“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Anger is my go-to reaction. I struggled with self-control for most of my childhood. It felt like there was always this deep ball of rage inside of me that was ready to explode at the drop of a hat. I relate very much to that of the Marvel hero, The Incredible Hulk, mild mannered Bruce Banner, but as soon as something makes him angry, he turns into a green rage monster. Yeah, that was basically how I felt (and sometimes still feel). Big or little, it didn’t matter what it was, I got angry at people. Now, I wasn’t getting into fist fights with people, mainly just not-so-great words yelled. I would hold these grudges against people, I never wanted to let go, I never wanted to forgive. Maybe it was spite, the thought that they would see my grudge and stop what they had done horribly wrong. I directed this rage at my family which would hurt our relationships, I directed the anger at my bullies in hopes that I could one day get back at them, and I directed bitterness towards anyone else who wanted to get close. What I learned in my un-forgiveness was that I had chained myself and created a prison for myself.
Recently, I’ve been scared. There’s lots of scary stuff going on in my life. End of the semester stress, graduating this year, starting a job to fund raise for a future career of ministry, and simply wanting to do what God has called me for. I’ve been scared, but God is bigger than my fears. This past week had many cool moments occur. I learned that I had the chance to speak at our high school ministry, I had a great conversation with my campus pastor, and I had a chance to pray over people in our city. That’s the moment where it happened, where a simple thing hit me in my moment of feeling weak. Prayer. One of those basic things we have in our walk with Christ. So simple, yet often I overlook the importance of prayer. In my season of fear I have been praying a lot, asking for a sign (some kind of neon lights in the sky to point me) I have been wanting all the answers to my life immediately. God doesn’t work on my schedule. Aww man! But it would be so much nicer, I mean, I know what’s best for me! That’s my human side, and it’s many of your reactions too, well maybe you don’t whine, but you get the idea. In all of my fear, I am choosing to pray, because when I choose to humble myself, then the Lord works.
We are surrounded in stories. It’s the driving factor in all media in our life, but it is also the way we learn and discover more about ourselves. We all have stories, and we are all in the process of making a story. I plan for over the next month or so to dive into what it means to have a story and how to make your story the best it can be. Why? Because I believe we all have a message to share, I believe that everyone can influence someone for a bigger purpose. It’s so easy to become cynical, or lose faith that we are making a difference in the world. This is so false! The enemy would love nothing more than to have us believe that we don’t matter. It’s the trap that ensnares so many, and if we aren’t careful, it can destroy us. That’s the reason why before we can start learning about trying to make a better story, we must look at where we’ve come from. I am a big proponent of believing that your past does not define your future, and I still believe that, but our past is a love story from God. You see God is the greatest storyteller of all, he made us with the minds capable of creating story, and he is the ultimate authority of story. Our past can be filled with pain, but in that pain, we see how God has raised us out of hell and into freedom. We are able to see that when we choose to follow Christ in a relationship with him, we have victory over all things, even in the hardest of times.