I woke up distracted this morning.
I make a vow during my time with God to not use my phone, but I found this morning I spent a large amount of time on it. Good things had happened in the last couple days. A new energy was all around. A new “stepping into.” Prayers that had been prayed it had been revealed, had also been prayed in the “meanwhile” elsewhere.
So…my distraction was most certainly a rouse from Satan. An attack. A countermeasure for me to not move into what was coming. What lies ahead. What good was before me.
In the distraction came doubt.
If you think after you accept Christ, that Satan leaves you alone-think again. If you think because you are a pastor, you are immune to an attack from the evil one-think again. In actuality, you are more susceptible. You are the one he really wants. You are the one he loves to get to. Because if he can get to you, well then he can get to more of God’s people.
He uses distraction to get to me often. And it occurs frequently on my phone. With social media. Not all social media. One in particular. That ole place where you find the people you are supposed to know. And you connect to them. In the hopes to what? I’ve only just begun to really figure it out.
I don’t know at what point I started feeling lonely. Unsupported. Inadequate. Shamed. It may have been a post about alcohol. And the things I knew had been said about alcohol in the past. It may have been the people I “knew” here who I didn’t really know anymore. Who I didn’t really feel much support from. Who didn’t really hype me up in the way strangers often did.
Who knew my past, and the past of others I know, and for whatever reason remained stuck there. In the past.
But, the people we knew in our past don’t often celebrate the fact that you have cast-off your old life and chosen a new one. Why?
They want to remember the person they knew. The person that was chained to poor patterns and toxic behaviors. The person who allowed them to be, too. They are so tied to the old you, and their own patterns, they can’t accept that a new person can be made from that old mess. They remember your Saul.
Those other people? The people who didn’t know that old you. They see something of inspiration, and they want more. They support you. As you are now. You don’t remind them of a past they can’t seem to get themselves out of. To them, you are Paul.
I was asked this question recently: “Why do you want to become an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene?”
I realize I can go online and be ordained for 50 bucks. I can do that all while continuing to live in the sin and shame I had been living in before. But God didn’t want that for me.
If someone had told me in my teens I would one day be a pastor, I would have laughed at them. I didn’t go to church. I can count on one hand the times I did. I didn’t particularly like God. I made many a wrong turn, and yes-just like most in my hometown some of those wrong turns led to shameful decisions.
He made me new. Those decisions don’t shape me anymore. I am still January at the core. I am just not led by my desires. My impulses. But by my Father. His desires. His will. My only gain is to inspire someone to see that if God can do that for me, He can do that for anyone. Anyone who doesn’t want to be defined by their past. Anyone who doesn’t care who knows what about them, but wants to be known by a God who knows everything about them and approves and loves them anyway.
Don’t get distracted by those who knew you, and only talk about your past. Get distracted by the God who knows all about you, and wants you to know Him, too.