While on a recent visit to our local ice cream shop, I said something cringe-worthy. My grandson and I waited in line and when we finally reached the counter, I turned to him and blurted out:
“I’m not having ice cream today so I can get thin enough to have ice cream.”
As soon as the words left my mouth and fell on his ears, I wanted to reel them back in. But it was too late. Epic fail. Self-condemnation doesn’t exactly qualify as a teachable moment.
It’s true I skipped the ice cream and normally would gladly accept a high-five for my self-deprivation, but I can’t. You see, I wasn’t in the mood for ice cream anyway. So no brownie points for this girl’s self-control when no control of self was necessary.
To top that off, the woman in line in front of me had my legs. Well, not my legs, but the legs I wished I had…
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There I stood, miles from my comfort zone, vying for a spot on the varsity cheerleading squad. This was my first attempt at cheering and I can honestly say, I would have rather been having a root canal. The once familiar gym floor felt like foreign soil. Anxiety kicked in as my feet kicked up.
Short of breath, it was as if the oxygen had been zapped from the room. Surely this lack of oxygen contributed to my forgetting most of the routine I was struggling through. I don’t know why I waited until high school to do this, obviously the other girls had been cheering since the womb. Still, I was determined to try, even though deep in my heart, I knew.
You can probably guess how this all turned out. For years after I felt like a failure. I failed to gain acceptance to the group who wore matching uniforms on pep-rally days. Then it all came to light. You see, I was never meant to be a cheerleader. Back-flips terrified me, and my perfect cartwheel wouldn’t get me far on the cheering circuit. I do however, have mad twirling skills, so why didn’t I tryout for majorette? Looking back I wish I had, it would have been a much better fit for my gifts, talents, and abilities.
Feeling out of the loop and not part of the group is disheartening. Ever been there? Well this should hearten you: through faith in Christ, we never have to feel that way again. We become members of one body – unified.
We are each a unique, one-of-a-kind creation by our Creator. God has given each of us gifts, talents, and abilities all our own, so why try to make up our own version of who we are?
I am most free when I am who God created me to be. When I try to be someone I’m not, it’s like using the wrong key to unlock a door. What happens? The door stays locked and I’ve created a barrier between my plans and God’s plans for me.
Just as cheerleaders put on uniforms of solidarity and unification, believers put on Christ. We put on a brand-new self. We put on the Armor of God, we are a member of His army. We are His chosen, putting on many beautiful virtues, above all, love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
Here’s the truth: we all yearn to be a part of a group, to be accepted, to be a part of something bigger then ourselves. God deposited that desire in us. We don’t have to tryout, He says come just as you are. He accepts us and His approval is all we need; His grace is sufficient.
Were you heartened by that truth? Did you know the definition of hearten is: “to give heart to: cheer” Guess if you were heartened, I’m a cheerleader after all.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:11-14
Share an experience when you sought to be part of a group. What did you learn from it?
I’m a recreate kind of girl.
I would love to be the creative type;one who envisions the perfect room design, the perfect outfit, the perfect wall-grouping. But truth be told, I am not.
I may not be creative, but I can do recreate. I may not have a clue what I want a room to look like, but when I see it in a magazine or on Pinterest, I know what to do.
As you may have guessed, styling an outfit isn’t my thing either, and I’ve been known to copy a well-dressed mannequin. I once gave my friend Jackie money to shop for me. She came back with a bagful of bargains she had dug out of the racks like buried treasure. It was awesome and some girls are great at that, but personally, I’d rather shop at Lowe’s.
Another friend is wonderfully gifted in restoring old furniture, making it look fresh and new. She sands it down, primes it up, and paints it pretty. Kathy creates gorgeous pieces, not brand new, but a new version of the old. Recreated.
So how do we fit in with all this recreating? We buy new outfits, prime our faces, run miles, get braces.
On our own, no matter what we do, we cannot make ourselves new. We can try, but the end result is just a new version the old.
It gets exhausting, doesn’t it? Continually recreating ourselves into who we think we should be?
Great news girls, we can stop recreating and become a brand new creation.
Not a better version of the old, but completely made new.
Sure we may slip up now and again. Our old self tries to get back in the door, but sorry old self, those locks have been changed.
So what does that mean, new?
New life, new like spring, new attitudes and conversations, new eyes to see others, new habits, new beginnings, new revelations.
Love grows, and gossip goes, compassion thrives, and bitterness dies.
Fruits of the Spirit like joy, peace, kindness, gentleness… they grow in us and ripen.
This new is not dependent on whether the sun comes up, but is transcendent because the Son came down.
A new creation, not a recreation. It’s a brand new you. A brand new me. And when we’re new on the inside, it will shine on the outside. True story for His glory.
But the best new? A new relationship with Jesus Christ. A new hunger for God, and a new passion for the things of God.
So there is a choice to be made. We can choose to add miles to our old used self, or choose a radical, life-changing new self.
A new creation in Christ, who in turn tells others the Good News about this new.
So how new are you?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
Do you know Jesus? For more insight on being made new, check out the Meet Jesus page by clicking on the tab above.
Love and rejoicing in Jesus, who makes all things new.
Do certain people irk you? I can relate. Let’s call them pet-peeve people.
Here’s their modus operandi (Latin for distinct patterns, in this case, of annoyance and ability to exasperate):
- The “pull right out in front of you” people.
- The “let me keep my grocery cart on one side of the isle, while I browse the shelf on the other side” people.
- The “I’m oblivious to who’s behind me, as I chat with the cashier” people.
- The “I don’t care if children are present, I’ll use whatever language I wish” people.
- The “I’ll tailgate you even if you’re driving the speed limit” people.
Do these behaviors peeve you too?
Besides the word peeve, another word comes to mind. Convicted.
Stay calm, I wasn’t convicted of strangling one of them. I was convicted of being one of them.
I’d say with the exception of the inappropriate language, I have been guilty of almost every other offense, and a few more at that.
I’m trying something new.
Each time a pet-peeve person pulls out in front of me, I say “I’ve done that.”
When a lead-foot tailgater pops up behind me, or an under-the-speed-limit dawdler winds up in front of me (in the fast lane), I say “I’ve done that.”
On the wall right above my desk, a scripture painted on canvas stares back at me:
“…LOVE one another just as I have loved you…” John 13:34
Yeah, not always done a great job of that. Convicted. Holy Spirit, You do Your job well.
When I stop seeing others through pet-peeve eyes and begin seeing them for who they are, knitted together in a mother’s womb by God, I can live out John 13:34 as God intended.
Perhaps next time an aisle-taker-upper scans for paprika, I’ll drop the impatient act and help them find it.
Share your thoughts.
In His Love, Mercy, and Grace every moment,