Don’t Let Your Struggle Become Your Identity

It has been said to that one should never be defined by your past; it was a lesson, not a life sentence. However, we as human beings seem to allow the past to hold onto us like a ghost, tagging along with us everywhere we go.

Statistics show that most drug abusers dealt with a tragedy or abuse of some kind that they are trying to escape from. They allow the past to hold onto them; never realizing freedom is in accepting that nobody is perfect and to move on. At the end of the day, it is a person’s choice if they allow their struggle to become their identity.

I had the honor of listening to Marco Rubio speak Monday night and what amazes me about Rubio is that he came so far from where he was born. The struggles he dealt with as a child, he learned from and moved on. His father was a bartender, his mother a maid, but he chose to become a public figure and politician. The son of immigrants that could not afford much of anything became one of the top three nominees for the Republican nominee for President of the United States. He did not allow his circumstances to define his future; instead he learned from his past and used those lessons to prosper in his future.

I recently heard that God often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad of our greatest calling. Author Jon Acuff said it best when he stated, “God found Gideon in a hole. He found Joseph in a prison. He found Daniel in a lion’s den. Next time you feel unqualified to be used by God, remember this, he tends to recruit from the pit, not the pedestal”. There are numerous stories all over the Internet about famous celebrities who decided to change their lives by moving on from the past. Celebrity chef Jeff Henderson used to cook cocaine as a teenager. He manufactured and sold so much of the illegal narcotic that by the age of 19 he was making over $30,000 a week in Los Angeles. However, it all came to an end when he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His story would have been over by popular opinion. He should have been written off as another criminal, but God had his hand on Henderson and God knew it was time for Henderson to see his true gift. While in prison Henderson discovered his natural talent for cooking and the story began. It wasn’t an easy road from there though, after being released Henderson couldn’t find a job because of his record, but he kept trying and kept pursuing his dream until finally one of the doors he knocked on, opened. He was hired by Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and the rest is Internet history.

This is not the only story; there are dozens and dozens of them. Some are about celebrities; some are about our own locals. Just this past year I have had the honor of watching several people very close to me change their lives around and turn to God. Something many never thought would happen was “just a prayer away”. Nobody knows what somebody else is destined for, Isaiah 14:27 reads “Nothing can stop God’s plan for your life”, not even you. So just remember no matter how far you fall, God’s love is stronger than any mistake you could ever make. And his plan for you is greater than anything you could imagine. Don’t let your past or a present circumstance define who you are and what you will do. No matter how lost it may seem, God has a plan, so pray for direction to follow it, patience to wait on it, and knowledge to know when it comes.

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