Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)
TITLE: Before God, After God
By Brenda Rice
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I once knew a young woman, who was very selfish and insecure. She was the center of her imagined universe and without realizing it, she expected those in her universe to see everything her way. She called it loyalty, but those living in her world called it many other things.
It wasn’t easy to live in her imagined universe. However, the people who loved her chose to live in the universe created by her selfishness and insecurities. They were limited in what they could say, feel and even believe. This choice they made was seen by the young woman as good, and it made her feel secure to have so much control over the ones who loved her.
The ones who loved her felt anything but secure. They felt fearful. Perhaps at any moment her feelings would change, because of something they said or felt or believed. This would unleash a firestorm of anger and hatefulness, which made them realize more than ever before how unimportant they were to her.
The imagined universe, built by this young woman, was an unhappy place. Even she wasn’t happy. She couldn’t really be sure that everyone was saying, feeling and believing what she did. So, she was ever on the lookout for a slip up and when she found one, she dealt with it quickly. Bringing those who loved her to their knees with her harsh tones and bitter words. Wounding them with her tongue made her feel superior. But when those who loved her slinked away in despair, her victory was short lived. For then, she was alone with herself. The truth she couldn’t admit was how much she loathed the person she had become.
One morning the sun was shining in her unhappy universe and something remarkable happened. She smiled at everyone she met. She hugged little children playing on the sidewalk. She praised her assistant at work. What could have happened so quickly to bring such a change in this young woman? All those who loved her wondered, but they didn’t have the courage to ask her.
After that, the sun shined brighter everyday in the young woman’s universe. Those who loved her grew happier and more confident with each passing day. The birds sang louder in the trees. The rooster’s call sounded more like HALLELUJAH! Joyful sounds emerged from the young woman as she went about her daily routine. Everyone enjoyed being with her and she enjoyed being with everyone. Gone were the feelings of self-loathing and superiority. She no longer needed to make others feel small in order to feel good about herself. In fact, she loved making others feel great about themselves. Finding reasons to give praise was one of her favorite activities. A glow permeated her being. What happened to this young woman?
Before the day the sun came out in her imagined universe, the young woman faced life without a reason to live. She had given up hope that she could be pretty enough, good enough, smart enough or loving enough. She had smothered all her emotions with anger and a fierceness for being right that she no longer felt the pain of not being enough. She no longer felt at all!
Suddenly, a love that made her feel more than enough burst forth into her heart. It was a love that transcended all her pain, her emptiness, her self hatred and her fear of letting others know the real person hiding inside of her. This love, this incredible love filled her daily with joy, peace, happiness, generosity, faith, kindness and self awareness. She was now fully aware of her worth. She knew she was loved, preferred, cherished, adored and free to share all her precious gifts with those living in her new universe.
The giver of the love that transformed this young woman’s life, is the creator of the real universe. He alone can fill the void that makes us feel less than, unlovely, not good enough or undeserving. In fact, He is waiting to do that very thing for everyone who calls on His Holy Name.
Are you living in an unhappy place? Are you tired of ruling your world? Do what the young woman in this story did. Turn your life over to the one who made and sovereignly rules the universe. He is God. His Son is Jesus Christ. They are ready to turn your before into your happy ever after.
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