I have spent all week thinking about this verse! It started when I was in the car with my parents and out of nowhere, my Dad says “Do not be like the world. What’s that verse in Romans about not conforming?” And then I quoted it. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is God’s will.” And than he started to talk about that verse but the meaning didn’t sink in till Wednesday.
I was at the hair salon-of all places!- and the young woman who was doing my hair asked how old I was. This is a pretty common question for me cause everyone always assumes that I’m in my early 20s. So I quickly answered: “Sixteen.” Her reply took me by surprise. “Oh, okay yeah that makes sense. Right when I saw you, I knew you were real young.” Like I said, I’m used to people thinking I’m a lot older than only 16! “Oh, wow!” I had said, “Normally people think I’m a lot older. I’ve never had anyone think that I’m really young. I guess it’s my height that makes people think I’m older than 16.” She looked me in the eyes and said “Well, it’s your eyes, they’re innocent.” To which I brilliantly responded with “Oh.” Was it a compliment? I guess it was now that I think about it. But at first, it was the last piece to the puzzle my mind had been arranging the past few days.
The click was so loud, I’m surprised no one else heard it. If it hasn’t clicked yet for you, let me attempt a little mind mapping. This is what I thought: Wow I’ve made it this far and I still have innocent eyes which means that all I’ve been through hasn’t changed the fact that my soul isn’t damaged by the pain this life has caused me. Is it possible to make it my entire life with innocent eyes? Are they innocent because I am naive? Or are they innocent because I have accepted that there’s bad in the world, but have been able to see through it and embrace the light? What if that’s what the verse means? That even though we can not separate ourselves from calamity because we are in this world, we can choose to not to accept the world’s ways as our own. And if we turn to God instead of the world-including friend’s and family- we can be transformed. And God won’t take away our pain, but renew our minds and show us and make us pure again. He can show us a better way to live. That was the last puzzle piece!
Well things are looking up. A little optimism and prayer go a long way! I didn’t plan on delving into how life is for me, but I mentioned that I was doing physical therapy, so why not an update? I have a therapy session every week and my hard work is paying off! So when I first started, my wrists could barely move and they were incredibly swollen. Now the swelling has decreased tremendously and I have an improved range of motion! I’ve been working a lot on my grip strength because I hope to be able to play my guitar again. It’s been about 3 months since I’ve been strong enough to play. So I tried today and was only able to play one song.
Now before anyone goes thinking I’m patient about the whole process, let me just clear that up with a bit of hard truth. I haven’t been optimistic about this the entire time. I write this as a reminder to myself. I don’t want to forget. I’ve been really frustrated and angry with my self. Sometimes I yell and cry when it’s too painful to continue with the stretches my physical therapist gave me. I always turn my music up to full volume so my family can’t hear my cries of pain. So many people focus on the success story and fail to remember how many hours or even years were spent to reach that point of wellness. It’s difficult and I wish I were better. I wish I could remember what feeling 100% was like. It’s been 8 years since I was first diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. I wish this wasn’t so hard and painful. But it is.
I’ve begun to see that wishing won’t change anything and when things do change, it hardly ever happens overnight. The road to improvement is tiresome and lonely. The only thing I can do is take pleasure in the small victories and keep moving forward. How fun. In all seriousness, let me depart with a few words of encouragement: Give it to God. Seriously, he can handle it. All your pain, tears, and angry words. Give it to him and I can guarantee that he will take all the anguish and strife that’s plaguing your life right now and turn it around into something truly incredible.
I’ve been evaluating this verse lately and thinking about how it applies to my own life. For one, I’m not an emotional person. Or at least I try not to be. While emotions can be our greatest strength as it helps us to share in the joys and sorrows of loved ones, it is often our greatest weakness. It clouds our judgement, and makes us do crazy things. It often times rules our lives. I realized that every time I made a stupid decision, it was because I decided to “follow my heart” aka: emotions.
I’m a teen girl. I’m supposed to be crazy about guys, over emotional, and slightly melodramatic. Or at least that’s how teens are seen by adults. And it’s how most of us are. Supposedly we “just can’t help it”. Every one at my age is is either crushing on or dating boys. It takes over their thoughts and emotions. It would be perfectly acceptable if I were to do the same. And at one time, it did. Because I didn’t guard my heart. I gave it away because it felt right. Well you know what? It wasn’t mine to give! All that I am should be God’s, not the world’s. I don’t want to be led by emotions, I want to be led by God.
I don’t want to spend my teen years vying for the attention of boys. The thought of it is revolting. I want my teen years to be the launching pad for my faith. I want to guard my heart from the trappings of this world and seek God. Girls and Women everywhere: You have a choice! You don’t have to be controlled by your hormones or society, or anything that keeps you from seeking God with all your heart, soul and mind. You can choose to guard your heart. Don’t give it to boys, give it to God.
Today is my birthday! I can’t believe I’m 16! I have so much to be thankful for. I didn’t think I’d make it this far. Praise the Lord! = )