i can remember the first time i read the book with the intent to see my spiritual blessing. i was 16 years old. a junior in high school. student venture at ward and kathy's house. i had a crush on one of the guys in our youth group, which is what drew me to student venture. but, God used that year powerfully in my life. i was learning so much that year about Christ and following Him and having a relationship with Him. when i first read ephesians, i'm sure i wasn't stunned by the realization of my identity in Christ. but, i've been stunned over and over since then.
the acceptance i have in Christ has been huge in my life these last five or six years. i'm not sure how i missed that growing up, but i did. learning in my heart that God truly loves me has changed. my. life. it's changed how i interact with michael. the way i view friendships. how i look at other people. He likes me. takes pleasure in our relationship. is tender toward me. joyfully moves on my behalf. all for His glory. and it's changed me.
i have a difficult time, though, remembering these things when it comes to work. i'm really not sure why this area of my life is tough right now, but it is. being liked and accepted in these arenas has almost become an idol. and by almost, i mean that it has.
as stephen kirk would say, there is a tension between already and not yet: already redeemed, sanctified, made holy & blameless, given an inheritance; and not yet -- there is so much more to come.
so with work, through the Holy Spirit, i've already been given the skills and ability to work through this conflict. the wisdom and insight and understanding. so, while i don't yet have complete understanding, peter says i have everything i need for life & godliness through Christ.
i don't have to struggle so much to "fit in" with the group because i've already been chosen. accepted. beloved.
i don't need to wear a mask of perfection & infallability because i have already been forgiven. i can fail & ask for grace.
what joy there is to be able to walk with confidence and to meet challenges head on -- the people around me don't define me. there is great freedom in that!