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Do you remember a time when you were not the cool kid? Maybe you were and you fell from glory, or maybe you never were. The world is not all math geeks or super jocks – there’s a lot more to it than all that.
I grew up in a small town right in the middle of Oklahoma. We had to drive 30 minutes to the nearest movie theater, and it really wasn’t a good one. The mall kinda sucked too. One thing we did though – we all cruised Air Depot. Every Friday and Saturday night, thousands of cars driving up and down the same 3 mile stretch from about 8 pm – midnight. Hard core cruisers stayed way later. I’ve know people who were there from dusk til dawn. There was also 12th street in Moore, OK – that was pretty far away, but when they shut down Air Depot, that’s where we all went.
It didn’t matter who you were - band geek, chess geek, computer club, cheerleader, jock, hot chick or weirdo. You could at least cruise AD. There was excitement, fighting, true love, gun shots, cops, fast cars – just like in the movies. It was a microcosm of all of life. Those were some of the best days I’ve ever had!
I know many of you reading this had similar experiences growing up, and I hope you have as many great memories as I do. I love to look back and remember those times, but we can’t stay there. Life is a process, and we all have to grow into it. I hate that though, and I fought it tooth and nail. I wish I hadn’t, because I missed some other stuff along the way that I’m just now figuring out. But God is faithful, and he is redeeming all of my past mistakes.
No matter how big and bright, or how dark and aweful our past is, it’s gone! It’s true that who we are now is built upon that foundation, but that doesn’t have to be all there is. What I’ve discovered is, there is a source – of life, of light, of joy – that can make all your past worthwhile. Even those hard or terrible things, even those things you can’t even talk about.
What I’ve learned is, that in the midst of learning to love and trust God, all those things – good and bad – that I thought defined me and shaped me were just things. Like a light bulb or a piece of string. Just a thing. And if I focused on my relationship with God, it became him who defined me, not those things. My past became less of a hindrance, or less of a thing that I relied upon for strength instead of God.
My past is where it belongs – in the past. And I have a rich history. I was a goofball, I was moody, I jumped off things, into things and through things. I played pranks, I got into LOTS of trouble, most people liked me, some did not one tiny bit and probably still don’t. In spite of all that, and in spite of even the things that I can’t write here for fear of repercussions even 30 years later, I am a child of God, and everything – all those things – work together for good, because I love God!
Who or what do you love? Who or what do you look to when you seek to define who you are? If it’s your past, who you were in high school, if its your family, your accomplishments, the car you drive – you’re missing out on everything good. Only God can define a life! Only God can redeem a past – even a great past where everything went according to plan. Give it all to him and trust him with it. He can be trusted! And when you do – he will work it all out way better than you ever could.