Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
The day I was saved I read this verse in scripture and I have clung to it since because it explained the way I felt. I felt as though I could breathe again, like I could conquer the world and as though I were on the highest mountain top! Then the next day came, and the next week and the next month, and I started to wonder why my pink fluffy cloud was dissipating. Why I felt so troubled and I started to question if I “did it right.” I thought the new person I had felt like those first few days was what was going to remain for the rest of my life.
The truth was, because I was made new, I was looking at life through a different pair of eyes and with a different heart (“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26). Sin became more obvious and painful. I was made more aware of my flaws and failings and of those around me. The world was still the same, but I was experiencing it differently. Not a bad thing, just different from the life that I had been living prior to that significant day.
This coming Monday will mark 1 year of my “new life.” I have started a new life twice. The first started the day that I mark the anniversary of my sobriety. It in itself, and the course of healing and therapy that followed, became a huge changing time in my life! I was no longer controlled by numerous ways of coping with life and I was no longer trying to numb the effects of it. Thanks to rehab, AA, God and the support of friends and family, I was able to remain strong and gain a firm hold on this new life I had found in sobriety. The main thing I had to realize was, I couldn’t do it alone. I HAD to place my trust and faith in a Higher Power and to understand that I could not control my life. I had plenty of proof that I was doing a horrible job at it!
That Higher Power was God. It wasn’t God at first, but rather something that closely resembled God and what he represents. I just had a hard time saying His name, so I “renamed” him in order to make him more accessible to me during my recovery. A few years later He apparently got tired of me doing it and wanted to move me again. He knew I was missing a piece of him in my life. So I was inclined to start going to church and immediately I felt the spirit moving in me. I would sit in church and bawl. (It wasn’t pretty! …and pretty embarrassing.) A few weeks later I was finally moved one more time and I accepted the gift of my salvation through Jesus.
Since all of these changes in my life started, I was reminded of one simple thing….”Live for today. Not in the past, not in the future. Today is all you have, so concern yourself with only what you can do now.” Many times I forget to do that and I see the results of it. I start to worry, to fear, to get anxious. My emotions get out of control and my head spins in so many different directions that I don’t even recognize myself or where I’m at anymore. Then I remember…24 hours at a time, Jess….that’s all you have. Reel yourself back in!
I need to remember that I wasn’t made new just those 2 days in my life. I am made new EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Each morning when He blesses me with waking up and taking in my first conscious breath, I am given the chance at a new day. My strength is renewed and my faith has every opportunity to grow. I am given the chance to send praise and glory to the one who gave this new day to me!
I get so frustrated with myself when my mind starts to drift into the past and to old hurts or old worries and frustrations. I also get frustrated when I am reminded by others of things that I have done in the past that may have caused harm or injury. I want to get defensive and shelter myself against the “attacks” of things I can not change. The shame and guilt wants to come flooding back and I want to start predicting the future and where this is all coming from so I can control where it’s going to go.
The reality? I have to stop living in the past. I have been made new today and today is all I have. I need to remember that others are made new each day too, and regardless of how they are living their today, I have a choice as to how I am going to take listening to the past they are choosing to live with in that moment.
The past is there and we can learn from it. Learn the lesson and move on. Leave it behind. If you can not change it, don’t worry about it. God has forgiven you for it and when you continue to carry it around and use it in your today, you’re spitting on the gift of forgiveness He is freely offering. The same goes for things others have done. The pain was real, the changes that occurred were valid and, again, God forgave them also. I have a choice as to what I am going to do with that pain and those changes each and every 24 hours. I can continue to feel pained by it. I can continue to live the same way I did when the pain was fresh, or I can choose to forgive just as God did and to live a life without the pain. To understand that that person was made new the next day and that I also have been given a renewed strength in Christ. When I allow Christ to heal me and to take on the burden of the things of the past, I no longer have to live hurt and broken.
Funny thing about a heart of stone… stone chips away. It crumbles. More times than not, a stone will become smaller and smaller…not larger and stronger. A heart of flesh, though? Flesh heals. If you allow it to heal properly and with some good TLC, you won’t even have a scar. Some wounds will leave scars, yes, but you can choose to draw attention to those scars or you can make it just another piece of who are.
Our oldest daughter was born with a very rare birth mark that covers almost her entire right leg. As a baby she had 5 biopsies done to make sure it wasn’t cancerous (this is how rare it is), so now she has some pretty sizable scars along with the very obvious birth mark. We have always made sure we never drew attention to it. It’s a piece of who she is and, honestly, we think it’s pretty cool! As she gets older, especially now that she’s in public school, she gets more comments on it. Some of the comments aren’t so nice or they could easily be taken the wrong way…if she were insecure about it. However, she has made her other attributes so much more obvious than the birth mark and scars on her leg. Her rare markings are quickly forgotten and her other qualities are noticed.
Allow Christ to heal your heart of flesh each and every day. Allow old wounds to heal and take pride in the scars. They are the proof of those deep wounds that you and God have overcome with the healing power of Christ! Strengthen your heart! It’s the strongest muscle you have. Go ahead and be like the Grinch…let your heart of flesh grow bigger so that it may be able to hold more love, joy, peace and faith.
Most importantly, though….live for today. You’re not promised tomorrow and neither are the people you interact with. If the last words or the last thing you did were your last…how would you feel about that? That’s something that I am trying really hard to remember and live by. I’m not perfect and I fail at this far more often than I want to admit. However, I can say that when I do live 24 hours at a time, my days go so much better than the days that I’m busy looking behind or ahead.Tags: 24 hours, AA, faith, God, Heart of flesh, Heart of stone, Jesus, Made new, One day at a time, peace, Reborn, Salvation, strength
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