When I was in junior high, I used to hang out at the library after school until my mom came to pick me up. A group of cool kids also hung out in the library, in the magazine section – which was the balcony above where I would sit. Once, as an excuse to talk to them, I called up to them to ask what time it was. One of the cool girls pointed out that I was wearing a watch. “It’s broken,” I replied. She then directed me to the giant clock right beside where I was standing. Ugh. What a dork I was.
I made some dumb decisions as a teenager & pre-teen. I look back and cringe thinking about my immaturity and naivety… I think a lot of us have cringe-worthy past moments we’d like to forget. Some are as innocuous as acting foolish in front of cool kids, others hold deep emotional roots & scars.
Recently I was talking with a friend of mine about my vicarious embarrassment (embarrassment echoes?) from my teenaged years; some of the more emotionally consequential missteps. My friend encouraged me to talk to God about it and see if God had anything to say about my past. I felt a strong sense that there was no anger or disgust from God. God loved that silly little teenager – delighted in her even. And God loves the person I am now, as well as the person I am becoming.
Part of growing up is being less mature and becoming more mature (hopefully). God doesn’t expect us to come out of the womb fully formed into pious, enlightened sages. God expects us to come along a journey. We start somewhere and we take steps (sometimes teeny tiny ones) toward where God is leading. It doesn’t help to beat ourselves up over the fact that we used to be further back on the path; that was the plan – we would come from there to here. And God delights in walking with us on that journey.
So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. – Colossians 1:9-10 (NLT)