For a long time in my life, I have in essence ran from myself and tried sometimes to not be me. If you understood what I mean, then you know where I am coming from; if you don’t understand what I mean then I will try to explain.
For many reasons, I have often felt inferior; firstly I suppose because of my working class background and growing up as a kid in a run-down dilapidated house with no bath and an outside toilet and a leaking roof, amongst many other things. I agree, this isn’t the worst poverty anyone could endure, but bear with me. Secondly, I hated school and was bullied somewhat, although not seriously, and found year on year in my senior school that I was getting worse and worse grades and so got less and less interested and finally left at fifteen; a bad mistake some might say. Thirdly, I have since my late teens felt a failure and felt that whatever I turned my hand at would not succeed, and so in the past I didn’t even try; and having ambition? It didn’t even register. Fourthly, and this may seem beside the point, I have had a long series of bad and even unpleasant encounters with the opposite sex, so much so that I have had a problem with women for a long time and once could even have been described as women-hater; I’m coming to terms with this now and am asking God to help me deal with it. I hasten to add, I never was or never have been a violent person in any way. Finally, although there may be other things too, I have had an on-off relationship with God throughout my life. This has resulted in me finding myself estranged from God many times, and being punished by Him in various ways for my disobedience, culminating in my life stopping and starting until I learned to put my faith, and my obedience, in God. You may ask ‘why would God punish you and disrupt your life, if He is supposed to be a loving God?’; I suppose my answer simply would be, that sometimes God has to take drastic measures to bring someone in line, even if it might seem to mess up their life. Sometimes, God’s punishment is the kindest thing He can do to make changes in your life; at the time though it might not seem like that at all!
We all struggle, in one form or another. I think it is part and parcel of the human experience. Some people are gifted academically, but they might struggle with getting on with other people. Some people might be good at making money, but struggle with subjects like maths and English. Some people might be good to know and lovely people through and through, but let people down by being late all the time or not turning up. We all have gifts and talents as human beings, and we all have areas in our lives where we are not so good at things. In short, we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses at the same time. And sometimes, we can be over-confident, and sometimes we can lack confidence; I think somewhere between the two is the best way to approach life and whatever comes our way.
As a Christian then, I have had my ups and downs; but who hasn’t? I can say this though; after many hard lessons, I have finally learned something! Seriously, I have learned and understood that God is the best source for help with any troubles I have and the best source for any kind of help I may need, and He is utterly reliable and completely unfazed by whatever question or problem I might bring to Him, or advice I might need. He is always there, day or night, and however I feel, whether it’s grumpy or happy, or even downright miserable, He is always the same yesterday, today and forever.
As I am a bit older now than when I was a teenager, I can afford to be somewhat amused at the way I was when I was a youngster; I made so many mistakes, said so many stupid things, did things that made my life worse and even occasionally got in with the wrong crowd. Those days are gone now, and I am in a different phase of my life; maybe it’s the same for you or perhaps you are just embarking on your ‘salad days’ as I did all those years ago. Some things have changed; I am more mature, my character is more rounded and I am more thoughtful and considerate of other people. Some things are still the same; I still make mistakes, and I still fail from time to time. But I am moving forward in my life, trying to make headway and get on in life as best as I can. And God? Yes, I think I am in a much better place with Him than I was even five years ago, and it gets better every day. I now believe firmly that my place in life, first and foremost, is to be a committed Christian and to put all my wants, desires, ambitions and even passions to God first, and to ask Him to smooth my way and make my paths straight. He has a knack of bringing it all together in a way no human ever could.
‘Thus says Yahweh to his anointed one, to Cyrus whom, he says, I have grasped by his right hand, to make the nations bow before him and to disarm kings, to open gateways before him so that their gateways be closed no more: I myself shall go before you, I shall level the heights, I shall shatter the bronze gateways, I shall smash the iron bars, I shall give you secret treasures and hidden hoards of wealth, so that you will know that I am Yahweh, who call you by your name, the God of Israel.’ Isaiah 45:1-3