Starting over. I think it’s a universal desire, something everyone can relate to. When my family moved from West Virginia, why wasn’t I crying, sobbing and traumatized?
I didn’t have many friends or real connections to the area–that was one part of it. But underneath that, I had another desire: To start over.
Even at ten, all my faults stared at me in the face, prominent as the marks on my face which I so hated. I was cruel, unkind, impatient, selfish, and mean. Moving, however, promised something different to me: I could start over. I could be in a new place, I could be a new person, I could start a new story.
And did it happen?
Not exactly. Like the marks on our faces, some parts of us will never change. Moving only meant I had new people on whom to inflict my faults and growing up meant I traded those hated habits of childhood for other ones…To quote Veronica Roth:
“One bad thing goes away, and another bad thing replaces it. I traded cowardice for cruelty; I traded weakness for ferocity.”
Or, a bad thing such as selfishness can be expressed one way in childhood, and another way in maturity, when one possesses more intellect and power to sin at their disposal.
No, moving did not change me. The marks on my face never changed. But something else changed: God changed me.
Throughout some circumstances I endured, I grew closer to God. I had very painful times of depression, dealing with my problems, and dealing with others’ pain. Yet it was used: From where I am now, I do consider myself a changed person. And if you desire to start new, there is hope for you:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
-2 Corinthians 5:17
However, being a new creation doesn’t come without what I experienced–pain, and hard times; and when you are a new creation, things don’t become perfect–you aren’t accompanied by continual bliss and satisfaction. And (like me) you may even find yourself somewhat distanced from God.
I think when people think of starting over, of being a new creation, they don’t think of all the hard work involved in the process, or all the pain that lingers, or all the suffering and sadness you still deal with. But that IS part of being a new creation: suffering such things, yet knowing God has a purpose (Matthew 6:30, Romans 8:28).
God is the only One who can truly change anyone, from what they were to who they are now. Nothing we can do changes us–for the better, at least.
When I look in the mirror I still see marks on my face. They haven’t changed–they haven’t changed, but my perception of them has.
Now I understand them to be temporary, like this life, and like my faults: but when the perfect comes, they will go forever.
Jesus said to them, “Are you asking one another why I said, ‘In a little while you will not see Me, and then after a little while you will see Me’? Truly, truly, I tell you, you will weep and wail while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.