Congratulations on being one of the first to read my entry post into the blogosphere!
However, you might be thinking to yourself right about now,”Self, I immediately regret my decision to click on this fool’s link. I am not going to waste my time reading about the story of his life or something or another.” I would say that you are mostly right. Definitely right about my being a fool. But I would argue that you won’t waste your time on this post, because I for one did not waste my time writing it.
With that being said, time is a-wasting, and I have yet to bring up my subject. So. The Story of my Life. And, no, not the One Direction song. However, directly below lies a link to a comical video about that song in particular, if that’s what you came here for.
(S/O to Pine Cove Outback for the video find.)
But that’s not what I want to write about in this post. I would like to communicate with you the reason why I even began this pastime called blogging in the first place. Part of the reason is self-serving. God commands the nation of Israel in Joshua 4:1-9 to set up standing stones, in order that they may not forget the mighty wonder he did for them in stopping the Jordan River. I hope this blog echoes that tradition. The other reason is selfless. Sharing with you, dear reader, my experiences will hopefully speak truth into your life so that perhaps you learn from my mistakes or achievements (or rather God’s achievements through me). I would like to clarify before I continue that I am a professing Christian and have been for over 14 years, but there are times in our lives when we become so stagnant, so complacent that whatsoever God does next brings about radical change for us. For me, 7 weeks spent working at a summer camp exposed my already broken nature in a new way, and I saw my sin once again for what it truly was.
At Pine Cove summer camp, God changed my life. Not because Pine Cove is extraordinary in and of itself, but rather God uses Pine Cove to transform the lives of people for His purposes and His glory (Pine Cove’s mission statement, if you were wondering). The theme of Pine Cove Outback’s 2014 summer put simply was “Stories.” Do you see where this is headed now? During my 7 week sojourn to Columbus, Texas, God revealed to me that my life is a story that has its own author, plot, setting and characters. I soon realized, however, that there was conflict in authorship of my story. Despite being raised in a Christian environment, I wanted to write my own story. But how could I do that when I claimed to believe, as it says in Hebrews 12, that God is the author of all stories? Working at Pine Cove revealed to me that I had been trying to write my own story for the past year or so. Sure, I would let God take over and write every now and then, especially when it fit well within my own plan. But I have come to find that authoring my own story has not turned out well.
The result of such a selfish desire to write my own story manifested itself in the secret life I lived, wrought with selfish intentions. And before you think,” Oh, I see it now. Drugs, alcohol and sex. That was his secret life.” Well, not quite. You see, anything done with the wrong motivations is sin. Even good things. You have probably heard of this idea before. Much like the Pharisees of the Bible, who kept the letter of the law but did so for completely wrong reasons, I went to church, read my Bible, prayed and practiced all that good surface-level Christianity. I knew the answers. I even knew the deeper answers to the tougher questions. I can honestly say that I pursued Christ, but sometimes with impure intentions. When people saw me, I wanted them to think about ME things like,”Wow, look at how great of a Christian HE is,” or “Man, HE is just awesome!” Do you see what’s wrong with this notion? I would often selfishly seek the Christian life, for my own gain, so that people would see me for how good of a man I was! I had the Pharisaical Syndrome and wanted to be recognized for my good deeds before men, rather than the Lord.
And so, at Pine Cove, God slowly revealed all of my pride and selfishness to me through camp sermons and solid Christian fellowship. I would compare myself to other counselors and think,” Oh, I’ve got him beat in the Christian walk…” or ” She’s such a fake Christian.” Looking back, the level of hypocrisy that I displayed is honestly unbearable. In addition, having to counsel and lead 6 to 8 campers a week, who were sometimes just as selfish as I, helped lead me to see the sin in my own life. I had lost sight of the goal of Christianity. I claimed to know it all, and yet I knew nothing. I claimed to give God all the glory, but decided to keep most of it for myself. By confessing outwardly that I wanted to make God’s name great, inwardly I was seeking to use Christianity to make my own name great. What a twisted, hypocritical and hollow way to seek after Christ! Indeed, my life felt so empty and pointless when I did things for my own glory.
But thanks be to God, who can redeem even a selfish, prideful, judgmental human being like me! After God exposed my sin for what it was, my only choice, driven by repentance and love for Christ, was to turn control back over to Him. I desire to no longer live for myself, as Galatians 2:20 so eloquently states, because I have lived for myself and know the result of such choices. Sure, my sin remains, and my flesh still battles for control, but seeking for the glory of Christ to be known satisfies my heart more than any other worldly offer. And the greater beauty is that Christ seeks and pursues each and every one of us! He not only desires but deserves to author each of our stories! How can we, as human beings created by an all-powerful, all-knowing God, think that in any way we are better writers than our Creator? Well, I can tell you how. Pride and Selfishness. Fortunately, we have a God that effortlessly conquers both those sins, and all it takes is a summer at camp. At least that’s all it took for me to realize the selfish pride I was living in. At Pine Cove, I turned authorship back over to Christ.
So you may not have gotten what you were expecting, that is, a description of my life from birth until now. But hopefully what you did get was the story of a faithful God who pursued a selfish author, and how that God chose to redeem him even in the midst of sin. I would like to end this blog with a quote from one of my favorite TV series out there, Doctor Who. The main character, the Doctor, faces what appears to be his last moments and says, among other things…
“I’ll be a story in your head, but that’s okay, because we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”
Isn’t that the truth? Our time here on earth is fleeting, a wisp of smoke as James 4:14 says. Compared to eternity, the importance of our time here on earth carries unimaginable weight. This is literally our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live where God has placed us and to be what He has already called us to be. When our life on earth ends, all that’s left of us are simply stories, like the Doctor said. So do you want your story to be a good one? A story worth retelling for the glory of the One who ultimately authors all stories? I know who’s writing mine, but who’s writing your story? Are you secretly writing your own story for your own glory, as I was doing? I can tell you now, friend, that God writes better stories than you do. Turn your story over to Him, and He will write a story for you greater than you could imagine. Not for your name’s sake. But for His. It’s not about us, it’s not about you, it’s not about me. It’s about Christ.