Thank You, Lord, for Making Me Who I Am

Dearest Heavenly Father, You know how much pleasure I get from thanking You for the many ways You’ve blessed me. The old hymn “Count Your Many Blessings” comes to mind, but so does the fact I couldn’t possibly name all of my blessings. In fact, some of them are things I don’t even know about.

But one thing I often thank you for–and now seems like a good time to do it–is for making me who I am.

You could’ve made me a girl. Thank You SO much for not doing that!

You could’ve had me born at any time in human history to any set of parents in any part of the world under any set of circumstances. But You allowed me to be born to a couple whose identity I will likely never know and adopted by Ben and Virginia Bruner. And You’ve kept me from having any great desire to waste time and money searching for my birth parents.

You placed me in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. While America was still great and in the process of becoming great again.

You didn’t make me handsome; You knew that would make me vain. But neither did You make me ugly or repulsive to look at. In spite of my physical weakness, I’m in no way disabled. And despite the number of conditions I take medicine for, I consider myself to be in reasonably good health. I don’t expect that to change today as I celebrate my seventy-second birthday.

You gave me intelligence. Not so much that I would abuse it, but enough to do the things You’ve wanted me to do. And You’ve given me creativity and writing skills. Not enough to be sidetracked by success, but enough to touch the people You’ve wanted my writings to touch.

That’s true of my music as well. You didn’t make me a good enough singer, guitarist, or song writer to succeed in ways You never intended, but You’ve allowed me to share my songs in churches, nursing homes, prisons, migrant camps and to sing on mission trips to Australia, England, Wales, Nicaragua, and Romania, where the blessings I received were undoubtedly far greater than the blessings I bestowed.

Even at seventy-two, I’m thankful that You are still helping me to grow in ways that please You. Jesus set a tough example to follow, but how blessed I am to be a member of Your Family and dedicated to trying to live the way You want me to live. And, no matter how much I enjoy life on earth, I’m even more thankful that I have eternity with You to look forward to. So, although I might be apprehensive of what the death process will be like, I’m blessed not to actually fear death itself.

Lord, I could just keep going. I could thank You that I’m not too tall or too short, that developing diabetes type 2 has motivated me to lose seventy pounds and to keep them off, and that remarriage has proven so much more wonderful than I could possibly have expected or asked for.

But let me conclude this prayer of thanks for making me who I am by thanking You for giving me the idea of sharing these thoughts with the people who read my blog posts.

What about you? Are you thankful for who God has made you to be? How about sharing a comment.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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The Me I Want to Be

Last night, our Bible Study group started a new series of lessons using a DVD and print materials from John Ortberg. It’s called The Me I Want to Be. Fascinating topic. And so very relevant.

Some people might wonder why I–at sixty-eight–would find that topic so relevant. After all, I’m not only growing older day by day, but have reached the point where change that isn’t forced on me isn’t likely to happen. So, doesn’t that mean I’m already as much “the me I want to be” as I’m ever going to be?

Now that’s a scary thought. Although I can see progress in many areas of my life–I’m much more patient, kind, and thoughtful than I used to be–I still haven’t reached all of my life’s goals. Furthermore, I don’t expect to.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be satisfied with myself and stop growing.

Mr. Ortberg lists some counterfeit versions of me:

  • The “me” I pretend to be
  • The “me” I think I should be
  • The “me” other people want me to be
  • The “me” I’m afraid God wants
  • The “me” that fails to be

But then he concludes that the best version of me is…

  • The “me” I’m meant to be.

You might want to check out his book  for more of an in-depth look at this whole idea.

I’d like to believe I’ve passed the point of pretending to be someone I’m not or trying to live up to other people’s expectations. I much prefer just being myself. If I’m slow at times, if I’m overly careful about some things and careless about others, if I’m a million-and-one other ways that fail to meet my own expectations, why fret about it?

That doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with myself, however. I’m declining physically–maybe even mentally at times–but “the ‘me’ I’m meant to be” still gives me something to shoot for. Not unrealistic goals. I’m not apt to turn from a super-quiet introvert into the life of the party, for example. Or to become a well-known singer/songwriter.

I don’t believe God ever intended for me to be either of those things. According to the Bible, He knew what I would be like long before my birth. He gave me strengths and weaknesses and inclinations–everything that makes me me.

But He also gave me the desire to love Him and want to become the person He wants me to be. That doesn’t mean following a set of rules.

Yes, there are things a Christian should do–and some he shouldn’t do. But the important thing is trusting God enough to place my life fully in His hands. Not just when things are going wrong, but when they’re going well and I might be tempted to think I’ responsible for my success.

Being “the ‘me’ I’m meant to be” requires walking daily with God. Not trying to walk ahead of Him as if I think so highly of myself that I think I don’t have to let things happen in His time. And not falling behind as if I’m fearful that He isn’t able to bring me safely through every valley.

What are your thoughts about this subject? Are you the “me” God means for you to be, or are you one of the counterfeit versions of “me”? Please share a comment if you feel led to.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Be on the lookout for my next novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, which releases on November 25.

Best regards,
Roger