Twenty years and still learning

New International Version
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

  I decided to follow  Christ in April 2001. I had grown up in church, and people saw potential even when I was not entirely focused on it.  However, I never understood what it meant and assumed I was until someone asked me how long  I was, and I was unsure. That's when I prayed. I cannot say it was dramatic, and that caused me to struggle and doubt until recently.  Looking back, I realized the most significant change was in my mind.  I finally understood what it meant to be  Christian.  As compared my answer to a study I did in 1999 to what was understood in 2002. I could see a change. I had wish I did not lose all of the spiritual journals that I kept as I changed computers because  I would have had a fuller knowledge of how I have grown. 

Even now, I am still learning because, as someone said, God doesn't change, but we do.   The most significant change in me emotionally was when I decided to let go of worry. It wasn't anything dramatic, just a decision  I have stuck to this day. I have so filled with worry that my mom compared it to torture.  Matthew. 6:25-34  and Philippians 4:6-7 were my verses. In fact, I have seen that second one work. For example, when I was nervous about my grades, I prayed and felt peaceful.  My anxiety journey had so many factors involved, I find it hard to know what led to the change. However, I think God was a part of it because everything changed quickly. I became more of the outgoing person I started out as before the emotional damage was done. During that time, I came to appreciate grace more.

A lot of the encouragement I received was to grow in grace and knowledge. 

This is why I  emphasize knowledge and renewing the mind because it is the beginning.  We cannot follow his command unless we know them, and we cant represent him unless we know him. These are two different senses of the same thing. Interestingly, knowledge is on Peter's list of things that confirm our calling and election.  I am sure he is referring to personal knowledge of God and intellectual knowledge of his commands.  Paul says in  Romans 12:2 to be transformed by renewing your mind, so you will really know what God wants in every situation.   The renewal of our helps to conform to him in every way.   We also need awareness of weaknesses and areas for growth which I have just now realized.  Without that awareness gathered from others and the scripture, it hard to know where to grow. One of my regrets was not accepting mentorship earlier. Honestly, I did not think I was worthy of it. 

God kept me focused on one was the attitudinal sins because they are easy to overlook and justify.  I have seen the dangers and consequences of bitterness and unprocessed anger in today's hyper offended world. I have gotten sucked into it as well over things of little value.  . I have unintentionally wounded people with my words. Paul spends a lot of time talking about these in the non-pastoral letters.

He also confronted about my tendency t isolate as well.  I am more acutely aware that it is a team sport. Spiritually, I was like a meerkat separated from the clan.  If you have followed them from Meerkat Manor or anywhere else, you know how important the group is to their survival. They are so small anyone can pick them off. When there is a threat, they mob the enemy together.  I have always struggled with opening up and how much to reveal. However, I have done it in small ways. W.    I began to believe the negative report about myself instead of developing the discipline to focus on areas. I  spiritualized my perfectionistic tendencies and began dispising the grace that I loved so much. I identified more with my weakness than letting  God work through even today. However, I see that is irrational because I need to stay connected. As Jesus says in John 15, I must rest and submit to the pruning.  People have noticed the great work God started in me. I just dare to let him bring it to completion 


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