Sunday, 13 April 2008

Conversion and me

Tonight my sister and I were chatting... She with her Red Wine, me (because of my diet) with my uber strong black coffee!

As many of you may or may not know, I am a fairly nostalgic person and at times I get a little carried away in my thoughts. Tonight was no exception.

We talked about our lives and about the people we are now. Neither of us thought we would ever want to live in Suffolk; being Edinburgh born and bread we are both extremely pleased and proud of the fact that we are Scottish and East coasters. And it's somewhat of a surprise that we have both came to settle here and that we both really like life here.

Recently I've discovered again the joyful child that I once was. People always used to tell me how joyful I was; always laughing, smiling, cheerful. But when I went to School, all I remember are tears, dread of going into school again and a complete hatred and resentment of my time there. When I left high school, I made a vow never to return to the town of the school and it was only out of sheer need that I ever went back.

My experience of my life during and out of school was a fairly negative one. A lot of being bullied, being overweight, feeling unpopular all kind of made me a very bitter, angry and serious person. I could never let anyone in, or make any sort of commitment. Every time I opened myself I was hurt and that just added to 'me' being suppressed.

When I came back to my faith I loved what I heard, but still I only allowed God to change what I wanted him too. I held on tightly to the anger, the seriousness, the resentment. That all fell into the person I was in seminary too. Quick to judge, angry all the time, a person at odds with himself and the system. All my laughter had gone. All my joy had vanished. I didn't trust a soul.

Eventually I got to the stage where I couldn't sleep, a lot of guys felt like that in seminary. Being kept awake half the night and not knowing why. In three weeks you're lucky if I had maybe 20 hours sleep. The result was a broken person, struggling to cope with a workload, and unable to think clearly. I was also so unhappy. There was a lot to be unhappy about in seminary but that's besides the point.

When I left seminary (in that state) I fell into a deep depression. Very angry, very irrational, no confidence, no joy and only happiness in the work that I did.

In February, I went to a youth 2000 retreat in Harrogate in Leeds. That weekend I felt 'me' return. I felt the joy of laughter again. The joy of loving others again and the want to reach out to people more than I ever had. God melted away the ice because I prayed 'Lord, do with me as you will, take me where I do not want to go'. Sometimes I've heard people say be careful what you wish for, and it's true. But I'm glad Jesus answered my prayer.

Life now is not as I expected it would be. I'm chilled out, happy, confident, completely trusting in our Lord; yet every day I have to make that renewal and that conversion to God over again because I know it is He who has given me new life, but that new life becomes old with presumption. Even when it's difficult, I feel that I, by the Lords grace can give it all up to Him, and that by trusting in His mercy, His love and providence that I will be fine.

Conversion in my experience is a daily plea to the Lord by asking Him not only to make us reflect the face of Jesus, but that He give us the very heart of His only Son. Conversion is in being taken were we do not want to go... But man, is it worth it!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post, JP. Don't have a lot of time to comment, but I can completely relate to the sentiment. We grow up, often hiding the real "me", and yet if only we could rediscover it, then we'd be happier. Turning to the Lord allows us to do just that and discover ourselves as He destined ourselves to be.

Hope you don't take this the wrong way, but I can see you've lost wait. Do you have a secret for your Diet?

God bless,