Heart of Darkness

I’ve been looking for something for a long time, something dark and dangerous. After ten years, I finally found it. Actually my mom found it [insert panic attack]. It’s my box of journals and other writings. She claims she didn’t look at it too much, which must be true since she doesn’t hate me.

I finally got a chance to read some entries tonight and it reminded me of how dark my heart is and how much God has changed me. I was so self-absorbed, ungrateful, and at times contemptuous. I also so clearly took my identity from my performance–whether in school, gymnastics, or music–and also what people thought of me, even though I pretended not to care. I had about two months worth of entries agonizing about whether I would make I the gifted program in fifth grade.

I knew reading old diaries would be painful because it’s embarrassing to realize how selfish and immature I was. It’s also humbling to know I still struggle with some of the same core issues, like judging others and feeling like my worth comes from what I do. Looking back, it’s easy to see that I felt depressed so often because I was so ungrateful.

It’s also interesting to see some of the “deep” questions I wrestled with. Actually some of them are significant issues of identity and purpose, and I drew both insightful and wrong conclusions, often in one entry. I never seemed to reconcile God’s love and my own crappy attitude.

Though I want to shred some of the pages, it’s good to keep hard evidence about how evil I really am–the evil that God saved me from. To most people, and often in my own estimation, I seemed like a good kid. As I came across a “Citizen of the Year” award I recalled how much better than everyone I thought I was. How’s that for citizenship? Now that I’m raising a child, I want to remember that it’s not the external show that matters–it’s what’s going on inside. That’s why 1 Sam. 16:7 says that “people look at outward appearance but God looks at the heart.”

And that’s why I’m able to walk away from that box of depravity with hope–because God sees me for exactly who I am, and He decided to sacrifice His Son for me anyway, and forgive all that evil. And even though I’m still so selfish, I’ve changed a lot. The journal entries stop right before I started college, right before I decided to trust God to learn how to make friends and see what plans He had for me. I wrote an entry early in high school, wondering what my life would end up like. What career would I have, would I get married, have kids, be happy or not? And now I just can’t believe the life God’s given me: a great husband; a beautiful healthy son; friends, family, and fellowship far better than I deserve; the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom; a nice home, and so much more.

What are you thankful for?

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