I like to think I am better now than I've ever been.
I mean, I should be, right? Shouldn't I have grown spiritually, emotionally, mentally through the years? Shouldn't I have learned from my mistakes and gotten wiser and gained greater trust in God through my experiences? Shouldn't I know more, be more? Isn't God transforming me? Shouldn't I be different?
But when I cross paths with people I knew ten years ago, twenty years ago, a lifetime ago, I can't say I see it. I talk to old friends, wondering if they notice my progress, yet our conversations fall in similar patterns, we take up our old roles and I realize the essence of who we are hasn't changed that much. I may have improved, but it isn't a marked difference.
I want to look back and see huge progress, great strides, triumphs and victories, success, but I only see a little smarter version of who I was at ten. Sometimes that bothers me. If I'm not remarkably altered, how will others see God's touch in an ordinary person?
I look in the mirror and though the image gets older, the inside feels the same. I will always be the shy girl sitting in the corner observing what's going on, soaking in the body language, understanding what's NOT being said, feeling present, but not a part. I will always wonder where others get their moxie, their appeal, their strength. I will always recognize others know more, do more, ARE more than me.
Will I ever outgrow that?
Yet, I am "fearfully and wonderfully made." God had a reason for designing me as He did. If I don't resemble the original me, if I don't retain qualities consistent with me, if I "grow" so much that little Tami is no longer there, have I missed being His unique creation?
I am Tami, the woman who overthinks everything, dreams of the beautiful and romantic, and longs for escape. That doesn't change when I learn how to forgive or put myself out there or take a risk. Needing time alone to think is a permanent need in my psyche, even though I've developed good, healthy relationships. There's nothing wrong with it. It's me. And it's okay.
Because God wants to use me just like I am now AND when He's done some transforming work. I am His creation He continues to teach and mold, but I will always be Tami.
His Tami. The one He created for a reason, with purpose and a specific design. He wants to make me more like Him, but He still wants me.
His touch has been significant. His shy little girl now leads Bible studies and sings in front of hundreds of people every week (with my eyes closed, but still doing it!). I've held people while they cried and marveled at how many spill their guts to me. Listening has taught me what questions to ask and how to ask them. I've felt God bring the right words and mustered up the courage to say them. I AM changed, but my essence is the same. It has to be the same, for He made me that way. He's working on me, for sure, but His work serves to make Tami more like Jesus.
Though I may not recognize it, there is a difference. God is transforming my mind, but not my essence.
Do you ever get frustrated you aren't changing more for God? Could it be He only wants to change your thinking patterns, not your essence?
Photo Credit: manolo guijarro