“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” Jeremiah 9:23-24
Right before we were about to leave for my baptism, my friend prayed over me. She told me something that I desperately needed to hear. She said, “This is God’s story.”
To be honest, it’s not something I always like to admit and for a long time fought so hard against. Naturally, I want to take credit for every great thing that happens in my life. This mindset was one of the main reasons I rejected Christ when I first heard the gospel. When I got out of the hospital, I thought I was on top of the world. I took so much pride in my recovery. I thought I was special and I wanted people to know about it. I wanted people to think that I was such a strong person for going through so much and wanted people to commend my inner strength. I didn’t want a relationship with God because I didn’t want people to see my weakness or admit it to myself. I was so insecure and desperately wanted other people’s approval. I wanted to give off the impression that I was this majestic, awesome person for going through so much on my own.
The humbling truth, though, is that during that time I was anything but an awesome person. In the eyes of the Lord, I was “wicked” and God “detested” my prideful heart (Romans 1:18; Proverbs 16:5). I was a fool. Nobody can take credit for any of the good, amazing things they accomplish or for the transformation in their hearts. “There is no one righteous, not even one…there is no one who does good, not even one,” (Romans 3:10, 12).
Everything good that comes out of our life is God’s work, for “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). God taught me how to love. He created and gave me an incredible family that has shaped me in wonderful ways. He has surrounded me with friends that have changed my world. He gave me intelligence to succeed in college. He created the doctors and medicines that have saved my life. Even when I didn’t believe in him or rely on his power, it was Him who gave me strength and encouragement in the hospital, from my amazing mom who put up with and comforted me in my madness every day, the patients in the hospital that looked over me and the natural positivity and tenacity that God instilled in me when he created me. And I am sure there were angels watching over me too.
At my baptism, before everyone gets dunked, we share part of our story of how we came to know God and how he has changed our life. I’m not going to go into much depth about what I said because you can find it here, along with a video of the event. But suffice to say, if someone 6 months ago would have told me that I was going to share all the messiness of my life in front of about 100 people, I would have thought they were crazy. I was ashamed of my past and afraid of judgement. I resisted telling my full story for so long. But my heart was heavy as I felt like I was lying to people and I felt so alone. When I started going to the church I am at now though, I started opening up. At first, I was a nervous wreck. I still feared judgement and hated the uncomfortableness of it. However, God was so gracious and slowly it became easier and easier. When I got up there to share at my baptism, I had little nerve and the words came out smoothly. The paper I was reading off was barely shaking. I was at peace. I really do encourage you to watch it. Not because I want the attention but because I want you to see God’s amazing power. In those few minutes, I knew it was truly His story and it’s an honor that God chose me to be a part of his glory.
I would like to say I have it all figured out now. I would like to say that I thank God and attribute his grace to every good thing in my life. But that would be a lie. I still want to take credit for my strength and the vulnerability He has blessed me with. I want to take credit for all my growth. At times, I want to take all the credit for this blog and it’s hard not to gloat when people praise things I have written. But it was God that gave me my writing abilities. If it weren’t for God, I wouldn’t even have something to write about. Tragically, I even want to take credit for my own salvation. I want to think I am this great person because I accepted Christ. But no, it’s by grace I have been saved. I may be a part of it, but I am here for God’s glory. It’s His story.