Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Spring (the season) (07/23/09)
TITLE: A New Creation
By Sara Mahoney
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Those words were like cold water splashed on my face. Disgusted? How could this have happened?
I was knee- deep in an uncomfortable conversation with a woman who had been a very close friend on mine. We had met in graduate school and quickly become lifelines for each other; we were alone in a new city and both our husbands were in the military. We used to spend evenings in her living room, sweating to death because there was no air conditioning, talking about the future and counting our change to see if we collected enough to go get an ice cream cone. Back then, talking was as easy as breathing and we let our ideas and dreams fill the space between us.
But now things were different. Over the course of the winter, something had grown cold between us. At first I thought perhaps it was just spending less time together; her husband had returned from overseas and they had moved another mile away. But there was more. As the dreary months of winter stumbled along, I began to notice that she didn’t meet my eyes when we talked, and stopped answering the phone when I called. I knew something was wrong, and that’s what led us here. She was disgusted.
“Well,” she began, “it’s about work. I’m swimming up to my eyebrows in all these extra papers and subjects, and I have to watch you leave early. You only make sure that your job is done; you complete everything that is assigned to you, and then you leave. Everyday.”
Usually when a friend confronts you about something you did wrong, a thousand emotions hit you at once. You feel defensive, angry, hurt , confused. The only thing I felt was my entire world collapsing around me. She was right. I did just do the bare minimum. A thousand moments passed through my mind, times when I had done just enough to get by and then quit. I never double checked things, took my time or really put in that extra effort to make something really special. I hated to work. I had gotten away with it for so long because my natural talents had made up for it, but now I was finally in that place where someone was close enough to see my insides; that dirty muck of a person you hide so carefully beneath ironed pants and glowing skin. All my excuses just fell away because it was too late; she had seen me.
And then, the most amazing thing happened. Instead of listing all the times I had hurt her, or calling me names (whether or not I deserved it), she softened and I could see her anger melting away. Holding on to that hurt had been a burden for her too and she seemed a different person now that it was gone. Telling me about her anger had exposed both of us; our egos had been tossed aside and there was nothing left but bare and vulnerable hearts. We sat there for two hours talking; her mostly teaching me about what it means to wake up everyday and do everything to the best of your ability and me mostly just drinking it in. I have made plans before to change, to be better, but I had given up on making these plans because, let’s be honest, my self motivation and will power usually only sustain me for three or four days, at most a week. I confessed to her that I was terrified on failing again. She smiled at me and said, “When you feel too tired and you don’t want to go on, that’s when you ask for help.”
I am reminded of the season we are in now, of spring, and how God promises to make us into a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 It’s true that I cannot change myself through my own willpower, but if I wait patiently on the Lord, he will always come and rescue me, even from myself. Sometimes the winter is long and arduous, but if we hold on to God’s promises, He will come through for us. We will blossom like spring’s first crocuses, impossibly shooting through the melting snow.
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