My last Sunday was about a month ago.
Instead of my usual routine, the youth pastor had me join "the big kids."
In the leader meeting before church on this particular Sunday, the youth pastor, Nissa, gave all of the leaders an assignment: if you could go back and tell your high-school-self something, what would it be?
I took this assignment very seriously. And here is what I came up with.
You can't plan your life. The Lord has a plan for you. Ultimately, you want HIS plan for your life because nothing you think up or dream up will ever come close to the Lord's plan. I tried to plan my life; who I would marry, where I would live, how many kids I would have and each of their names, what my profession would be... Everything. And when it all came crashing down, it was devastating. I was broken, bitter, angry and confused. It took a long road to healing for me to understand that you can never plan your life on your own. Nothing in this life is certain except for the Lord's unending love. Through His comfort, strength, peace and joy, I realized I don't even want MY plans. His plans are greater because HE is greater. He knows my heart. He knows my every thought. He knows what is best for me & He knows my future. There is no need to worry because the Creator of the universe holds my life and my world in His hands. I don't want my small, petty plans to come true. I want to see His plan unfold.
Your identity is not in who you are or what you do; your identity is in WHOSE you are. And I am His. I am the Lord God's. Jesus Christ bled and died for ME; that I may live with him forever. It was my sin that held Him on the cross and He knew my name and every sin I would commit as He hung there. He conquered death and forgave me. Oh, what a love.
I used to find my identity in other things. I found my identity in my boyfriend. I lost who I was in a relationship because I was no longer an individual; I was no longer Cara. I identified myself as his girlfriend; as half of a relationship. And when that relationship ended, I didn't know who I was anymore. I lost myself.
I found my identity in my grades at school -- which left me always feeling like a failure because I could never be good enough. This is not the Lord's intention for us. We are not defined by boyfriends or grades. I am a child of God. I am His. That is my identity. And that, I can never lose. That won't fail.
You will never be fulfilled by worldly things. The things of this world are temporary. This life is temporary. You will never be fulfilled by having more money, more clothes, a newer car. Only He can fulfill you. He knows your every need.
He lives in me and that is how I am fulfilled.
Alcohol will never fulfill you. Don't even go down that path. It will only lead to destruction. The ONLY thing that will fulfill you is the one who created your heart. And He WANTS to be that for you. Only He can make you whole; comfort you in times of trouble, give you strength when you have none, give you joy when circumstances are so dark you forget what the light looks like. He is truth. He is life. And it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.