I was 19 years old and had been dating a wonderful man by the name of Joel for 2 years. It was a healthy relationship and Christ was growing us in love and faith but poisonous fear began to creep in. It took its effect in my mind, causing me to tremble at the word “marriage.” These doubts kept me from loving Joel extravagantly, “Am I good enough?” “Am I too young to be a wife?” “What will other people think of me?” I was selfishly afraid. However, after 3 weeks of fasting and separation, I realized that I had allowed the fear of man to control how I lived and loved. I pleaded with God to help me overcome my insecurities and his grace proved sufficient. Days after getting engaged, Joel and I wrote the song, “To Leave It All Behind.”
The song has become a personal challenge “to put off [my] old self, which belongs to [my] former manner of life […] and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).
I’m learning this renewal process isn’t complete the moment we initially allow Christ to be Lord of our lives. “Putting on the new self” is a constant process of regeneration and refinement that happens throughout the course of our entire life.
Does the thought of striving for something every day discourage you? I wish I could be the most ideal version of myself – brave, strong, courageous, selfless – right now and call it a day. Instead, change happens slowly and often painfully. But why should we be discouraged when there is so much beauty in the process? Yes, beauty. And by “beauty,” I mean glory. For instance, every challenge that we face with faith is a witness to everyone around us of God’s strength at work in us.
In conclusion, putting the past behind us requires the act of release and release always results in freedom but freedom always comes at a cost. Just like the freedom found in forgiveness costs us our pride and the liberty found in love costs us our selfishness, leaving our insecurities will come at a price – our ego may die or our control will come to an end – but it isn’t a better future worth any sacrifice?