A Journey of “Becoming”… That’s what I’m on.
What does it mean to be on a journey of “becoming”? It means a few things…
Firstly, it means the way I was a few years ago is not the way I am today. For this, I truly thank God. I have grown so much and developed so much as a person and as a Christian because of a bunch of things that have happened over the past several years. I’m far from perfect now, but I used to be so much more judgemental, critical and proud; I thought trying to make sure “justice” was always done was a good thing! I was certainly not afraid to point out things that were wrong (of course with other people, and never me…), and the way in which I went about that was often… less than flattering, in retrospect. However, I clearly remember one cold January night, alone in my dorm room, realizing how much my character resembled something with which I didn’t want to be associated. I lay there crying, frustrated because I didn’t know how to fix myself, and then I heard God say, “Jessica, be gentle. Just be gentle.”
I had never thought about the word “gentle” before really. I knew how to hold babies, and crack eggs so that they broke neatly in half and no shell ended up in my cookies, and walk down the stairs without making them creak. But to be gentle in my manner with people… God also introduced me to the word ‘gracious’ either on this evening, or shortly thereafter. Yet another word that I hadn’t really thought about before – it had something to do with saying “thank you” instead of “yes, I know” when someone paid me a compliment, right? (Yes, I did that – in my defence, I was only four…)
While I can’t walk through the details of all the circumstances (online… too public, and obviously this involves more than just me…), I can honestly say that it was only with the help of God and His demonstration of grace and gentleness to me that I was able to make significant strides forward. I can’t say I’ve mastered these qualities because I still see room for improvement, but I am so completely different now from who I was before. Even aside from that one particular issue, God has been growing me in so many other ways recently, too. I can’t share everything now; some of it’s for sharing later, and some of it’s just for me. however, I can say that when I get really discouraged looking at myself now and seeing all of my edges that are still rougher than I’d like them to be, the most comforting thought in the world is to remember the reality of what I was like only a few years ago, and to know that God is not done working in me yet.
That is the second part of my journey of “becoming”. Everything yet to be. I thank God I’m not done developing as a person and refining my character. I also thank God there is more to ‘life’ than just what I’m doing and experiencing now. And I thank God that He is right beside me guiding me to a better understanding of Him, and what it means to live a life I’ve given to Him.
One of the most profound Bible verses that rings in my ears over and over, especially when I am feeling frustrated that I’m not “there yet” (i.e. finished growing, finally a completely godly person who always makes the right choices, etc. etc.) is Philippians 2:12,13.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
What do I like so much about this? Amongst other things, the phrase “work out your salvation” is the specific part that plays over and over in my mind. There are few phrases in the Bible I’ve found that carry so much hope. This means it’s okay for me not to be done. It’s okay for me to still be learning what it means to truly follow Christ. It’s okay to stop and think, “why do I really believe?” I don’t need to beat myself up for not being “there yet”, because I’m still on that journey – that journey of “becoming.” As I work out my salvation, and as God teaches me new things and takes me new places, I am changing… growing… Becoming.
What am I becoming? I don’t know exactly, and that is what makes this adventure all the more exciting! I know I am becoming more and more Christlike. And I know I am becoming more and more like the person God designed me to be. I know that the things I am actually doing in my life are constantly coming more and more in line with what He has called me to do. And beyond that, I don’t know what I’m becoming. If I knew exactly everything God had in store for the rest of my life now, that would deprive me of the joy of discovering all that God has planned, the thrill of seeing the miracle of how God was preparing me for things before I even knew they existed, and the awesome sense of potential that comes from knowing Someone bigger than me is planning my life!
I have many more thoughts about this topic, but I imagine they will trickle out in the next couple of months as I find the time here and there to actually write down all the things I’m thinking about…