Good morning Reader,
I recently had one of those God-sent experiences. You know the kind – one of those experiences you hate at the moment, but appreciate in hindsight.
The devotional I read today spoke about self-reflection…and oh, how timely it is.
A few weeks ago, I was stopped by the police. I was infuriated. I tried for a very long five minutes to bite my tongue, but eventually, flippant words formed and fumed out of my mouth like the smoke from an angry dragon and I got hit…with ticket after ticket after ticket. In total, I think there are four charges against me all having to do with a suspended license I didn’t even know I had (in the state of Maryland anyway).
So a few minutes of a defective taillight, annoying police officer, car tow, license capture later…I was left without a car and incensed. I knew I could survive without the car, but it was just so silly to me that my license was taken for my
negligence refusal to pay court fees in another state – fees I’d received for contesting a ticket that I believed I was wrongfully given for turning right on a red light in a no-turn zone. Did you follow that?
Here it is in plain English: right on red –> no-turn –> pulled over –> contested in court –> refusal to pay court fees –> suspended in that state until fees paid –> I didn’t care cause I don’t drive through there anyway –> car towed –> license captured.
Fast forward to last week. I finally paid the court fees and the suspension was lifted within minutes. Seriously, I should have handled this long before the threat of a captured license was imminent.
After doing the math, you know what I realized? It would’ve been less expensive to pay the court fees a long time ago.
Car Tow: $330.00
Duplicate license: $20.00
Money spent on the bus and train: $100.00
Total cost of court fees: $127.00
A long time ago I noticed this about myself: I beat myself up about even the smallest mistakes I make and I live my life desperately wanting to make the broken pieces whole. But Reader, you know better. You know we can’t build a time machine that will take us back to the past. This deep desire of mine is rooted in perfectionism. But you know, and I know that making an idol of our ideal of perfection is pointless…futile…a vain pursuit.
This morning as I tried to make sense of everything that’s happened in the past few weeks, I tried to cheer myself up saying – At least I’ll get to change the less-than-flattering photo on my driver’s license. Well, Reader – turns out I can’t. The MVA will just send me a new old one. I can’t go back and change that photo. I can’t change the less than perfect pieces of my life. But I can change today. I can’t do anything about the minutes that have passed by. But today I can be new. I can be different today.
New & Improved
They say personality is a stable characteristic. Your personality will never change. Your character, however, can. Your morals and the guiding principles of your life can change circumstantially.
The driver’s license I’ll get in the mail won’t exactly be new. It’ll be a new card with the same old information.
When we first give our lives to God (or when He sends jolting experiences that remind us Who our focus should have been on all along), we’re like my driver’s license card – new spiritually although the same old information still remains. There’s nothing we can do about who we were before we met Jesus. There’s nothing we can do about the poor decisions we make even with the full knowledge of Jesus in our hearts…aside from confessing, asking for forgiveness, and relying on the grace of God to bring about true change.
Unlike my driver’s license, the information on our “life-cards” doesn’t have to stay the same. God is and always has been in the business of creating new things out of dark and desolate situations. The deepest, darkest, dirtiest aspects of us are not a deterrent to God. satan wants us down, defeated and discouraged. God wants us to rise. He wants us to experience the new information that He longs to share with us – that we can go to Him boldly, without fear, knowing that He cares so much for us.
My Favoritest Parable in the World
How much does He care? Read me.
Reader, do you understand? You and I are – before Jesus finds and rescues us – lost coins. Here are some things that are coming to mind:
- As coins, we’re valuable with or within the ‘fold’. The lost coin is still a coin and something that’s clearly of worth to the Seeker…otherwise the Seeker would have stopped seeking.
- The Seeker doesn’t stop seeking.
- The Seeker is willing to disturb the seemingly perfect order of the coin’s surroundings in order to find the lost coin. It made me think about chaos. What if the chaos we
think we’re experiencing has a deeper meaning? What if it looks like chaos on the outside but it’s really God’s way of diligently seeking?
- When the coin is returned, rejoicing is heard.
Not embarrassment. Not shame. Not guilt.
- We’re never told how the coin was separated from the ‘fold’. We’re just told it happens. Our focus is just directed to the response to the return.
Okay, so what can I do today? I can diligently pray about my shortcomings. I can rely on God’s grace to help change me into an obedient person. I can’t afford to be passive. I’m a Christian who has an active enemy.
“God’s word will only be effective in you, if you have a will to see it work.” – Louie Giglio
As a Christian, I don’t take Christianity seriously enough. I start off seriously, slowly wander off from the ‘fold’ (skipping devotionals/speaking too quickly/hearing too slowly/not guarding my heart, etc.) and then before you know it, I’m the lost coin – again! I thank God for being a patient God who is constantly and actively pursuing us.
So, You Think You’re Alone
You’re not alone. Grace can reach farther than you’ve wandered. Don’t listen to the voice of your insecurities about whether or not God will accept you. Listen to God’s.
Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT)
18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.