Ever feel like your life is ‘out of step’? That you really don’t ‘fit’ in anywhere?! I have to admit that I have felt that way, many more times than I care to think about.
I can remember back in my school days, during the teen years, when I just did not ‘fit in’, not with the cool kids, not with the ‘bad’ crowd, not with the athletic types. It was like my life was really ‘out of step’. It was painful to be ignored, forgotten, looked over, to be invisible in plain sight!
As far back as I can remember, I have always ‘suffered’ or endured might be a better word, severe lack of self-esteem, feelings of being inferior, anxiety, panic attacks, social ‘fear’. Though now as an adult, I can look back and review these emotions and know that they are just lies I tell myself, then choose to believe. Even as an adult, I still tend to have these wrong beliefs about myself.
But I became a believer in JESUS CHRIST at age 16, and He has become my ‘peace’ and ‘safety’ in an unsure world. I know can combat these negative feelings with the Word of God, the BIBLE. But as I grew in relationship with Him, He has shown me how to replace my negative emotions, and the lies I tell myself with His Truth about me.
He has also taught me that many times these panic attacks, times of anxiety etc, cause me to focus more on myself than Him. And when I get my focus off of Him, onto myself, to be self-focused is dangerous to my spiritual, emotional health. So I have learned to focus on Him, to redirect my own thoughts to His. When I do that it restores my ‘balance’ in life, so life won’t be so out of step.
One area of my life that Christ has helped me focus on to get out of ‘myself’, is prison ministry. He drew me into an area of ministry where so many others are also hurting, suffering with emotions out of whack. I can remember the very first day that I walked onto that prison yard as a mentor/volunteer. I can’t explain it with words that you could really understand, but the first time in my life, I knew that I found where I really belonged! I experienced more peace on that prison yard, than I have ever found anywhere else, including church! I just knew that I knew that I was suppose to be there. It’s been 14 years now, and every time I still enter those gates, I feel like I am ‘home’. This can only be a work of JESUS CHRIST through the HOLY SPIRIT. Otherwise, it would be just un-natural, not rational at all.
Has Christ ever taken you to a place where you never thought you would go, and then feel good about it? I can tell you, its been a very rewarding journey for sure. I know that Christ has brought me into prison, not necessarily for me to minister to the offenders, but even more so, that Christ can minister to me. To teach me lessons, I have really needed over the years. I can now look back to many memories I have had beyond the gates, and see how the Lord has used those to teach me and mold me and help me experience His Truth for my life and replace the lies that try to pop up in my mind from time to time.
Yes, I believe Christ can heal me instantly of the negative emotions that nag me, but for whatever reason, He hasn’t completely removed them, but He has walked with me through my life and showed me I am not alone, and that He loves me unconditionally, that He is my Redeemer and that He thinks I am worthy of His forgiveness, mercy and grace. Which compels me to take His Truth into the prison to those who also need to know that they are worthy of His love also. His grace truly is amazing!!