We started a new sermon series at church. A series on the life of Joseph. The Joseph with the rainbow coat and the dreams, not the Joseph who was Jesus' earthly father. While I enjoyed Pastor Brian's sermon on Sunday, something he said was like a kick in the gut. It reminded me of how I was and how I can sometimes still be.
I am a "recovering church-goer". Now, simmer down for a minute and take a few breaths. This is not something that is meant be taken offensively. Hear me out before you tune out.
I was raised in church. I was in church every single time the doors were open. I went sick but not contagious. Sundays, Wednesdays, and a lot of other days. I am blessed that I was raised in church. The foundation was laid but I misinterpreted the message. I thought that BECAUSE I went to church every time the doors were open, BECAUSE I knew all the songs the choir was singing, BECAUSE I memorized enough Bible verses at church camp, BECAUSE I was the "good girl", that I deserved (did you catch that? I thought I deserved) God's favor. I have always enjoyed reading the story of Joseph. I have never thought it applied to me. Looking at myself growing up and looking at myself now, I see it applies. Oh boy, does it apply.
Pastor Brian talked about when we rely on ourselves, when we rely on the idea that we have "done it all right" we do one of two things when that idea fails because trust me, that idea fails. We either fall into a pit of despair or we blame God. I might be an outlier in the equation, because I did both. I spent a lot of my teenage years and early twenties thinking God didn't love me because I was doing everything "right" feeling like I wasn't getting what I wanted or hating him with a passion for not giving me the things I wanted or thought I deserved. I mirrored Joseph's arrogance and ignorance in his early years. I failed to realize that even though, like Pastor Brian said, I DO have a part in His story, I am NOT central. This is something I still struggle with. I am NOT the lead role in my story because it's not MY story. It's HIS. I might never have a role that places me on the proverbial stage. I may always be behind the curtain making sure certain players actually get on the stage. Supporting them. I enjoy that and I'm good at that. The "stage" is truly glamorized and it shouldn't be. I have to realize, and pray for this realization daily because sometimes even though I enjoy the supporting role I have the urge to jump on the stage and scream "I AM HERE WORLD!"
I am so thankful for the growth I have been able to see in myself over the last few years. I also know how much more work needs to be done. I am far from complete. I am far from perfect. I am thankful that those things are okay. My sweet Savior died for me so I may have free grace to screw up and be far from perfect. Wow. Just wow.