Yesterday I wrote about the experience of having God open my eyes to make me aware of the reality of who I am and what I’m capable of. In this moment it became clear to me that I needed to re-orient myself. I needed to be shaped in God’s image and likeness in ways that I hadn’t been previously. So, the question is, did that actually happen? If so, how?
I suppose the only truly honest thing I can say is that it’s still in the process of happening. I go back and forth between being a person who is (somewhat) oriented towards God and someone who isn’t. I think this is sort of what it means to be simultaneously “sinner and saint”. We’re all people who pursue God with our lives, at times, and, at other times, we simply pursue our natural desires (whatever they may be).
The first step in my process was surrounding myself with a new group of friends. This wasn’t some conscious choice I made, I simply had no choice. My other friends no longer wanted anything to do with me. There were people at my church that I’d never really connected with and they adopted me into their group. At school I got connected with a crowd of people that were all about 10 years older than myself and I began to invest in them and they in me. This was probably the best thing for me. I had older, wiser people to share their experience with me and offer some perspective on life that I couldn’t find elsewhere. In hindsight, that’s the best thing that could have happened to me.
In a new type of community I could no longer see myself as just a victim. I had the things I needed to feel accepted and loved both by people and by God. I couldn’t victimize myself because I was actively receiving God’s goodness. I was surrounded by it. Being accepted, included, and loved combated my natural tendency towards victimhood. I had a new identity where I was defined by what I had instead of what had been done to me.
I don’t know if this would apply to people who are victims in a much truer sense of the word than I have ever been. I don’t know if this applies to people who have had much tougher lives than mine. I don’t know if it applies to anyone but me. But I suspect that it might. So consider this very seriously.
More on this tomorrow.