A NEW BEGINNING

Some of you have been telling me for a while that you’ve noticed a change in the tone of my posts. Those of you who have been following me since I started blogging on The Rio Norte Line have really noticed, and not all of you are happy with this change. Well, it’s true: the tone of my posts has changed. I’ve been aware of it for some time now, but there’s a good reason for it. It’s because I’ve changed. In fact, since I started The OYL, I have experienced a radical change in my heart, as well as how I see the world. I just haven’t mentioned it because I was worried about losing readers. Now, even that’s changed. I no longer worry about losing readers. In fact, I fully expect to lose many of you who follow The OYL, and I’m at peace with that. All I know is that I can no longer keep quiet about the changes in my life. The time has finally come to share my story with whoever will hear it, and that’s what I hope to do with this post.

For as long as I can remember, people have told me that I have a bad attitude. They have told me that I am rude, arrogant and have a smart mouth. I have been called selfish and lazy, and accused of being a know-it-all who refuses to listen to others’ points of view. In fact, I seldom listen to others at all. Instead, I would talk over people, and try to beat them down so that my ‘opinion’ was the only one left standing. Worse, for the majority of my life, I firmly believed that I knew more than those around me and that, because I was smarter than they were, I understood reality better than they did. To me, this made my opinion the only one worthy of consideration. Well, all those people were right. I was all those things – and more. In fact, I still am, but I pray to a much lesser extent. I just couldn’t see it because I was blind in myself.

Blind in myself.’ I’m not sure what that phrase may mean to you, but to me, it means that I had invented a reality according to my personal desire and, in doing this, I erected walls past which I could not see. It was the height of arrogance: to think I could create my own reality, or change it to suit me simply because I wish it were so. It was a self-fulfilling world. If something fit in with the way I ‘knew’ thing to be, then I accepted it as ‘truth.’ But if it did not fit in, then I rejected it, blaming it on ‘the ignorance of others.’ Oh, but I didn’t see myself as arrogant or condescending. No, you see, I was ‘gracious‘ to others because I assumed everyone was as smart as I was; they just hadn’t learned how to think yet was all. Once they had been taught how to think, rather than what to think, then they would examine ‘the facts’ and apply logic to them and everyone would arrive at the same conclusions I had. At least, this was what I told myself in that personal world I had built for myself. I was wrong! The truth is that it was all a creation of my own ego. None of it was real; none of it was true. Only, I couldn’t see that because I had to see myself for whom I really was first, and there are very, very few of us who can – let alone want – to do that. For me, this is what it means to be ‘blind to myself:’ it means being unable to see reality as it truly is because you cannot see past the illusion you have created. Instead of choosing to see reality, we chose to see the caricature we create of ourselves, instead. Blind to ourselves!

If it hadn’t been for something that happened to me a couple years ago, I suspect I would still be blind to myself. The illusions we create are powerful, and we cannot escape them on our own. We have to be forced to see ourselves as others see us before we have any hope of escaping this illusion. That force has to come from outside us. You cannot push yourself outside yourself. It is like the old saying “Pull yourself up by your boot straps.” It sounds go — until you actually try it. Once you do, you quickly realize the laws of physics work against the possibility of actually doing anything even remotely close to pulling yourself up by your own boot straps. The same principle applies here. You cannot push yourself outside yourself. It simply cannot be done. Something external to you has to happen to you first; something that forces you to step outside and look inward – to see yourself as others see you – as you really are. For me, that force came in the form of a simple question, but it struck with the force of a lightning bolt from out of the blue.

For as long as I can remember, I called myself a Christian. I believed in God and that Jesus is His only begotten Son. I believed that Christ died on the cross to forgive us of our sins, and that He defeated death by rising on the third day. And I believe Jesus – fully man – ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I believed all of that, so I believed I was saved. But – again – I was wrong! I may have been calling myself a Christian, but I was not living as one. Instead of living according to God’s commands, I was living according to the teachings of this world. In short, if it felt good, I did it and just expected God to save me because I believed in His Son. It was part of that illusion I had built for myself. I was trying to force God to obey my rules instead of trying to live according to His. I was trying to change reality. I’m just glad that someone asked me the question that changed my world. I was somewhere a Christian doesn’t belong; doing things a Christian is not supposed to do when someone asked me, “Aren’t you supposed to be a Christian?

Although they were just words, they struck me with physical impact. It was at that very moment I felt God take hold of my life. That was the point where He started to change me; to force me outside myself. God showed me who I really was, and how far I was from being the person I thought I was. He showed me that I was much closer to the people I had always accused of not understanding, and of being enemies of God and righteousness than I was to Him. Now, I have to tell you, this was a shock. I saw myself from the outside – as others see saw me – and it was not a pretty sight. I did not like who and what I saw, and it all but destroyed me. But it was also a blessing, because, once I saw myself as I truly was, God started to change me. It didn’t happen all at once. I don’t think it’s supposed to. The change happens in stages. It’s like being reborn: you have to grow up again, and learn to walk again, only – this time – you are learning to walk in the ways of God and not yourself. I believe this is what Scripture means when it says, “to die unto yourself.” You have to die to your will and chose to live in God’s will. Only then can you see reality as it truly is, because, only then will God help you see as He sees.

Now you know what has happened to me and why the tone of my posts has changed. I’ve been keeping it to myself for too long and I can’t keep quiet about it anymore. Now I am compelled to share it with whoever will listen. To me, this new way of seeing and understanding is like a great treasure I found in a field. It is worth going to sell everything I have so that I can buy that field, but it is better to share what I have found with the world. So, if I lose every read I have save one — if everything I do on The OYL is just for that one person — so long as it helps them find God, it will all be worth it. I will be able to rejoice because I will know I did what I was asked to do.

[PLEASE HELP ME: I do not try to push this blog page.  However, if you have found anything useful in what I have written, or you think it can help anyone you know, please consider telling them about The OYL.  You, or whoever you know who might find value in my words may be the one person I have been sent to find.  I pray you will help me reach them.  Also, if you want to share this or any of my posts, please feel free to do so.  Again, I no longer write to serve myself, but to serve and glorify the One who sends me.  Thank you, and God bless.]

2 responses to “A NEW BEGINNING

  1. I Don’t doubt that you may be hearing crickets. We find ourselves in a time where an increasing number think its their life’s purpose to live a self absorbed life. Even the ones that scream equality, tolerance and fairness Are nothing but a shill or a shell. Doesn’t matter, they are lost either way.

  2. Joe,
    Yahweh has been helping/guiding us all our lives . . .

    Good post. Thanks for sharing. Those who do not attempt to understand; well . . .

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