This week I’m blogging a letter I’m writing to my girls. I started yesterday and will continue all week long.
Forgive people. We live in a fallen world and people are going to do bad things and sometimes those things will be done to you. Even the best people still wrestle with their sinful nature and so at times they will do things that hurt you. Then there are times when people will just thoughtlessly say or do things that hurt you. What I’m trying to say is that people are going to hurt you in life. These will be strangers, people you work with, people you are friends with and people that you love and that love you as well. When, not if, you get hurt you will have a choice to make. You can hold a grudge or you can forgive. As a Ross your natural inclination will be to hold a grudge. Deny your natural inclination and forgive. It’s been well said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. That is way more accurate than you know at this point in your life. Holding a grudge does nothing to the person that you are angry at but it is destructive to you. That anger gives Satan a foothold in your life that he will use to deceive and destroy you. Unforgiveness will turn to bitterness which will defile your heart and turn you into angry bitter people. An unwillingness to forgive will hinder your relationship with Jesus. Do not let those who hurt you have that kind of power over your life. Forgive them as Jesus has forgiven you.
Stay connected to the church. You’ve probably figured out by now that going to church isn’t really an option while you are living at home. It will be very easy for you to drop the church when you grow up and move out. You’ll be busy with college, activities and so many other things that you’ll convince yourself that going to church is something you can let go of. Of course, there is also the possibility that you’ll rebel against the church and drop it because you’ve always had to go. Many church kids do this. Don’t. You will always need the church. As a believer in Jesus Christ you will always need the fellowship, encouragement, comfort, correction and teaching that comes from being a part of a local church. Your relationship and commitment to Jesus is more than your connection to the church but it needs your connection to the church to thrive. Now to be honest, I’d really prefer you to continue to be a part of a Free Will Baptist church. However, I understand that may not always be possible. That’s okay, but make sure you are a part of a Bible believing, Jesus preaching church. Be wise and discerning but stay connected to the church.
Never limit what God can do through you. I’ve prayed for you girls to find and follow God’s vision for your lives since before you were born. At this point, I don’t have any ideas what God’s plans for your lives might be and given the fact that your ideas change every week, neither do you. While I don’t know what God’s exact plan for your life is, I can assure you that when you discover it you will feel a bit overwhelmed. Most everyone does. The list of people who felt inadequate to fulfill God’s vision for their lives includes heroes of the faith such as Jeremiah, Moses and Paul. These people all discovered that God was able to make them sufficient for anything He wanted them to do. The same is true for you. God will equip you to do whatever He calls you to do. This doesn’t mean it won’t be hard. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to take the time to train/prepare. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to work like crazy. But it does mean that God will enable you to do what He wants you to do. Take the time to read Ephesians 3:20 and Philippians 4:13. Memorize these passages. Believe that they are just as true in your life today as they were when they were originally written. Never limit what God can do through you.
You are going to make mistakes. Don’t let them define you. No matter how hard you try to prevent it, you are going to make mistakes. You are going to fail to prepare. You are going to make the wrong decision. You are going to come to the wrong conclusion. You are going do your best and still fail. This is just a part of life. Always remember that you are more than the mistakes you may make. Do not let the worst parts of your life define who you are or what you do. Accept that you will make mistakes and determine that they do not define you. When you fail, get up and try again. Life is about trying and many times failing. We learn from our mistakes but we do not give up by letting them define us. You let your mistakes define you when you determine that you are a failure and this is the best you can do. That’s a lie. You let your mistakes define you when you let fear of failure keep you from trying again. Reject this. You let your mistakes define you when you accept defeat. Don’t. Never let your mistakes define you.