One of the many things that I have had to learn over time is that no one walk with Christ or story of redemption is the same, but yet we are all saved by the same amazing grace. It is so easy for us to look across the room and depict what an individuals life must be like, and how much better it may be than ours. We silently think "they have it all together and I am hanging by a thread", "I can not seem to find Christ in this storm and I feel alone" or "They are a better christian then I...my past is too dark to be used like them." We tend to judge others based on their walk with Christ, and doing that we forget that everyone has a story. A story that only they acquire, a story so vivid in their memory alone and a story that that outside appearance may never display. Living in a world of conformed thoughts, motives and expression it is easy for us to dwell in the thoughts that my redeeming moments need to be the same as others. He formed you in your mother's womb in the likeness of His image, He breathed into your lungs the very first breath you would ever take on this side of eternity and He began at that moment writing your story...YOUR story. A few years ago I went to a Winter Jam conference and Francessa Battistelli sang the song many have heard "Write Your Story." The lyrics are
"I'm an empty page I'm an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make your mark
Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won't You write Your story on my heart"
He began in you from the beginning a story that is yet untold, and by doing this He set you apart from the status quo. He planted seeds in you that would blossom into great works for His kingdom not your own in His will for you alone. This concept is so encouraging to know that He thought enough of you, despite your unworthiness He found you priceless enough to give you an individual story. He sought you out in a crowd of many, specifically called you for such a time and place, and wishes to form you into salt and light of the earth. Many think that a huge revelation must occur for us to be saved by His grace, when in actuality it can so simple and far from inside the four walls of a church. For me, I asked Him into my heart at a very young age in children's church, but for others it may have been a totally different scenario, age and even phase in life. Some may have found Christ in the desperation of an addiction, struggle or storm or like myself in the innocence of a little girl's prayer. Our story does not stop there, it only begins. Each walk with Christ is filled with very different struggle and success, and no one walk is more right than the other. The spectrum of differentiation in individual relationships with Him vary in all areas based on personal trails, experience and reality and this leads me to say it is not about how straight the walk is, but how grounded the heart is. Instead of dwelling on how different someone else's walk may be, thrive in your own story that has been so preciously written in the folds of your heart by the creator of all things. Let Him use you for what He has called you to do, and find security in His presence not in how well you walk the walk. One may walk the walk but it is the mind where true motives promote true feelings, and in turn true actions. Never look to the left and right at the other man's race being ran because you will surely fall. Let your heart be a vessel that is willing to be molded and folded in the ways of Christ, being that our life has never been ours our heart should act as a blank book waiting to be filled with words of wisdom, grace, joy, encouragement, individuality, purpose, love and faith. Our prayer should be to strengthen us in our originality, and to give us a focus so strong that we can only be about our father's works. When having a story that is so personalized, we must share it, and never keep it to ourselves. God writes in us and through us a story so worth telling. The story of redeeming grace, and He never intended us to keep that sealed under lock and key, but be vulnerable and open to expressing who we truly are to others. Tell others the love you have found, the failures you have made, the success you have achieved, the set backs you have endured, the faith you have earned, the lost moments you overcame, the hurt you persevered, and the genuine fact that you are human. Allowing this openness to others lets it be known that despite our difference in chapters, we are all apart of the same book, holding a different place for a different reason. Each chapter plays a beautiful part in the overall story of Christ's church excelling towards Him in unison. Never judge or discriminate another's story in comparison to your own and walk humbly in your own, only encouraging others, and enhancing them along the way. If each of us possessed the same story, it would be like reading the same thing over and over and therefore His kingdom would never be expanded. I have prayed endlessly for a story to written in me that has yet to be told, I desire a life that surpasses anything I could dream, and to be used in ways that I never saw fit. That should be the prayer for each of us, to have a story created that is untold and to live a life that is original, authentic and greater than ourselves. You see when we are so focused on Christ and He truly becomes greater and we become less, He seals our focus if we let Him away from this world. He captures us, uses us and produces an individual will that we have a deep yearning to fulfill. In order for this to happen, He must become greater, otherwise we will always turn and see what our walk is or is not based of societal standards, others or expectations. Let your walk be intimate with Him and only Him, treasure your story, and let God fabricate an incredible novel within you to share to those who do not truly know Him. Through each phase as hard as it may seem, worship His devotion to you, and submit to His story that has already been graciously written by the hand of God specifically for you.