Giving Thanks

"Thankful Thursdays": Who I Am…Only Because of Who YOU Are…

If you’re like me and grew up attending church, there’s a good chance you learned a song that goes something like this…

Little by little every day
Little by little in every way 
Jesus is changing me
Since I’ve made a turn about face
I’ve been walking in His grace 
Jesus is changing me
He’s changing me, my precious Jesus
I’m not the same person that I used to be
Some times it’s slow going
but there’s a knowing
That one day perfect I will be.
~ written/composed by Jean DeSart

This was definitely one of my favorite songs (something about the hand/body motions that went along with it really won me over), but not one I felt I could really connect with growing up.  I had learned in Sunday School, Youth Group, and as a young adult in church that Christ hadbegun a good work” in me when I accepted Him as Lord and Savior, would bring it to completion by the time He was to return for me (Philippians 1:6).  Knowing the kind of person I was – prideful, impatient, ill-tempered (understatement of the century), and selfish (ALWAYS had to have MY WAY!) – I was really looking forward to seeing Him change these things in my life.
Unfortunately, it was the “little by little” part (on top of my aforementioned impatience) that started to make me wonder if the words of this song were true.  If they were, I sure was not seeing any of this “changing me” business that I was promised.  It shouldn’t be surprising to you then that I grew up with a lot of doubt as to whether God could really forgive and change someone like me. 

I almost gave up thinking I could be the kind of person 
God wanted me to be…that I wanted me to be.
But, lucky for me, Jesus definitely hadn’t given up.
As I reached the age of 28, I began to actually notice some changes in the way I reacted to situations and how I conversed with those around me.  My temper wasn’t quite as fiery as it used to be.  I was learning to really listen instead of trying to find places in the conversation where I could cut in with “my words of wisdom”.  It became easier and easier to give others the benefit of the doubt.  I started wanting to reach out to those on the outskirts and extend friendship.  I began to enjoy the company of others, not because of what I could get out of it, but because I wanted to be a blessing to them.

I’m telling you…it’s like an out-of-body experience…
and sometimes I can’t believe what I am seeing!
Now at the age of 33, I’ve begun to realize that the “little by little” changes in my life truly have been happening all along.  Due to my stubbornness and unfaithfulness, the changes may have been delayed a bit, but Christ has proven to me that He had never…NEVER…given up on me.  He had a plan for who I would become, and He would see it through until the end (when Jesus takes me home again).
Today I am thankful for the life-changing work Christ has done and continues to perfect in my life.  He took me, the worst of sinners, and gave me hope of becoming more – not because I deserved it or because I had proven myself to Him in any way. 

He gave a wretch like me the opportunity to taste His glory because of who He is.

Gracious…merciful…LOVE!
I know I am no longer enslaved by the pride, hate, selfishness, tendencies to do harm rather than good in my sinful heart because of His victory over sin and death.  I do falter and fall back into old habits, this is true.  But I know that as long as I place my trust in Him and the work He is completing in me, I too can change…little by little…and be someone who can freely share the grace, mercy, and love that He so lavishes on me everyday to those around me.
Not because of who I am 
But because of what you’ve done 
Not because of what I’ve done 
But because of who you are
~ from Who Am I by Casting Crowns

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