Will the Real Me Please Step Forward??

Are you a different person with your friends, your colleagues at work, and the people at church? How do does your personality change as you shift from environment to environment? Do you put on facades with friends so you fit in, doing things you wouldn’t do say if you were around church folk? Do you use language with them that you would never use in front of a pastor? Do you treat people at church nicer than you treat the people you encounter in the grocery store? Is the person at work a reflection of the person God wants you to be and whom you want to be?

When we are inspired to transform our lives we need to look at all aspects of our life. People will be watching to see if we really are who we say we are. The change in our character and our behaviors might not happen overnight; however, if we are committed to change, each day should bring us closer to who we desire to be. This journey of change is just that—a lifelong journey that hopefully draws us closer to the image of God in which we were created. It’s a committed journey of transformation inspired by the Holy Spirit.

What behaviors or personality traits are you hanging on to? For me it is my language. I grew up in a house where swearing, in multiple languages, was part of the vernacular. Those tapes of swear words are engrained in the recesses of my brain and try as I might, they still bubble out. Additionally, those words have become part of everyday American language, which reinforces my use of them. They are, however, not the same words I would use at church or around ministers, or people whom I respect.

As part of my acting out from the sexual abuse, I was an unashamed flirt. It got me in trouble. It was the way I had learned to communicate and often it was how I got my way. It was also how I ended up in damaging relationships and with a huge lack of self-respect. It took a while to realize what was happening and when I did, I sought help to change who I was and what I did. The Meadows turned my life around. It taught me to set boundaries and to respect those boundaries. Over the years I have found how to carry myself as a professional, capable, and respected woman. It has changed everything about who I am today. Transformation is a good thing!!

I want to be the same person on Sunday that I am the rest of the week. I need to commit this desire for change to prayer. I need to pay attention to what I say and work harder not to say the words my brain pops in my mouth. I have been working on this for many many months—ok let’s be honest—my friends would say years! I keep trying. I want this change. I want people to see I am a Christian by my actions and behavior.

There, I said it aloud. I am motivated to change this character flaw and I need your prayers to do it.

What areas in your life are you clinging to and refusing to let God change? What steps can you take to begin the transformation journey? What does the Bible say and how could that become your verse of inspiration? Find it, pray it, do it!

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:1 The Message)

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Sunday Dance

I love hockey, basketball, and baseball. If I’m at a game I will surely be screaming when my team scores, dancing and singing silly sports songs, and raising my hands to cheer on my team. Most of my “Sunday friends” who are also sports fans, have little inhibition about clapping their hands and shouting to praise their team’s accomplishments. We yell out the name of our favorite player at bat, thinking he will somehow hear his name and be uplifted. We chant for our goalie. We wear shirts with our favorite player’s name for the world to see and will challenge anyone who doubts why we support that team or that player. I don’t know why this environment allows us to let loose or why it is we are so quick to celebrate the accomplishment of men or women in sports—but for many of us it is second nature.

I wish our Sunday dance was more like that. We dress up all proper and put on our best clothes for the day. We enter church with polite “hellos” and courteous smiles. We might laugh a little but the disapproving stares of some can quickly shut that down. We solemnly sing our songs of praise and close our books with the last note. Maybe we lift our hand for a verse or two. We listen quietly to the stories of the Bible and seldom do we just shout out the name “Jesus” to lift him up. Even when we are treated to someone’s story about God’s healing grace in their life; we nod and maybe respectfully clap our approval. We stifle the joy and excitement we should have for our Lord.

I have heard it said that some think this sports-like behavior is too undignified for church. Can you imagine if we all showed up wearing a jersey with the name “Jesus” on the back? It reminds me of David Crowder’s song “Undignified.” Every time I hear it I think how much I want to be that person when I worship Jesus—and not just at a faith event, but every day.

I will dance
I will sing
I will be mad
For my King
Nothing Lord, is hindering
This passion in my soul (Dave Crowder)

Just like David in 2 Samuel 6, I feel inspired to dance foolishly to celebrate before the Lord. When I consider the amazing things God has done in my life, I feel compelled to stand up and cheer when I hear his name mentioned. And when someone shares their story about God healing them, I want to leap to my feet and clap out loud to praise this wonderful thing. Yet, unless I’m at a Crowder concert or similar faith event, I tend to politely clap with the others around me.

I think it is time for us to loudly celebrate the forgiveness we have through Jesus Christ. I think it is time to shout a loud “AMEN” when we agree with what the Holy Spirit can do in our life. I think it is time to be a little undignified in church and remember that we are there to worship and praise our God. This is a happy exciting thing we get to do with other believers on Sunday. This is God’s place he has given us to celebrate him!! If I can whoop about my team scoring a point—I can whoop about Jesus saving my life!! I want my praise of Jesus to be second nature. I want to be like David and leap for joy at all he has and is doing in my life. I want others to see how exciting this life of following Jesus Christ really is!!

© maggiemarcum.com

No Regrets: No Do-overs, No Repeats

I came to the place of a transformed person the hard way. I had a strong Christian heritage but it took a few walks on the wild side to solidify those beliefs for myself. As I write and share the story of my transformation journey, I do it so that others may learn from it. So that others may avoid some of the errors of my ways. So that others who have jumped off the path can get back on. So that those who have never thought they were on the path will see that God does indeed have a path set ahead for you and he is waiting for you to put one foot on and begin the healing.

When I reflect on my life it is easy to get hung up on the regrets. If only my parents had protected me more. If only I hadn’t acted out as a result of my family and sexual abuse. If only I had been less naïve in the financial decisions I made. If only I had _____: fill in the blank. So many times I have asked God to turn the clock back, just this one time so I would not do what I did. He never does. I never get the do-over I would like to have. Truth is, I probably would do something else equally stupid!

I actually have no regrets though. Each of the things that happened to me and that I did to me is part of the fabric of my salvation story. From the moment I personally accepted Jesus and asked the Holy Spirit to become my guide, God has lifted the veil on my behaviors and healed me. Layer by layer; step by step, I have been able to let go of the past and move forward.

It is a moving forward process, this forgiveness thing. God doesn’t want us to remain trapped by our behavior and bad choices. He wants us to learn from them, to grown from them, and to never repeat them. It has been harder to accept God’s forgiveness for some of those things and it has been harder to change some behavior than others. But I had a willingness to change. I was inspired by the lives of others around me. I was motivated to become a different person and slowly it is happening. Happening. I am still growing and changing and God is still revealing and I am learning.

This Sunday morning, leave your regrets at the altar. Pray a prayer of forgiveness. Let go of what you can’t change and ask what you can change today. Commit to not repeating those things which you consider sins or poor behavior. Move forward today. Accept a brighter future.

Have you had to let go of something and have you seen the change in your life? I would love to hear your story. Please leave a comment below that others may grow from your experience.

Blessings,
Maggie

© maggiemarcum.com

“These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who lives at the end of the age.” 1 Corinthians 10:11 New Living Translation