Thoughtful Thursday: Overwhelmed by Myself

My first two years of college were not great for me emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. I began to question my faith in God and got involved in some sinful situations that really put me in a pit. By my junior year of college, I was ready to start over, ready to change, ready to become the Christian woman that I knew I should be.

It just so happened that my junior year I had an 8:00 class and then an hour break until my 10:00 class, so I decided that I would go over to the library, find myself a quiet study room, and spend that hour reading my Bible and praying. I cannot even tell you the spiritual growth that I experienced that year when I refocused myself on the Lord!

Everything was rolling along really well until spring semester. I purposefully designed my schedule to keep that hour break in there so that I could continue my hour of devotional time. Around February, it finally hit me. The enormity of my sin, how far from where I wanted to be I was, and how far from where God wanted me to be in my life I still had to go. All of that Bible study had produced this assessment: I was in trouble. I was so full of impatience, self-centeredness, pride, hate, laziness, and any other sin you can list.

I lay in my bed that night thinking about how my diligence in studying the Word of God had made my self-esteem plummet. I was overwhelmed by myself, my sinful nature that stood out in such stark contrast to what a disciple of Jesus should be. I cried myself to sleep that night because I was so overcome with despair. I just couldn't do it. There was no way that I could make myself become what I needed to become. The mountain was too high; my sinful nature too deeply ingrained. I was so discouraged. What is the point in even trying to be a Christian, God, when what I need to be is beyond my ability to achieve? This was my last thought before finally falling into an exhausted sleep.

The next morning I woke up with this thought going through my head: "Chelli, I'm not pointing out these things to discourage you. I NEVER expected you to fix them. I will do the work to change these things in you. I just need you to let me."

I've never had a better day spiritually in my life than that one! I was ready to submit. I was ready to change. I was ready to be reborn into the image of Jesus. And a rebirth it was!

One thing you'll realize pretty quickly as you study the Bible is that God uses certain words on purpose. When Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3 that he has to be born again, I believe that Jesus used that analogy on purpose. Birth is a painful process for everyone involved: the mother, the baby (I'm sure it hurts. I don't see how it couldn't.), and the father watching his wife in pain but unable to help (my hubby said it was the worst he's ever felt!)

Being reborn into Jesus' image is a painful process as well, but just like real childbirth the results are SO worth it! The memory of that pain fades and what you are left with is a new life that is so much better in every way than the one that you left. Sometimes I wonder what I was so worried about that night laying in my bed.

And I try to remember that feeling, that conversation with God, when I get overwhelmed with myself today.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

Born again in the treehouse,


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