I confess. I’ve been reading some old love letters and love poems. Sometimes I wonder why I’ve even saved them. But reading these gives me more than a brief longing for what once was.
I get glimpses of the girl and woman who is part of me. I see some decisions and patterns that caused me to stumble. Some pain I could have avoided. Some pits of despair that I could have stepped around.
The broken heart in high school because I kept hoping he would storm my front door and proclaim his love for me instead of her.
The years in college when I turned to so many other pleasures, trying to fill the hole in my heart. But that hole stayed empty.
The denial I worshipped so that I could try to hold onto a relationship that was never meant to be. How I sacrificed every shred of who I was and what I believed just to try to keep him in my life.
The investment of my life in a man who didn’t like me. For the sake of appearances, I let him trample on my self-esteem. Until I ended up in a therapy group.
The sacrifice of all my basic principles so that I could be loved by a man who loved poetry.
I gave up way too much in the name of romantic love. And I ended up emotionally bankrupt. That’s when Jesus tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had room in my life for him.
I surrendered my entire life to Jesus. When I was 40 years old. That began a long process of unlearning. And I had a lot to unlearn!
Unlearning identity. I’ll admit it. I bought into our society’s definitions. I had to be beautiful, thin, rich, part of a couple, successful in my career with brown hair and a red sports car. Chasing all that took me to the end of my road.
Then God began to teach me who I am in Jesus. That’s the eternal identity. The identity that depends on only grace and unconditional love.
Unlearning happiness. I had to have more money because money can buy any kind of happiness. If I just got that thing, that gadget, that vacation, that house with the right address, that new job, I would be the happiest woman on earth. But happiness rarely came, and when it did, it evaporated so quickly. I was hanging onto what would never last.
Then God brought me down to nothing but the basics. He taught me that he is everything I need. He will always be there, even when everything else is gone. He is my everlasting joy.
Unlearning rebelliousness. I kept thinking I knew it all and knew what was best for me. And where did that get me? You really don’t want to know all those details. Let’s just say I was in the pit of despair because my inner resources were totally depleted.
What better place for God to find me? What better time for his truth to become real to me? That’s when my life came crashing down.
God was waiting there in the rubble, reaching out his hand to me. I began trusting him that day. I’m still learning how sweet it is to walk with him instead of ignore him or fight him or tell him what to do.
A lot of lessons. Many miles. Many losses and gains. But when I look at old photos and read some of my old journal entries, I see how far I’ve come. I feel sad that I wasted so many years in my own pursuits. I’m eternally grateful that God never gave up on me. And he never will.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Today is the perfect day to surrender your life to Jesus or to renew your relationship with him. Don’t waste any more time. He’ll help you unlearn your ways and learn his ways. And he even gives you the perfect instruction book and guide: his Word, the Bible.