Tonight I went to the county fair with my family, and I spent the evening with my younger brother while my parents enjoyed a nice date night. We spent the night eating funnel cakes, being spun in countless circles, and, of course, people watching. Among all the noise, lights, and craziness, God was able to stop me in my tracks and really grab a hold of my heart in the way that only He can!
This all happened on what is probably my favorite fair ride. I have seen it called many things: The Caterpillar/Worm, The Rock N Roller Coaster, and tonight, The Himalaya. No matter what it is called, the ride is always the same, and it is usually one of the loudest! As my brother and I sat in our cart waiting for the ride to start, a song started playing that was very popular with my friends and I back in middle school. It instantly brought me back to a time before I was walking with God.
You see, I never actually cared for the song. It’s your typical heavy metal/head banging/full of profanity song, and it was actually written (or so I have been told) to glorify the spreading of AIDS by having multiple sexual partners. Either way, the song is bad news, and I always knew this… But it never stopped me from listening to it back then.
I was always too focused on what I was “supposed” to listen to in order to fit the stereotype that my friends and I all strived for. I knew what was expected of me, and I was all too eager to mold myself into what I knew they would accept. I dressed a certain way, listened to certain music, talked a certain way, liked and disliked certain people, shopped at certain stores, and all because the world told me that I had to in order to be accepted. To put it simply, I was hopelessly trying to please the world.
I sat on the ride thinking back on the darkest years of my life, and then began to notice the people around me. There were 2 carts of people who were obviously trying to perfect the punk/goth stereotype, the same stereotype I used to strive for, and both groups were jamming out to the song and looking at each other the whole time for reaffirmation. They weren’t just enjoying the song, but instead they were making sure that each other knew they were enjoying the song (as weird as that sounds). A couple carts up from me, there was a man and a woman obviously on their first date. The woman knew the song well and was dancing along while the man headbanged and desperately tried to sing along with the chorus. Whenever he could string 3 or more words together he would look at her and sing them loudly before he went back to head banging and trying to find another part he knew. It seemed that everyone was just trying to be accepted, and the only way they knew how was to conform.
I was instantly hit with two overwhelming emotions. The first was thankfulness to God for bringing me out of that place of darkness and hopelessness. A few days ago, I posted a poem about wanting to be sanctified. Tonight God reassured me that He has already sanctified me SO MUCH since I first started walking with Him! I really just can’t explain how grateful I am that I am no longer the girl I used to be thanks to God!
I was also hit with overwhelming heartbreak for the people around me who were still lost, still trying to find their confidence and self worth in the world, still searching so hard for love and for a foundation. It’s a crazy combination of emotions-being happy and thankful that you are a child of God while your heart breaks for those who still aren’t. In that moment, waiting for the ride to start, I actually started to tear up.
You see, I also felt a third thing-conviction. Ever since I was saved, witnessing to others has been a HUGE part of my life. Lately, however, I have done nothing. I started doing college online, so the only times I really leave my house are for work and church. I pretty much stopped talking to most of my unsaved friends, and I somehow convinced myself that it was ok. God reminded me tonight just how NOT ok it is.
Sometimes, I need to be reminded of how ugly my life was before God stepped in. It reminds me how ugly the lives of those around me are, even the ones who look happy. Life without God is empty! I know how happy I am that God saved me from myself, and I can’t respond to that any other way than to make every effort I can to help Him do the same for someone else.
How do you react when you remember what God has brought you out of? Are you grateful? Convicted? Inspired? How can you see God sanctifying you? I would love to hear from you!