How often does your story begin with “I used to…”? I used to play sports, I used to work, I used to go to church, I used to spend time with my family, I used to go to Bible study, I used to be married, I used to be single, I used to (fill in the blank).
Does the shadow of who you used to be sometimes cloud your vision such that you can’t quite see who you are today – or who you could be tomorrow?
I was thinking about this the other day when I visited my son and daughter-in-law. When they moved to Georgia we gave them an old bedroom set. It was a set that my in-laws bought as newlyweds and after many years gave to Brian and me. We used it for a while, and then it was tucked away in the guest room. The furniture was past its glory days; it was scratched, faded, scarred, and out of style with a bleak future.
But when I saw the furniture in Georgia it had been transformed! With some TLC, elbow grease, and chalk paint, Dan and Nikki had brought new life and usefulness into that old furniture – it was even trendy. Now it has a bright future ahead in Dan and Nikki’s house.
This furniture is a lot like you and me! Sometimes we may feel like our glory days are over – we left them behind when we graduated from High School, or college, we will never again be as important as we were before we retired, our respect stayed behind when we left the military, or our usefulness and relevance moved out when our children left home.
Your story doesn’t have to begin with “used to be”. Nothing about you has to stay as it was. The wonderful thing is that you don’t even have to wait till January 1 to make the resolution to change – the change from who you used to be to who you are becoming can begin at any moment.
When you come to Jesus scratched, faded, scarred, weak, worthless, and irrelevant and out of style, He breathes new life into you. He makes you new. He restores your usefulness!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
God’s plan for you and for me doesn’t mean that our glory days are behind us. We are not defeated. We are not useless. We are not held captive by the way we used to be. We can look forward to a bright future. God’s plan for us is clear:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.’” – Jeremiah 29:11-14a NIV….
Just like the old bedroom furniture, you and I may sometimes feel useless and discarded, but God doesn’t discard His people; He uses TLC to renew us and keep us useful. As long as we are in this life He has a plan for us and a job for us.
Will you submit to God and let Him renew you? Will you let Him sand away the past and polish your future. Will you let Him shape you into a useful vessel for His purpose? And will you let His glory shine through you as you serve His people?