I’d been eight months in the country. It was my first of many experiences:
- First time living away from family.
- First time overseas.
- First time living on my own.
- First time in a job where I was responsible for the work being done.
- First time living with the consequences of my actions when no one was looking.
Keeping a journal helped to keep my thoughts in check, but in this February entry, I noted that it had been two months since my last update. That should have been an indication right there, but I was still young and stupid. Still, I admitted to having learned some lessons in those past few months. Let me quote them as I wrote them:
- First, I’ve learned that I am perfect at being a sinner.
- Second, that God desires to be Lord of my life.
- Third, that I feel 100% better when I let him lead and fill me with his Spirit.
- Fourth, that the less you know, the better off you are.
- Fifth, I’m here because the Lord wants me here. I have a job to do, and I am going to do it.
Thirty years later, I’m grateful for the insight the Lord gave me during those moments when I wasn’t letting my hormones and emotions gain sway. I struggled a lot with wanting to be in a relationship and getting married. I didn’t like the loneliness of life on the mission field. I wasn’t good at living the single life and simply focusing on what God had me there to do … or learn.
I’m also grateful, as I look back, that God knows us so completely that he’s not overwhelmed by our inability to meet his expectations. He knew my future, not just my present. He was willing to see me through, allowing me to grab some lessons along the way, write them down, knowing one day I could reflect on them and smile.
Though the memories of the failures remain, they are faded and forgiven. The lessons learned proved to be the building blocks of a faith that carried me through to better days. Now, on my own again, I’m not afraid of being alone. I am content to focus on God and his daily plans for me.
Are you able to reflect back on your life and see lessons you’ve learned? Have regrets that you’re hanging on to instead of giving them to the one who can forgive? We’re all perfect at being sinners. No wonder Paul says it’s the working out of our faith that requires fear and trembling.*
The lessons never cease. Let’s press on in learning.
Grace and Peace