grade, and now and ready to move on into a new life; a life that has the past firmly where it belongs, and the future securely focused ahead. No more looking backward, now only pressing onward toward the goal at hand.
In doing this "do-diligence" work, I have come to the understanding of who I am, not only in and of myself (my being), but also who I am in Christ Jesus. I have now understood my identity -- my self as seen through His eyes. I have a right and proper valuation of who I am in the natural (as Joel Osteen always says) as well as who I am in the supernatural (the Spirit-filled part). I also know the difference between doing things in the flesh and doing them in the Spirit. I am capable now of choosing to do all things in the Spirit. I don't have to let things be happenstance and hope that they are Spirit-filled. No, I can choose to deny the flesh and let the Holy Spirit of God lead me or direct me in some activity so that He receives all Glory. I have realized how that happens, and how to keep myself from rearing my own pride up, so that He is not minimized in any way, shape or form.
I have accepted my calling, my gifting and now understand why I do certain things all the time. I no longer am battling against His Spirit because I am in full agreement with Him. I know that I am a servant. I am called to be a servant, and it is my choice as well as His. It is who I am. I serve others and love doing it. I always agree to serve, I always look for opportunities to serve. I am no longer feeling guilty about doing service. I am no longer seeing it as anything short of a loving response to a loving Savior (no more duty). It is my acceptable service, my gift of sacrifice, and my way of saying "Thank you" to my Lord.
I cannot describe the Peace that is flowing through me right now. I am finally free. I am finally feeling liberated from everything. It is like how you feel when you get to your final destination after what seems like an intolerably long drive. You get into your hotel room or home and just go "Ah, I am so glad to finally be here." This is exactly how I feel. I feel as if the weight of the world has been lifted off of me and I am light as a feather. I am floating in this serenity of knowing who I am and what I was created to do. I love the Lord more today, than I think any other time, because I finally can see who I am in Christ Jesus.
My Praise and Thanks go to Him who died for me, who saved me from the sinfulness of my own pride and arrogance, and who has purchased for me life eternal (both now and eternity). I am at Peace with God, at Peace with all men, and at Peace with the world around me.
Nothing earth shattering has changed, mind you. I am still in a difficult home situation. I am still struggling with some difficult family members. I still don't know what work I will actually do. But, despite not knowing the details, I am so at Peace with whatever will be. I truly do not care whether I go or stay; whether I work or don't work; whether I finish school or not. I simply know that from this point on everything I do, everything I attempt, and everything I contemplate will have one focus and one focus only: I will serve the Lord and serve others in His Name.
I will no longer serve myself or my selfish desires or ambitions. I will serve in whatever capacity He has for me, I will do whatever work He asks me to do. I will live in the Joy of the Lord knowing that whatever I do, I will do all for His Name and His Glory. The work may be trivial, it may be menial, it may be less than thrilling. It may also be hard, difficult, and dangerous. It may be far away or close at hand. It may be something that will cause me to lean on Him all the more. It may bring sweet reward or the long hard sweat of labor. In the end, however, it will bring the words I long to hear: "Well done, my Good and Faithful servant."
Yes, Lord, all that I am and all that I do, I give to you for your Praise, and Honor and Glory. To God be Praised for evermore. There is no God like You. I am wholly and completely and without any reservation, devoted to you and your service.