I have to begin this post by letting you know I’m nervous about sharing this with you. To date this is the most personal entry I have written. I’ve poured over this post for more than a year writing and rewriting it trying to somehow sugar coat and sweeten it up. But real life isn't always pretty or sweet, it’s raw and full of imperfections. So that is what you'll read here today, the journey I’ve had making it well with my soul.
As christians we often feel the need to share our testimony with others as a way to demonstrate the change that came about in our lives because of Christ. There is nothing wrong with this, it’s actually one of our most powerful tools as we try to relate to people's real life experiences.
But what if you don’t have a story?
Today I’m sharing the “do gooders” story. The story of those who never have "fun" but bear the burden of those who do. The story of the person who chose the straight and narrow while everyone else wandered away. I’m sharing my story.
I’m the girl who didn’t go astray, the one who stayed in church. The girl who didn’t party in college, the girl at all the church functions...the good little church girl.
My husband's story is much different than mine, and maybe one day he will be able to share his story here, but for now we’ll say we chose “different paths” in our early adult years. His story is one of those inspiring life changing stories that makes you want to get saved all over again, while mine isn’t worth the three seconds it takes to say “I was born and raised in a christian home”.
None of this seemed to matter to me until we got married. In our first year of marriage I was full of hatred towards my husbands past. While sometimes that manifested itself as bitterness towards him, I was mostly mad at God. Why should I have to bear the consequences of someone else's choices? What was the point of doing “right” all these years if I too had to suffer from another’s sins? This attitude bread bitterness and resentment which turned into apathy in many areas of my life.
Slowly but surely I began to question everything I had believed to be true. I wanted to throw in the towel, not on my marriage but in doing the “right” thing all the time.
Everything was wrong with my soul.
During this time my relationship with God was pretty much non-existent. Outwardly, I was doing all the right things but internally I was at war. I just couldn’t get over how unfair it was that I had to suffer for things I didn’t do. It consumed me, I felt sorry for myself.
You see Romans 8:28 tells us “we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him.” For me that meant God worked for good in my husbands life. The man I love more than anyone in the world is who he is today because of his past. God changed my perspective; He began to soften my soul.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was dig inside my heart to see that I was just as much a sinner and prodigal as my husband was. My sin just wasn’t outward, it was internal...pride. That gets me every time, the sin that lets me think I’m better than the rest. I’m not, and neither are you “do-gooder”. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re better than those who are more honest about their sin. ALL sin separates us from our Creator, not just the ones you think are “really bad”.
As God started changing my perspective, which didn't happen overnight by the way, I noticed a change in my heart. Not only did I not care about the man my husband was, I learned to embrace the man he became because of his journey. His past was my “lot” to bear, and God had prepared me for that long before I even knew I could bear it.
So, almost five years later...I’ve come to the spot in my life where it is well with my soul. Not only is it well, it’s wonderful! I couldn't imagine not having the man I have today, his past and all. He is more than I deserve and a daily reminder of God's grace in my life.
I’d like to end with a note to those who feel like it’s not worth the trouble to do “right” anymore. Hang in there, good always wins (obviously! Star Wars taught us that much!) but seriously, it’s worth it. Be careful you don’t become self righteous, your good works and outward perfection is filth in the sight of God. Don’t think of yourself as someone special because you can say no to temptation, I’m sure you struggle with other sins if you’re honest with yourself. Remember we’re supposed to compare ourselves to Jesus, not other imperfect people; He’s who we’re striving to model ourselves after.
I know this struggle pales in comparison to most battles people are fighting through in life, but this was a very big issue for me to work through. I’m sure that I’m not alone in this, somewhere out there another person is about ready to give up and give in. Wherever you are in your journey, let today be the day you start making well with your soul.