Recently, people have begun to comment on how little I have changed. They point to my attitude, my frustration level, and my tendency to explode when I feel abused. All of this is still in process. I’m not the queen of self control. And for a long time, I was letting these comments get to me. I began to think that the entire world thought of me this way. Then, things changed.
The first step of the change was God himself began to approve of me. I saw it, and I began to ask him to confirm this. I didn’t want to be walking in some sort of self-deception. I needed to be clear about what God thought of me. So, I asked and then I began to watch for the answer. I was expectant.
Next, I found out that several of the people who were confronting me about my issues were generally in contact and in agreement about me. In the past, I’ve been influenced to treat other people a certain way based upon the opinion of someone who knew that person and told me what to expect. Is this what happening? At this point, it doesn’t matter. God will deal with their actions, for good or ill.
Next, some really inspirational people began to take me under their wings. I was covered and surrounded by sisters who loved and protected me. They spoke the truth in love. And they told me that I was an amazing person. At first, I suspected flattery. I grew to be very wary of that after some of the pains I’ve endured recently. But this was genuine friendship, and it has proved priceless to me.
Finally, I began to walk in the victory that God has given me over my past pain. I’m finding my footing, replenishing my stores of joy, and I’m becoming a better person. It’s been a season of a lot of struggle, excitement, sorrow, and even rest. But now I’m seeing the other side of this wilderness mountain I’ve been climbing, and I’ve learned something.
There are 9 fruit of the spirit. Not one, but 9. So, while I’m struggling to take hold of my self control on so many levels, I’m finding so much joy. In fact, I’m known for my joy. I’m a glass half full kind of girl, and I hope that I always will be. This isn’t the way it always was. I’ve struggled with depression — a lot. I’ve been down so low that I wondered if I’d be able to get out of bed, if it was worth trying to.
Loving people comes easier these days. I used to wish people dead. I genuinely hated folks. I’m walking in love now. I even love my enemies. They still tick me off, and I get angry. But I pray for them. I’m loving, and I’m really full of peace. Life has been hard, but I’m still pressing on.
I’m growing in patience. I’ve been tested a lot in this area lately. It feels like more than usual. And I’m making it through. I’m using more kindness in my interactions with others as well as in the amount of grace I give myself. I’m so proud of that. What an amazing difference!
Goodness isn’t something people tend to tell me that I lack. In fact, people often tell me I’m too good. I have no idea what that means. I’m just trying to be better than my lesser instincts would want me to be. Faithfulness wasn’t my strong point, and I’m still working on being there for people even when they’re not too kind to me.
Gentleness is not my strong point. I’m working a lot in that area of my life. I’m trying to gentle my voice, my hands, and my heart. Finally, self-control is still a battle. With food, my temper, and with my desire to get what I want when I want it. But I’m learning to wait, learning to let others step ahead of me, and learning that all of this is a way of expressing godly love.
Are you being compared unfavorably with the “you” of your past? Take a second look. And like me, you may find that you’re doing pretty good after all. Look how far you’ve come!