A few weeks ago, we were having a snack break at the office I work in, and one of my superiors happily recalled the first time they met me. That was five years ago. He said he remembers me so well because I was very joyful and bubbly. I always had a smile on my face. He said I was warm and friendly to everyone.
Back then I was an overachiever, too. A role-model, maybe. I was certain of many things, and above all, I was certain of me.
A lot can happen in five years.
I’ve said this before in a million tweets and a few blog posts – but yes, I think I’ve already outgrown that girl. In that five-year span there were about three separate seasons of depression, a short rebellion period and a lot of running away. Mostly away from God. Away from who He says I am.
Halfway through all that, it dawned on me that I had really lost myself. The books, the movies, the songs were not lying. I would look to the mirror and see a different person altogether. The things that made me happy lost their effect. My friends started noticing it, too. I became toxic, extra-needy, very tactless.
To this day, I really wonder where she went. I wonder where I lost her. Some days I think I lost her in school, when I was recklessly chasing my dream and somehow lost sight of God in the process. Maybe I lost her in my friendships, when instead of a hand that heals, all I ever laid on my friends was an iron grip. Maybe I lost her in leadership, when all the voices became too loud and I just dropped everything.
Growth is also painful. So many parts of me have been snapped off in the past five years and sometimes I try to feel for them in the places they used to be. They’re not there anymore. Sometimes the empty feels so heavy.
John 10:10 says, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
In hindsight, I believe it’s true. I am no longer the girl my office mates met five years ago, but;
John 10:10 also says that Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly. That also rings true, triumphing over the fact that I had been killed, stolen from, destroyed. In place of havoc, I have quiet nights of peace. In place of broken bones, healing. In place of lost friendships, I was given family, regardless of blood connection.
I guess what I am trying to say is this – God has the final say over everything. He holds the pen and He is a good storyteller. Bad endings are unfinished stories. I look at my life now – abundant, full of peace (despite my fears), full of joy (despite the circumstances), full of love (despite my flaws) and recognize that this is God-ink all over my life. It had been costly for Him, it bled out of Him, but never had I read that He regrets doing it for you and for me.